So after reading the Gown, this one is a much slower start and a different read. It took me a good hour (I'm listening to the audiobook) to get into this book. I'm about half way through, and I'm invested. My advice is stick with it to at least when they go to the reunion and see how you feel.
Spoiler alert: Stop if you haven't gotten to chapter 19
Would you keep the money? I really didn't expect her to, but I put myself in that position and I think I would have to. 20,000 a year is a huge amount money especially when your living on a fixed income. Also finding out that your life has been not the way you thought it was, I think she felt justified in keeping it. I only just finished chapter 18, so I'm not sure where that plot line goes, but I'm interested to see what her father will think.