Study Guide

A Great and Terrible Beauty Chapter 22

By Libba Bray

Chapter 22

  • Even though Gemma has been warned not to enter the realms or go into visions, she decides she needs to know what is going on and to see her mother again.
  • So in the cave that night, Gemma finally comes clean, telling her whole magical story and everything she knows and has done so far.
  • Pippa totally doubts her, but Felicity doesn't—she's game to go on an adventure even if it is dangerous—and since Ann's game too, Pippa gives in.
  • Gemma concentrates on a door of light, like her mother told her about in her vision, and Felicity tries to open it, but can't. So Gemma reaches for the door and her necklace glows and a crescent eye on the door glows, too.
  • Opening the door, they are all scared of what they'll find, but as they walk through it, they see the most beautiful place they've ever been to.
  • Each of them smells fond scents from their childhoods, leaves turn into butterflies, and sparkly flowers fall in their hair and make them shine.
  • Hearing an old lullaby her mother used to sing, Gemma takes off searching for her—she sees an arch and a garden where her mother waits.
  • Gemma falls into her arms, which feel real and warm, and she apologizes and her mother comforts her.
  • Her mother tells her the realms are an in-between-worlds place, and that while the Order went there to practice magic, other people visit in dreams or in death. 
  • Gemma is blissful with her mother there—and though she is afraid it isn't real, it feels so real too; she's confused. 
  • Her mother is shocked to learn that she brought her friends into the realms with her all by herself. Apparently this is a very powerful thing to be able to do.
  • Quickly, she asks Gemma if she really trusts her friends, on account of what happened with Mary and Sarah, but Gemma just defends her friends.
  • On the ground, berries are piled up and Gemma goes to eat one, but her mother tells her never to eat anything from the realms or she won't be able to go back to her life, and she'll have to stay here forever.
  • Then a little girl peeks out from behind a tree—the same girl from Gemma's vision. It is her mother's helper, but she says she doesn't know her name.
  • Their talk is over and Gemma is told to go back to the real world now, even though she really doesn't want to.
  • Gemma returns to her friends, who are playing in the garden and making magic. Pippa never wants to go back because it is so lovely here, and she picks some berries but Gemma stops her before she eats them, and explains that once you eat in this world, you can never return to the real one.