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megustaleer

The Two Destinies

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The narrator is an American invited, with his wife, to dine with a recent English acquaintance and his new wife. Two or three local couples are also invited, but the men turn up without their wives, just excuses - in C19, a very serious snub on their part to the wife of the host.

The American couple are puzzled by this, they find their beautiful hostess perfectly charming and go out of their way to be kind and considerate to her. When they leave their host thanks them for their forbearance, and offers them a portfolio which contains an account of the story behind the uncomfortable evening.

 

The couple, George and Mary, had been childhood sweethearts, but Mary's father was employed by Georges father, so they were of different stations in life. When George's father learned that they were planning a future together he separated the pair, accusing the family of ensnaring his son. Mary's father quit his job and their tied house, leaving that night for an unknown destination. Before they were separated Mary's Grandmother, a bit of a mystic, told them that they were kindred souls who were destined to be together and, whatever and whoever else might come between them they would end up together.

The rest of the book is the story of how those destinies were played out, and the things that happened to them that cause their upright neighbours to snub them.

 

This is a Gothic Romance with attempted suicide, a mysterious house where all are welcome, but the host is reclusive, a strangely veiled invalid and telepathic messages with visual manifestations. It was only spoiled by the number of times the couple, both of whom had changed their surnames, came close to discovering the identity of each other - but didn't. The reader is perfectly aware of their identities, so this is very, very irritating!

 

Apart from that flaw it is fun to read (or listen to on audiobook, in my case), although not nearly as good as The Moonstone or The Woman in White

 

 

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Very interested to see this post as I am reading The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins at the moment. I do not know about you Meg but I find him much easier to read than Dickens who I believe was a big friend of his. I certainly plan to read more as I love Victorian Gothic novels, crime and mysteries. Right up my street!

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The narrator is an American invited, with his wife, to dine with a recent English acquaintance and his new wife. Two or three local couples are also invited, but the men turn up without their wives, just excuses - in C19, a very serious snub on their part to the wife of the host.

The American couple are puzzled by this, they find their beautiful hostess perfectly charming and go out of their way to be kind and considerate to her. When they leave their host thanks them for their forbearance, and offers them a portfolio which contains an account of the story behind the uncomfortable evening.

 

The couple, George and Mary, had been childhood sweethearts, but Mary's father was employed by Georges father, so they were of different stations in life. When George's father learned that they were planning a future together he separated the pair, accusing the family of ensnaring his son. Mary's father quit his job and their tied house, leaving that night for an unknown destination. Before they were separated Mary's Grandmother, a bit of a mystic, told them that they were kindred souls who were destined to be together and, whatever and whoever else might come between them they would end up together.

The rest of the book is the story of how those destinies were played out, and the things that happened to them that cause their upright neighbours to snub them.

 

This is a Gothic Romance with attempted suicide, a mysterious house where all are welcome, but the host is reclusive, a strangely veiled invalid and telepathic messages with visual manifestations. It was only spoiled by the number of times the couple, both of whom had changed their surnames, came close to discovering the identity of each other - but didn't. The reader is perfectly aware of their identities, so this is very, very irritating!

 

Apart from that flaw it is fun to read (or listen to on audiobook, in my case), although not nearly as good as The Moonstone or The Woman in White

I have started reading this book this morning having finished The Moonstone yesterday. I read the archive records of The Moonstone where there is a note describing the father of Wilkie Collins as being an evangalist. It was suggested that Wilkie Collins almost rebelled against this and that characters such as Miss Clack in The Moonstone may have come from this feeling. I wonder if Mary's grandmother whom Meg describes as a bit of a mystic is also a creation originating from the rebellion.

 

Again the book is very easy and enjoyable to read although less detailed than Colins' more well known works.

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I am nearly half way through this book and although the writing style is very similar to previous works by the same author I agree with Meg's description above when she states that it is more a Victorian Gothic novel than crime. I had not realised quite how many novels Wilkie Collins wrote I must admit but I will certainly try more.

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Finished this book this afternoon as home alone and weather grim. Thoroughly enjoyed it but would agree with Meg in relation to the number of near misses regarding the revealing of their true identities.

 

I thought that the section of the story which included Miss Dunross was really quite moving. It felt a bit like a story within a story. Miss Dunross had a similar effect on me as Helen Burns in Jane Eyre.

 

I would definitely recommend.

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the section of the story which included Miss Dunross was really quite moving

Yes, I agree, I would like to read that episode as seen through her eyes.

Perhaps she does give her version somewhere in Wilkie Collins surprisingly long list of novels - could be an interesting search :wonder:

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Yes, I agree, I would like to read that episode as seen through her eyes.

Perhaps she does give her version somewhere in Wilkie Collins surprisingly long list of novels - could be an interesting search :wonder:

I fully intend to read more of his novels as they are so easy to read so as you say Meg I may come across her at a later date. A friend has suggested The Law and the Lady saying that this was better than The Lady in White or The moonstone so I may give this one a try.

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A friend has suggested The Law and the Lady saying that this was better than The Lady in White or The moonstone so I may give this one a try.

I'll look out  for it.

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