Another fascinating story! In The Chosen and the Rejected, Lucy Hillier and Florence Greg are two women who have been friends since childhood. Now both of them are at a stage in life where they have “found themselves in the predicament of having no niche in life to fill.” So when Lucy suggests that they move in together and share a cottage in the country, Florence readily accepts.
The cottage they find is not a perfect replica of their imagination – for starters, it is not located near a creek for Florence to grow carnations – but Lucy and Florence make do, ensuring their cottage is an extension of themselves. At first, they are a bit dismayed about not having people from their own social strata in the village – the vicar’s wife tells them the Prydes living in the big house Helensgrove are “very exclusive and not Christians” who “lived unto themselves.” But when Mrs. Pryde drops by their cottage to welcome Lucy and Florence to the village and invites them over to Helensgrove, a friendship is made. Lucy and Florence are entranced by two main occupants in Helensgrove and the house itself. However, things become awkward when Mrs. Pryde reveals to them her intentions for Mr. Pryde with “a haggard, Rembrandt face” after her death!
Frances Towers caught me by surprise with The Chosen and the Rejected – I didn’t have the slightest inkling of Mrs. Pryde’s real intentions while I was reading the story. But it also what makes this story utterly memorable – I can’t imagine the lives of Lucy and Florence being the same after what Mrs. Pryde said. Brilliant stuff! 😀