Having read and re-read Daphne du Maurier's _Rebecca_ more times than I can count, I was excited to find a book that might continue the story. What a disappointment! The purpose of the story is not to tell Rebecca's tale after all, but to enlighten us with the author's political point-of-view.
SETTING. Although the book is set in 1951, at least three of the characters are openly gay and it's hinted that a two others may be/have been bisexual. While our society is (finally) now becoming more enlightened about same sex couples, that was not the case in the early 1950's, particularly not in the rural society set depicted. Feminism of the type that says a woman cannot find love *and* herself, which I'd thought we'd finally put to rest, is championed, although it's, again, not terribly realistic for the setting.
PLOT. Let's see, we have multiple and layered affairs, loveless marriages, syphillis resulting in children with severe birth defects, psychological disorders, child rape, incest, suicide and murder. Oh, and ghosts. Meaningful dialogue was thrown out in favour of a never-ending stream of "shocking revelations" and allusions to develop the action.
CHARACTERIZATION. The book is broken into four sections so we can read the story from four different points of view. The dialogue is so strained that the author continually resorts to the interior monologue and flashback. Rebecca's journal is a mess. The "voice" changes more times than I could count, which makes it difficult to read. In the end, none of the characters are really very likable or sympathetic.
Honestly, I found the book truly awful, especially when held up in comparison to the rich language of du Maurier's _Rebecca_. The reader is left with the impression that Ms. Beauman wanted to denigrate and obliterate du Maurier's novel, but it just made me want to run to the original to cleanse the bitter flavour of _Rebecca's Tale_ from my palate.