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An exploration of 'destined spirits' and supernatural visions, with a romantic twist.


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An exploration of 'destined spirits' and supernatural visions, with a romantic twist.

30 review for The Two Destinies (Pocket Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    I believe, after reading the Wikipedia entry for Wilkie Collins, that I have approached his work from the wrong end. I had previously read The Law and the Lady, Miss or Mrs.?, and (most recently) The Moonstone. Today I read that his work from the 1860's was his best (and The Moonstone was the last written during this decade). Beyond that, it is suggested that his work deteriorated, probably because of his addiction to laudanum. If the difference between The Moonstone (1868) and this book (publis I believe, after reading the Wikipedia entry for Wilkie Collins, that I have approached his work from the wrong end. I had previously read The Law and the Lady, Miss or Mrs.?, and (most recently) The Moonstone. Today I read that his work from the 1860's was his best (and The Moonstone was the last written during this decade). Beyond that, it is suggested that his work deteriorated, probably because of his addiction to laudanum. If the difference between The Moonstone (1868) and this book (published in 1876), can be used as a measuring stick, I would have to agree. One could not argue with the brilliancy of The Moonstone. On the other hand, The Law and the Lady (1875) and The Two Destinies both felt a bit belaboured, repeating similar scenarios ad nauseam without any apparent point. Perhaps, since the story was originally published in serial form, Collins believed that the repetition was necessary as a courtesy to readers who may have forgotten where it "left off". Or maybe he himself (under the influence of an addictive substance) had forgotten? Perhaps my modern sensibilities are showing (I admit to being very impatient with the slow-moving classics which were originally published as serials) -- or perhaps I am just being unkind. Whatever the case, I have not abandoned Wilkie Collins. I am happy that three more stories from his "better" decade are still in my reading future.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Katie Lumsden

    I'm not sure how I feel about this one. There were parts I loved and found fascinating, other parts I was confused by and disliked, and the ending was a little odd. Still, an interesting read, and I look forward to more Wilkie Collins in the future.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Free download available at Project Gutenberg. Opening lines: MANY years have passed since my wife and I left the United States to pay our first visit to England. We were provided with letters of introduction, as a matter of course. Among them there was a letter which had been written for us by my wife's brother. It presented us to an English gentleman who held a high rank on the list of his old and valued friends. 3* The Woman in White 4* The Moonstone 4* Who Killed Zebedee? 4* The Dead Alive 4* Mrs. Za Free download available at Project Gutenberg. Opening lines: MANY years have passed since my wife and I left the United States to pay our first visit to England. We were provided with letters of introduction, as a matter of course. Among them there was a letter which had been written for us by my wife's brother. It presented us to an English gentleman who held a high rank on the list of his old and valued friends. 3* The Woman in White 4* The Moonstone 4* Who Killed Zebedee? 4* The Dead Alive 4* Mrs. Zant and the Ghost 3* A Fair Penitent 4* The Frozen Deep 4* The Haunted Hotel 4* The Law and the Lady 4* No Name 3* My Lady's Money 3* Mad Monkton And Other Stories 4* Armadale 3* The Traveller's Story of a Terribly Strange Bed 3* Stories by English Authors; England 3* Mr. Lismore And The Widow 3* The Dead Secret 4* Basil 3* The Two Destinies TBR Poor Miss Finch TBR Blind Love TBR Man and Wife TBR The Queen of Hearts TBR Hide and Seek

  4. 4 out of 5

    Plethora

    I didn't find this to be one of the better Wilkie novels. It set out with great promise, but fell short and started to drag.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ajoyful1

    A satisfying journey I'm so over modern writers who believe, or are forced by their publishers to add gratuitous profanity, violence, and sex to their stories. Is that all our modern culture ascribes to as entertainment? I don't think so but they obviously do. Enough of my vent. THIS read was rich, the story, the language- so much higher than ours in this day of text jargon and emojis, was so fulfilling. I couldn't put it down. The characters and their saga was heartrending. I lived every minute A satisfying journey I'm so over modern writers who believe, or are forced by their publishers to add gratuitous profanity, violence, and sex to their stories. Is that all our modern culture ascribes to as entertainment? I don't think so but they obviously do. Enough of my vent. THIS read was rich, the story, the language- so much higher than ours in this day of text jargon and emojis, was so fulfilling. I couldn't put it down. The characters and their saga was heartrending. I lived every minute with them. And knowing the ending from the beginning just made the travails that much more exciting. I'm glad I still have more of Willie Collins' books to read. They are long and dense and aren't over quickly, leaving me wanting. If you've never read him or Mary Elizabeth Braddon, 19th century writers, you're in for a treat. Would've given 6 or more stars for outstanding writing with no objectionable content.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    Well, they weren't kidding when they said that it was Victorian melodrama -- it was quite dramatic. It is the perfect book for visions, deformed and veiled mysterious women, Scottish moors, fake marriages, murder suicides and strange coincidences involving kindred spirits who fail to recognize each other in the flesh like 10 times over. I think that there is a reason why The Woman in White and The Moonstone are the only Collins we still read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sonia

    A humdinger of a sensational novel even by Wilkie Collins standards! We have visions/ghosts, sickness, no-good husbands, young love, and suspense. However, I found it hard to believe these two people never compared notes and came to realize they knew each other as children. Not to mention the improbability that George would carry his puppy-love for Mary into adulthood. This book keeps your interest even though you want to slap them at times! Excellent voice-actor, Samuel West.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cason

    Usually I love Wilkie Collins but this one seemed so overly dramatic that I had a difficult time getting through it. Plus it used the ploy of continually omitting one very specific and important information from the characters to prolong the plot. When the one piece of information was finally shared, the book ended.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Naomi

    This is a tough one for me to rate because it is super melodramatic and predictable but deliciously mystical and reads like a suspenseful ghost story. I enjoyed the audiobook and suspect I may have tired of the repetitive tale of near discoveries if I had attempted to read it. In the end, I embraced the romantic, mystical melodrama and decided it was perfect for the Halloween season.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Denise Gilkeson

    I enjoyed this book as I have enjoyed every Wilkie Collins book ive read. My only criticism is that it took too long for the two characters to finally realize their true identities. Improbable but still enjoyable

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Good writing. Interesting story until the end. Mary was annoying. Also, right before the conclusion it was too awful to be wrapped up in such an easy happy way. It ruined the book for me. On a positive note, I listened to it and the narrator was wonderful.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cami

    A delightful, super-natural romance from Mr. Collins, author of The Woman in White. Can anything separate those truly destined to be together? Can destiny and pure love overcome distance, wealth and *gasp* social classes? Only Old Dame Dermody has the answer.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Petra

    This is a wonderful Victorian love tale of two people seperated and yet destined to be together. Highly recommended.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Angie Bates

    Really good book, Love this author, I want to read all his books!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    (Kindle as well as audiobook) The author, Wilkie Collins, was a prolific writer; he wrote numerous novels, short stories, plays, and essays. Like Dickens, Collins wrote about the social issues of the day. Collins put a special emphasis on the problems women faced in that period of time in England. Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) writes in the style that was popular at the time. The modern reader may find the writing somewhat stilted and the story rather flowery and sentimental, but that seems to be the (Kindle as well as audiobook) The author, Wilkie Collins, was a prolific writer; he wrote numerous novels, short stories, plays, and essays. Like Dickens, Collins wrote about the social issues of the day. Collins put a special emphasis on the problems women faced in that period of time in England. Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) writes in the style that was popular at the time. The modern reader may find the writing somewhat stilted and the story rather flowery and sentimental, but that seems to be the style of the day. Thus, this is really a period piece and should be judged as such. I found the story quite sweet and engrossing. On the audiobook, the narrator, Sam West, did an excellent job of reading this classic. He narrated the story in such an expert manner that I was quickly drawn into the lives of the characters. He managed to project the emotions of the characters and make them believable inhabitants of an earlier period of time in English history. The story takes place in England in the 1800s. Mary, age 10, and George, age 13, were childhood sweethearts. They were only happy in each other’s presence or when they anticipated seeing each other. “We obeyed the impulse to love one another, as a bird obeys the impulse to fly”. Dame Dermody, the bailiff’s mother, was a religious mystic who saw George and Mary’s bond as pure and beautiful. She predicted that they would be drawn to each other on earth and in heaven. They would find each other even though they were separated and miles apart, for they were meant to be together. George’s father was away in America on business a good deal of the time and had not observed his son George’s relationship to Mary. The father had a large estate, and Mary was only the bailiff’s daughter and lived with her father and Dame in a cottage on the estate. However, George’s uncle did observe the relationship and was sure the bailiff was trying to take advantage of George’s fondness for Mary in order to advance his own interests. The uncle wanted to take George away to London and convinced George’s mother that this was the right decision. Determined to keep his relationship to Mary, George hid in Dame’s bedroom in the bailiff’s cottage. George and Mary had spent so many joyful times together. One of their favorite pleasures was sailing in his boat on a nearby lake. One day Mary gave George a special gift, a little green flag that she had made for his boat. George delighted in the idea of flying the special flag while they sailed on his boat. Yet, Dame could see a tragic future unfolding for the children. She told George to hide the flag because it would be taken from him otherwise. When George’s father returned from America, George told him that he wanted to marry Mary. His father was horrified, since Mary was of a lower class than his son. His father insisted on taking George and his mother back to America with him and imprisoned George in his room until they departed. Sadly, when George came home for a visit, he found the bailiff’s cottage deserted. His father had fired the bailiff, and the family had left for parts unknown. Mary’s father took her to Scotland where they made a happy home together. However, when he knew he was ill and dying, he worried about her welfare. Who would take care of her? He encouraged Mary to marry a man who turned out to be a scoundrel and a thief, a man who periodically left her and their small daughter to fend for themselves, without a means of support. To her horror, Mary found out that he was already married. She was considered this man’s mistress, a loose woman. Mary was shunned by polite society and not invited to their homes. Years later, George searches for Mary. Fate has torn them apart, but their paths cross again. Unfortunately, for a long time, they do not recognize each other. How destiny pulls them together and how their broken hearts are finally healed is the theme of the story. The little green flag has an important role to play.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    The author, Wilkie Collins, was a prolific writer; he wrote numerous novels, short stories, plays, and essays. Like Dickens, Collins wrote about the social issues of the day. Collins put a special emphasis on the problems women faced in that period of time in England. Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) writes in the style that was popular at the time. The modern reader may find the writing somewhat stilted and the story rather flowery and sentimental, but that seems to be the style of the day. Thus, this The author, Wilkie Collins, was a prolific writer; he wrote numerous novels, short stories, plays, and essays. Like Dickens, Collins wrote about the social issues of the day. Collins put a special emphasis on the problems women faced in that period of time in England. Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) writes in the style that was popular at the time. The modern reader may find the writing somewhat stilted and the story rather flowery and sentimental, but that seems to be the style of the day. Thus, this is really a period piece and should be judged as such. I found the story quite sweet and engrossing. On the audiobook, the narrator, Sam West, did an excellent job of reading this classic. He narrated the story in such an expert manner that I was quickly drawn into the lives of the characters. He managed to project the emotions of the characters and make them believable inhabitants of an earlier period of time in English history. The story takes place in England in the 1800s. Mary, age 10, and George, age 13, were childhood sweethearts. They were only happy in each other’s presence or when they anticipated seeing each other. “We obeyed the impulse to love one another, as a bird obeys the impulse to fly”. Dame Dermody, the bailiff’s mother, was a religious mystic who saw George and Mary’s bond as pure and beautiful. She predicted that they would be drawn to each other on earth and in heaven. They would find each other even though they were separated and miles apart, for they were meant to be together. George’s father was away in America on business a good deal of the time and had not observed his son George’s relationship to Mary. The father had a large estate, and Mary was only the bailiff’s daughter and lived with her father and Dame in a cottage on the estate. However, George’s uncle did observe the relationship and was sure the bailiff was trying to take advantage of George’s fondness for Mary in order to advance his own interests. The uncle wanted to take George away to London and convinced George’s mother that this was the right decision. Determined to keep his relationship to Mary, George hid in Dame’s bedroom in the bailiff’s cottage. George and Mary had spent so many joyful times together. One of their favorite pleasures was sailing in his boat on a nearby lake. One day Mary gave George a special gift, a little green flag that she had made for his boat. George delighted in the idea of flying the special flag while they sailed on his boat. Yet, Dame could see a tragic future unfolding for the children. She told George to hide the flag because it would be taken from him otherwise. When George’s father returned from America, George told him that he wanted to marry Mary. His father was horrified, since Mary was of a lower class than his son. His father insisted on taking George and his mother back to America with him and imprisoned George in his room until they departed. Sadly, when George came home for a visit, he found the bailiff’s cottage deserted. His father had fired the bailiff, and the family had left for parts unknown. Mary’s father took her to Scotland where they made a happy home together. However, when he knew he was ill and dying, he worried about her welfare. Who would take care of her? He encouraged Mary to marry a man who turned out to be a scoundrel and a thief, a man who periodically left her and their small daughter to fend for themselves, without a means of support. To her horror, Mary found out that he was already married. She was considered this man’s mistress, a loose woman. Mary was shunned by polite society and not invited to their homes. Years later, George searches for Mary. Fate has torn them apart, but their paths cross again. Unfortunately, for a long time, they do not recognize each other. How destiny pulls them together and how their broken hearts are finally healed is the theme of the story. The little green flag has an important role to play.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This late novel tells the story of Mary Dermody and George Germaine, who fall in love when they are little more than children. Circumstances force them apart, but the girl's grandmother insists that the two are destined to be together and that they will find a way to each other again. Many years later, George comes across a young woman attempting to drown herself. He saves her life, not realising that she is the girl he fell in love with ten years earlier. They both have different surnames (he u This late novel tells the story of Mary Dermody and George Germaine, who fall in love when they are little more than children. Circumstances force them apart, but the girl's grandmother insists that the two are destined to be together and that they will find a way to each other again. Many years later, George comes across a young woman attempting to drown herself. He saves her life, not realising that she is the girl he fell in love with ten years earlier. They both have different surnames (he under the terms of his step-father's will, she because she has married), and fail to recognise each other. Over the course of the next few years, George receives what seem to be telepathic messages from the woman whose life he saved, and again he goes to her aid. He is in love with her, but her circumstances do not permit her to return his love. Perhaps the most interesting section of the novel is when George goes to the Shetland Islands in an attempt to recover from his infatuation with the woman, and there stays at the house of Mr Dunross and his mysterious daughter, whose face is constantly shrouded by a heavy veil. This is a love story pure and simple, with no sub-plots and none of the twists and turns one associates with Collins' best work. It doesn't quite work, because it seems incredible that Mary and George do not recognise each other, or that they don't at some point compare notes and realise they knew each other as children. The 'supernatural' elements of the story are not really a major part of the story and do not entirely convince. Enjoyable if you want a well-written romantic story, but it is one of Collins' least successful novels, to my mind.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. First, I must say I am probably not the best audience for this story. I’m about as unromantic as they come, and don’t believe in soulmates. Perhaps I should have read the description of the book closer, but the audiobook came up deeply discounted, and I’ve enjoyed other books by this author before, so I gave it a shot. If you find codependent, dysfunctional-to-the-point-of-creepy relationships (a la Wuthering Heights) to be irresistibly romantic, you’ll probably enjoy this one more than I did. T First, I must say I am probably not the best audience for this story. I’m about as unromantic as they come, and don’t believe in soulmates. Perhaps I should have read the description of the book closer, but the audiobook came up deeply discounted, and I’ve enjoyed other books by this author before, so I gave it a shot. If you find codependent, dysfunctional-to-the-point-of-creepy relationships (a la Wuthering Heights) to be irresistibly romantic, you’ll probably enjoy this one more than I did. The narrator of the book, Samuel West, did a fine job. I have no objection to how the material was presented, but the story itself. It started off well enough when the main characters were cute little childhood sweethearts, but once they were grown up and generally miserable without each other, then miserable with each other, there was a lot of eye rolling and exasperation as I listened. The ending I found totally ludicrous! So this dude, after the lady has turned down his proposals multiple times, lures her onto his boat with every intention of committing a murder/suicide right in front of the lady’s young child. And this chick, after knowing full well what he had in mind and being rightfully afraid for her life, as soon as she realizes that they were in puppy love as kids (they didn’t recognize each other until this point) all is immediately forgiven and forgotten and she just goes ahead and marries him? Nooooope. Nope nope nope. Not ok, Wilkie, not ok.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Colin Baumgartner

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I loved the Moonstone and was hoping that this would have a similar feel. This falls a bit short of the mark I think. I love the flow and the feel of the writing. The Victorian writers have a lovely way of luxuriating in language that I really appreciate. This story was fine—the two lovers who are separated by cruel fate. The story was nicely spun using the idea of an other-worldly connection between the lovers predicted by the fortune-teller aunt. This device worked well enough, but for some re I loved the Moonstone and was hoping that this would have a similar feel. This falls a bit short of the mark I think. I love the flow and the feel of the writing. The Victorian writers have a lovely way of luxuriating in language that I really appreciate. This story was fine—the two lovers who are separated by cruel fate. The story was nicely spun using the idea of an other-worldly connection between the lovers predicted by the fortune-teller aunt. This device worked well enough, but for some reason the characters didn’t really feel very rich. The narrator felt a little too indignant about his advances being rebuked, the reconciliation at the end felt a bit abrupt after all the trouble, and the story just felt a bit lacking in comparison to a book like The Moonstone. Regardless, this was a fun read and it was an enjoyable summer read. There were some fun, fantastical elements (the exploration of the moors in Scotland and the relationship with the disfigured daughter) that made the book fine.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Aleks Schoen

    It was a quick and decent read because, after all, Wilkie wrote it-but it is far from his best. It explored the supernatural, which in itself isn't a problem, except when you have one of the best mystery writers of all time doing it instead of his usual incredible revelations and twists. Add to that a total lack of Wilkie's humor and fabulous characters (replaced by two single-minded, frankly annoying lovers), and there's not too much left. I enjoyed it for what it was, but don't set your expect It was a quick and decent read because, after all, Wilkie wrote it-but it is far from his best. It explored the supernatural, which in itself isn't a problem, except when you have one of the best mystery writers of all time doing it instead of his usual incredible revelations and twists. Add to that a total lack of Wilkie's humor and fabulous characters (replaced by two single-minded, frankly annoying lovers), and there's not too much left. I enjoyed it for what it was, but don't set your expectations too high on this one.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gabi Coatsworth

    Interesting novel, though not on a par with The Moonstone or The Woman in White. There’s a supernatural element, but I read this more as a curiosity than as a top example of Collins’ work. The story of two kindred spirits who finally find each other again but have to live in Italy to do so, is very much constrained by Victorian morals and customs. This can make it a little tiresome, as I wanted a faster rebellion from the heroine of the book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    Since several reviewers say that this later story of Wilkie’s is not up to par with his earlier works, I was hesitant to read it, but I am so glad I did. It was very engaging. While some parts were slower, it was still an enjoyable read. Originally published in 1870. I listened to this as a free download from LibriVox.org

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shelly

    This book was supremely ridiculous and kind of slow. And I still didn’t really mind it. Not sure if it was the excellent narrator, or that small remaining bit of lyricism that is something I like about other Wilkie Collins’ books.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Pastor Ben

    This is one of those books that is an enjoyable enough story, but no literary gem. Collins has a social message that he'd like to communicate and he's got a fantastical plot device to help him make the point. So it's a little clunky. But it's still fun.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Well-written, solid characters and a decent plot. Too bad it's a romance. There is one part towards the end that was a little over the top, but hey, the main theme is that true love will find a way. Nice brain stimulation.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kitty Kilian

    I love everything by WC. No Name was interesting - feminist even - and this one is entertaining.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    It moved slowly for my taste. It took them forever to reach the obvious conclusion. A bit like Anthony Trollope.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Herb Cihak

    Excellent Novel Thoroughly enjoyed the unfolding of the characters. Keep my interest. Would recommend this novel as one of Collins best reads.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ruby Bibi

    The story takes place during the time period of the author, in the mid to late 1800's in Great Britain. Two young people, one, the son of a British nobleman who was 13, and the daughter of his bailiff, who was 10, are constant companions. Neither have siblings and they live on the estate of the nobleman. They feel they are kindred spirits and meant for each other and the bailiff doesn't do anything to stop the relationship. The nobleman is away in the United States attending to an investment int The story takes place during the time period of the author, in the mid to late 1800's in Great Britain. Two young people, one, the son of a British nobleman who was 13, and the daughter of his bailiff, who was 10, are constant companions. Neither have siblings and they live on the estate of the nobleman. They feel they are kindred spirits and meant for each other and the bailiff doesn't do anything to stop the relationship. The nobleman is away in the United States attending to an investment into which he has sunk all of his funds and also funds of outside investors. The nobleman's wife is not a strong person, and is not preventing the relationship, as she is mainly looking for her son's happiness. The nobleman's brother hears of what's happened and after unsuccessfully trying to remove his nephew from the property to force him to live on his land and away from the bailiff's daughter, he writes to his brother in the U.S. The brother returns and terminates the employment of his bailiff in very bad terms, but the bailiff's mother, who was from a titled family but married a laborer because it was her true love, prophesies that the two children are meant to be together and no matter what the boy's father does, the two children will end up united. The bailiff moves away and leaves no trace of where. The nobleman takes his family with him to the U.S., but years later, the investment sours, and all the money is lost, and the nobleman passes away. The mother and young boy who is now a teenager return to the U.K. and they survive on a small amount of money left by her family for her. A wealthy man, who had loved the boy's mother and who is still single, gives the mother an offer of marriage and she accepts. When the young man, George, is now grown up and 23 years old, the stepfather passes away and asks that for George to inherit the estate, he would have to take the stepfather's last name as his own and he agrees. The little girl, Mary, 10 years later, is now 20 and, after the death of her father, finds herself approached by a man whose life her father had saved, with an offer of marriage and she accepts. Both George and Mary meet repeatedly after this, and, because they have each changed in appearance over the years, and each of them have different last names, they don't realize who they are, but they are inexplicably attracted to each other. Mary is exposed to numerous troubles, and George is repeatedly finding himself there to help her, and is hoping, that despite Mary's situation, that she will end up as his wife. Engrossing story as George repeatedly loses Mary just as their true relationship to each other is about to be revealed, but is not. Told as a story within a story, but very enjoyable throughout.

  30. 4 out of 5

    J

    Destiny is very convoluted, and mysterious. I liked it.

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