Hello Jo, first I must apologise for taking so long to reply; I have been suffering computer/internet problems. Apologies also to Georgina and Bella. Still, all sorted now, I hope, he said with fingers crossed whilst clutching a rabbit's foot and a sprig of white heather.
You, Georgina, and Bella are quite right that the date needs to be established at or near the beginning of the story. This was done in the backstory that has been removed. The funeral is in November 1937 and the story continues on into the early years of WW2. I'm thinking of starting the second section of chapter 1 this way:
November 12th 1937; a grey, cold, miserable morning, with an incessant drizzle blowing around on a stiff breeze. The parish priest and his curate...
It's not subtle, but it does the job. Does it work for you?
Attitudes to divorce in the 1930's were very different to nowadays; particularly to divorced women - think Wallace Simpson and Edward VIII. Also, Gerald's Catholicism adds a further complication. For Cynthia to have simply left her husband would have been unthinkable, so asking him for a divorce was a brave step.
Your comments about the suicide attempt are interesting; I will have another look at that. I think I may have over-edited it and removed elements that were actually necessary.
Thank you for taking the time to read the chapters and posting your thoughts.