Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…well close to it.

The Winters by Lisa Gabriele

About the book (taken from the blurb):

After a whirlwind romance, a young girl returns to the opulent, secluded mansion of her fiancé Max Winter – a wealthy senator and recent widower – and a life of luxury she’s never known. But all is not as it appears at the Asherley estate. The house is steeped in the memory of Max’s beautiful first wife Rebekah, who haunts the young woman’s imagination and feeds her uncertainties, while his alive teenage daughter Dani makes her life a living hell.

As the soon-to-be second Mrs. Winter grows more in love with Max, and more afraid of Dani, she is drawn deeper into the family’s dark secrets – the kind of secrets that could kill her, too.

About the Author:

Lisa Gabriele is the author of several bestselling novels, such as: Tempting Faith DiNapoli, and The Almost Archer Sisters. Her writing has appeared in Glamour Vice, Elle, the New York Times Magazine and Salon as well as various anthologies, including The Best American Nonrequired Reading series. She is also an award winning producer.

Thoughts:

I swept through this book; demolishing it in a few hours/days (it was over Christmas and I was in a bit of a food coma). I thought it an imagined retelling of ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier; weaving a modern world into a classic book. Now you can never match the original for suspense, thrills, and good old plot twists but I thought this came close.

As a retelling I was sceptical as to whether it would simply be a modern version of the same story – nothing new or different added. I was half happy and half not – Yes it was modern, and yes it added to the original plot twist but I wasn’t entirely happy with the overall plot twist. Rather than simply reimagining the story, as Sally Beauman does in ‘Rebecca’s Tale’, Gabriele simply modernises a story which in our modern 21st century world is entirely superficial, and takes the plot twist one step further. The suspense is there, and she masterfully creates a red herring so the plot twist (which you’d be expecting if you’ve read the original) sneaks up out of nowhere, but the mystery is gone.

I did really enjoy the main character – the un-named second wife. In Maurier’s original she appears very beige, a secondary figure in her own story; however in this retelling she appears out of the haze and finds some form of voice and purpose. She stands up for herself, alright she backs down usually or is placated by Max, but she takes her own steps and settles into her new role rather than listlessly wandering around and breaking things.

The writing style was open, easy to read, and fitted the style of the novel. Gabriele was able to build suspense and quite frankly throw in some curve balls – the wedding dress for one! I enjoyed the writing style and the book as a stand alone book.

There isn’t an awful lot to say about this book as it is pretty short, but for a younger, modern generation I think this could work as a stepping stone into the darkly gothic original.

Overall, I did enjoy it but much like the second Mrs Winter is plagued by the memory of the first, so is this book plagued by the original. I will keep an eye out for any other of Gabriele’s books though.

I’d give it 3/5 books – as a beach book or a quick read this is perfect.

Welcome!

So this is very excitingly my first post. I’ve been procrastinating setting up a book blog for a long time but new year, new things to try. I have quite an eclectic mix of genres I read, so this blog will not be based on one genre. I would probably say fantasy is a big part of my book hoard so I’d hazard a guess that this blog will feature fantasy quite a lot. I’m also a big classic fan – 2018 was the year I read and reread Sense and Sensibility; I think I read it probably 5 times last year – there was just something that kept drawing me back in. I am partial to a good horror – Anne Rice is definitely a firm favourite. Crime and mystery also feature heavily.
I’m always open to new genres, so any recommendations please send them my way, and I will add them to the ‘to be read’ pile which is currently threatening to fall over as I type. I definitely need some new book shelves this year.
Overall, I would say this blog is to enable me to develop my writing, read a wide variety of books and explore everything the written word has to offer. I am in the process of pulling together ideas for a crime book, so some posts may be about that. All thoughts and comments are welcomed.
Thanks for joining me on this adventure!