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Rebecca’s Choice

Rebecca’s Choice

Author(s): Heidi Gallacher

Location(s): Cardiff

Genre(s): Fiction, Historical

Era(s): Victorian

Synopsis for ‘Rebecca’s Choice’
This novel is in the genre of romantic historical fiction. Set in South Wales in the late Victorian era, it focuses on a young woman’s struggles with love and passion. Further themes are meteorology, railways, poverty and childbearing. It is narrated in the first-person by the main protagonist Rebecca de Roussier.
Rebecca (21) has just married meteorologist and businessman Geoffrey de Roussier (40). They live in Tredelerch, his beautiful home in Cardiff which is also a local weather station. Naïve, shy Rebecca was eager to marry but soon discovers she lacks desire for her new husband. She becomes pregnant then angers him by telling him she will withdraw from sexual relations until after the birth. However the death of friend Janey Stone in childbirth brings the couple closer together. Rebecca then gives birth to their son, John.
Geoffrey, who has a passion for the railways, invests further in the American railroads despite warnings from Gwilym Llewellyn, his friend and business advisor. A sister for John, Enid, is born.
Geoffrey belittles Rebecca during a luncheon and Reece Lyons (20), a poor meteorological student, comes to her rescue. Rebecca is touched by his kindness. Talk turns to the cholera epidemic and Gwilym discusses his brother Morgan Llewellyn, a doctor working with patients overseas. A traumatised Morgan turns up at Tredelerch and Geoffrey and Rebecca take him in. Gwilym is deeply grateful and he vows to repay Geoffrey one day. Morgan convalesces in the Turret Room, a room that Rebecca has previously been forbidden to visit.
Rebecca discovers that Geoffrey had passionate trysts there with first love Angharad, for whom he still carries a torch. Rebecca and Geoffrey move to separate bedchambers and Geoffrey turns to drink. Within a year he dies tragically, hit by a crazed horse.
At Geoffrey’s wake Rebecca re-encounters student Reece. After, she discovers letters indicating troubles with Geoffrey’s investments. Reece offers to help with the daily weather readings and Rebecca falls in love with him, but fights her feelings, it being so soon after Geoffrey’s demise. Yet a passionate romance ensues. Tredelerch hosts a charity ball and during the evening Reece proposes marriage to Rebecca who accepts.
Soon after, Gwilym informs Rebecca the investments have failed and Tredelerch must be sold. As a way of repaying his debt to Geoffrey, Gwilym offers to marry Rebecca to save her family from destitution. Rebecca reluctantly accepts it as the only solution. She tells Reece who tearfully agrees. On an outing with Gwilym Rebecca spies Reece with a young woman, Eirlys, and becomes distraught. She then finds out Reece’s beloved grandmother has died and goes to find him. She encounters Eirlys and discovers Eirlys is actually Reece’s cousin. Eirlys confides Reece’s utter despair at losing Rebecca. A distressed Rebecca loses her footing on the nearby river bank and plunges into the river, where she knocks her head and falls into a deep coma. In hospital, Gwilym refuses to let Reece see Rebecca but one day when Gwilym is absent Reece visits and Rebecca responds to his presence, waking up from the coma. In time Reece informs Rebecca that his grandmother has bequeathed him her small home. Rebecca decides to marry Reece and live there with him and her children.
In an epilogue Reece, now Rebecca’s husband, is constructing a little weather station in the garden of their home with the help of the children John and Enid. Rebecca watches them, stroking her pregnant belly.

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Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media

Entries close 6th November 2021