Book Title:Rebecca’s Choice
Author: Heidi Gallacher
Publication Date: 30thOctober 2019
Publisher: Independently Published
Page Length: 211 Pages
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‘Can Rebecca find the love and passion she craves within a Victorian world that seems to be conspiring against her?’
It is 1887 and Queen Victoria is on the throne. Businessman and meteorologist Geoffrey de Roussier is passionate about his weather station and railways, yet little of his passion seems to filter through to his shy, naïve young wife, Rebecca.
Following his tragic demise, Rebecca discovers that Geoffrey’s railroad investments have failed, leaving her penniless. As the past threatens to engulf her, Rebecca realises she has to make a choice. Gwilym Llewellyn, Geoffrey’s trusted friend and advisor, has an emotional debt to repay to Geoffrey and meets Rebecca to offer her a solution. Meanwhile Rebecca has found passion in another direction …
One man will save her from destitution, the other will offer her the love and excitement that she aches for. Whom will she choose?
This book has a beautiful setting in Cardiff, South Wales. If you like a good mix of an evocative depiction of the Victorian era and a modern-thinking heroine then Rebecca’s Choice is the novel for you.
This is Heidi Gallacher’s debut novel, a compelling historical Victorian romance. Pick up ‘Rebecca’s Choice’ today to lose yourself in this wonderful story!
Praise for Rebecca’s Choice
Rebecca’s Choice was awarded 5 stars and is a Recommended Read by The Coffee Pot Book Club. The book was awarded a Bronze Medal for Debut Novel 2020 by The Coffee Pot Book Club.
‘This is a story that is utterly beguiling from the opening sentence to the very last full stop.’ - Author Mary Anne Yarde ‘The historical details are so skilfully woven in that the reader steps with ease into the late 19th century.’ - Author Liz Harris
I lie in bed, unsettled in the darkness. To-morrow morning the weather man is due to visit us again. I must refer to him as such; to refer to him as Reece is dangerous. Even now, as I bring him to mind, I can feel my heart start to beat faster. How can I feel this way when I have spent just a few hours in his company? When I have only felt the warmth of his fingers for the briefest of moments? And what would Geoffrey think of me so soon after his demise, while the clodden earth is still fresh? Didn’t I care at all for my husband? To have such feelings for his student, a young man about whom I know so little…
I readjust my pillow and remain restless against the low humming of the night birds outside.
It is morning, and I am waiting for him in the hallway. My face is pale; I have applied neither rouge nor lipstick. My long, dark hair is pulled back into a bun and my corset is buttoned tight. I am wearing a simple brown day dress over my crinolines. While Mother is walking the children to school, I am here trying to banish him from my thoughts, but it is to no avail. I notice a little dust on the windowsills and am collecting it on the tips of my fingers when there is a chime, its rich timbre ringing out. I pull open the door and…he is there. Reece is there.
I want to touch the delicate creases of his smile with my lips; I feel as if I have lived there before. The breeze whips astray the hair curling around his collar. It takes all the strength I possess to resist the urge to tuck it back in. He nods to me and utters my name. There are no words with which I can describe what is happening deep within me. I must not invite him inside. Placing my coat over my shoulders I step outside, setting the door on the latch, praying he cannot see my shaking fingers as I do so. I turn to face him.
‘Good morning, Mr. Lyons. I am most grateful to you for coming to help us. I will accompany you over to the weather station.’
He turns towards me, pulling his jacket closer to him. He gazes at me, a delicate flush moving across his features.
‘Mrs. de Roussier, it is very cold to-day. The wind is chilly and the sun is deceptive. Let me take the readings. Please, won’t you go back inside and keep warm.’
I turn and obey. And, as I watch from the cold hallway of Tredelerch, he begins to follow the rays of the sun along the little path that leads to the observatory.
The wind is blowing harder in the afternoon as I walk up Rumney-hill to visit Gwilym Llewellyn. I do not wish to worry Mother, so I have told her that I need a walk and fresh air. I have the letters from the railroad companies deep inside my pocket.
Geoffrey had been a generous husband and always covered the household bills and servants’ wages – oh, how I’d taken him for granted. I wish now I had persuaded him to explain to me his dealings, his work; I wish he had let me sit in on some of the meetings he’dheld in his study in Tredelerch. But he had always said to me that if anything happened to him, then Gwilym Llewellyn would run the investments and they would provide for us.
Gwilym had been my husband’s closest friend and confidant for many years, long before Geoffrey and I had met each other. He’d often told us how indebted he felt following the care we bestowed on his dear brother, Morgan. He is a kind and honest man, and I know that Geoffrey had always trusted him.
I reach the summit of Rumney-hill. The road is wide and steep. I watch the horses struggling with their heavy carriages, their nostrils flaring in the breeze. There is much noise on the hill to-day with the clatter of horseshoes and rough voices of the carriage boys urging and pleading.
I catch the yeasty, warm aroma as a bread cart passes. As I walk on, I presently see Gwilym’s house ahead of me next to the inn. I shiver as I am reminded of my last visit; I realise that I have been avoiding this place, the place where I was with my husband for the very last time.
Several horses are tied up outside the inn stamping their feet and whinnying, so I make certain to avoid their flaying hooves whilst climbing the steps to Mr. Llewellyn’s door. Before I raise my hand to knock, the door swings open.
‘Rebecca, my dear! How honoured I am to receive you.’ He beckons me to enter, takes my coat and then ushers me through to his rooms.
I untie my ribbons and take the chair that he proffers. ‘Good afternoon, Gwilym. I trust that you are keeping well?’
‘I am, very well, thank you. I returned last week from a trip to the Continent. The Île de Ré was very pleasant, very pleasant indeed.’ He adjusts his glasses and rubs his chin. Then he takes my gloved hand. ‘How…how are you doing, dear? I know that it must be difficult for you… I often think of you…’
I swallow. ‘That is kind of you, Gwilym. The children are well and I…I am managing.’Geoffrey and I had visited the Île de Ré in France a few years earlier. But I have not come here to discuss our holidays. ‘I, er… I wanted to talk to you about Geoffrey’s investments.’
Gwilym stands up and walks over to his mahogany bureau. He unlocks a drawer with a small golden key and takes out some folders. He returns to his desk and places them in front of me. ‘So…here are the investments. I took the liberty of checking them before I went away. Let’s start with the Alabama Steel Mills.’ He frowns and pushes his glasses a little further up his nose. ‘Hmm. These stocks have fallen somewhat in the past months and—’
‘Gwilym. I know.’ I pull the letters from my skirt pocket and unfold them, laying them out on top of the folders. ‘I believe you will have copies of these. Our investments appear to be underperforming. I believe it is due to the aftermath of the “panic of 1893”.’
Gwilym looks at the letters and then raises his head, nodding. Under the hooded lids I glimpse the anguish in his pale eyes.
Heidi Gallacher was born in London in the Sixties. She grew up in Cardiff and Swansea, South Wales. She jumped at the chance to move to Paris in her twenties to learn a new language and culture.
Following the arrival of her first son she moved to sunny Switzerland where she has lived ever since.
She completed her Masters in Creative Writing in 2018 and her first short story Changing Places was published in September of that year. Rebecca's Choice is her first novel.
When not writing, Heidi writes and performs music, swims in Lake Zürich and fundraises for a school in Tanzani