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Rebecca's Tale Paperback – 2 May 2002

68 customer reviews

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Rebecca's Tale + Mrs De Winter: Gothic Fiction + Rebecca (VMC)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; New Ed edition (2 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751533130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751533132
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 2.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 49,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Sally Beauman's Rebecca's Tale is an ambitious sequel to Daphne du Maurier's much-loved Rebecca, a classic tale of love and death. Beauman dares to tell the story of the enigmatic first mistress of Manderley, and not only proves herself a brave woman, but a storyteller of exceptional style and skill. Written as a "companion" rather than a sequel, the author succeeds in breathing life into the long-dead bones of the magnificent Rebecca and has furnished us with an alternative version of the events that would ultimately lead to her tragic death and the destruction of her beloved home.

The book opens on April 12, 1951, the 20th anniversary of Rebecca's death. "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again", writes Colonel Julyan, an old family friend of the de Winters. As old age and ill health threaten to overtake him, 20 years of doubt about the true cause of Rebecca's death are sharply reawakened with the arrival of an anonymous parcel containing a small black notebook entitled Rebecca's Tale. Meanwhile, a mysterious stranger, recently arrived in the locality, appears equally determined to find answers to the string of inconsistencies raised by Rebecca's life and death. The Colonel and his dutiful daughter Ellie are both drawn to the handsome, intelligent Terence Grey but both are wary and wonder if he really is what he appears to be.

As the plot twists and turns, the revelations are both shocking and inevitable. Favourite characters--spooky Mrs Danvers and Jack Favell, Rebecca's reckless cousin-­drift in and out. This is a big book (495 pages), yet, once begun, most will find it difficult to put down­-just as well for there are so many complexities it doesn't do to take your time. Ultimately, Rebecca's Tale offers its own version of events, yet for du Maurier fans, it is reassuring in that it raises many more. And, cleverly, Beauman has added her own, somehow more relevant sub-plot. Perhaps the "truth" about Rebecca's life is only as important as the legacy she left those whose lives she touched. What they choose to do with it, and how they choose to live their lives, is the central issue here. This novel will appeal to anyone who has ever read Rebecca and, thanks to her finely woven plot and subtle undercurrents of hope and inspiration, it will appeal just as much to those who have not. --Carey Green --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

The artful Sally Beauman plays extremely clever games with the staples of popular fiction, moving the pieces to make original and intriguing patterns . . . A hugely entertaining read, seriously romantic and with a terrific sense of atmosphere. Sally Beauman's control of her complex material is absolute (Kate Saunders, DAILY EXPRESS)

Compelling, absorbing, captivating, haunting- Sally Beauman's most ambitious and imaginative book so far (Elaine Showalter)

REBECCA'S TALE is bold and clever...In this evocative and compulsive reworking of the balance of power between the sexes, Sally Beauman steers her creation into feminist territory and succeeds in overturning our loyalties. (Elizabeth Buchan, THE TIMES)

Once you start reading a Beauman book, you can't put it down, as Rebecca's Tale attests...I felt satisfied that she had done an extraordinary thing; she convinced me that the Rebecca of these assorted memories really was the Rebecce that du Maurier's novel (Linda Grant, GUARDIAN)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Alicadabra on 8 Nov. 2002
Format: Paperback
It's a long long time since I read Rebecca, but I couldn't bear to put down Sally Beauman's 'sequel'.
Its separation into four sections with different narrators was a brilliant device - I was completely thrown when the second rebuffed so believably some of the 'facts' stated by the first. We see Rebecca, Mrs Danvers, Maxim and even the faceless second 'Mrs De Winter' through the eyes of four very different characters, learning more about both the past and present throughout.
It leaves many questions unanswered, but that's part of its charm: it forces your imagination into overdrive, just like the characters in the book. Despite being a hefty book, it took me less than a week - staying up far too late every night - to read. Now I can't wait to re-read the original!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ruth on 20 Jun. 2007
Format: Paperback
I thought that the writing was fantastic and the plot was interesting, but I agree that the second Mrs de Winter is unrealistic and why would Rebecca be writing to her child if she doesnt think she's going to die?

I felt that the ending was unsatisfactory, I had been gripped throughout the book and thought the ending was a let down. I don't want to ruin it but the rest of the book was really interesting and I could barely put it down (why I gave it 4 stars)
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Jun. 2002
Format: Paperback
Rebecca's Tale is truly a thick mystery book which is hard to put down.
I had read Daphne Du Maurier's 'Rebecca' years ago, when I was still in my early teens, and when novels appeared more vivid and hallucinatory to me, just like intense summer dreams. That was before I began to take note of the words used: the literary devices, narrative structure, metaphors, images and similes.
Yet, Beauman's book had me enchanted almost immediately. The author writes with deceptively simple clarity: there are no striking sentences or clever tricks with words, so the reader can easily forget they are reading an artificial, literary work. Instead, the book is easy to read, without being patronising, simple or boring, leaving the reader free to enjoy the intense plot and atmosphere. It is ideal for those who wish reading to be enjoyable and relaxing, rather than challenging and cerebral. But it is still a satisfying read - with, perhaps conscious echoes of Emily Bronte, Shakespeare and Dickens.
The book is divided into four sections, each with a different narrator, allowing us to look at the same story from totally different angles: Yet, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and much remains unanswered. Was Rebecca lying? Did Julyan know more than he said he did? We never find out.
On the other hand, I felt almost physically sick when I read Rebecca's narrative: Her own autobiography, addressed to the baby she thought she was about to have. The ending is also very realistic - if not quite what one would wish for the eternally single Ellie.
One last note: I love the book's binding and its cover. It is wonderfully thick, with a beautifully swirling title in red ink over a misty blue photo of the sea. Sheer, dreamy bliss.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Graceann Macleod on 19 April 2009
Format: Hardcover
Perhaps I was in a better position than some to read "Rebecca's Tale," in that it has been almost twenty years since I read Daphne du Maurier's classic novel from which it takes its inspiration. I am not in a position to point out discrepancies as it relates to "Rebecca," but am free to concentrate on the story presented by Sally Beauman.

Rebecca's Tale is told from four points of view, each distinct and each rich with its own secrets. Though there was a bit of a confusing start to the story (thus four stars instead of five), Beauman's writing style soon took over and the story flowed interestingly. It begins with a purported quest to find out what really happened that night in 1931 when Rebecca's boat was scuttled just off shore, but it quickly becomes more than a simple murder mystery. The characters here have to deal with their own private motivations, and Rebecca's Tale becomes a fascinating story of chasing down phantoms in both past and present.

Most of the major players are present at some point in Rebecca's Tale including, most enigmatically, Rebecca herself. By the end of the novel, I was no closer to any answers, but I was much closer to the characters involved. In this Sally Beauman did something laudable; she created well-written, interesting people about whom I'd love to learn more. This is admirable indeed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on 30 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I confess, I really disliked this book at first. Having started reading it straight after reading "Rebecca" (for the fourth time) it seemed dull and very male. I realised I was only interested in seeing Manderley again and finding out what happened to the characters from du Maurier's book. Anything outside of that was irritating and pointless, and I felt that this author was merely piggybacking on the magnificence of du Maurier's imagination.

Then, halfway through, the female voices came through and I realised my mistake. Beauman knew what she was doing. She was weaving a rich and deceptive story. I became thoroughly engrossed and the book really affected me.

The author does bend some things from the original, which some won't like. In getting to know the original characters better, in seeing them through the eyes of others, we might find things look disconcertingly different from how they seemed in "Rebecca". For one, I never figured from the original that Julyan was in love with Rebecca! For another, Rebecca wanted to be a mother? Really? There's a lot of that. But it all added interest for me, all added to the original mystery.

It was a brave book to take on and I'm glad that if it had to be done that it was done by this author, who allows the reader their intelligence, and leaves just enough room for doubt that every plot twist comes as a surprise or a relief. She knows the reader is way ahead of the characters and she uses this to great affect. The ending and tying up of the mysteries (or not) was expertly handled, leaving matters to rest exactly as they needed to be. A wonderful book.
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