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Rebeccas Tale [Mass Market Paperback]

Sally Beauman
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 11 2002

April 1951. It is twenty years since the death of Rebecca, the hauntingly beautiful first wife of Maxim de Winter. Twenty years since Manderley, the de Winter family's estate, was destroyed by fire. But Rebecca's tale is just beginning.

Colonel Julyan, an old family friend, receives an anonymous package concerning Rebecca. An inquisitive young scholar named Terence Gray appears and stirs up the quiet seaside hamlet with disturbing questions about the past -- and with the close ties he soon forges with the Colonel and his eligible daughter, Ellie. Amid bitter gossip and murky intrigue, the trio begins a search for the real Rebecca, and the truth behind her mysterious death.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Published more than 60 years ago, Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca still captivates, at least partly because of its insistent ambiguity: we never learn definitively whether Maxim de Winter murdered his stunning first wife, Rebecca, or why Maxim so hastily remarried a mousy younger woman, famously unnamed. Selected by the du Maurier estate, Beauman (Destiny) has written a "companion" to Rebecca that preserves, and even deepens, the earlier novel's crafty evasions. Set in 1951, two decades after Rebecca's death was ruled a suicide, Beauman's story opens with the same (now famous) sentence as the earlier book: "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." Elderly, ailing Colonel Arthur Julyan was magistrate in the district when the legendary de Winter mansion mysteriously burned to the ground. Julyan's last days are disturbed by the intrusive visits of Terence Gray, a Scottish academic who claims to be writing a book about Rebecca's death. Then both Julyan's sharp daughter Ellie and Gray, who has secrets of his own, become rattled when Rebecca's personal effects begin arriving at the Julyan home. One of the anonymously sent packages contains Rebecca's journal, written just before her death a possible Rosetta stone. Beauman expertly tells Rebecca's tale from four different perspectives Julyan's, Gray's, Ellie's and, most vividly, Rebecca's without settling which version is nearest the truth. Though a composite Rebecca emerges depressive, possibly schizophrenic, promiscuous, fearless and almost certainly "dangerous" Beauman merely hints at a biological cause, raising titillating, though fully plausible, possibilities. This lushly imagined sequel, which cleverly reproduces the cadences of du Maurier's prose, resurrects Manderley without sweeping away all the artful old cobwebs. Readers should pounce. Agent, Peter Matson. 15-city NPR campaign. (Oct. 2)Forecast: While Rebecca may not be familiar to younger readers (though the 1940 Hitchcock film starring Laurence Olivier is a classic), Beauman's seductive sequel should do well on its own and also prompt interest in the original, which is being reissued in mass market.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Another Rebecca spinoff? In this case, Beauman (Destiny) was chosen by Daphne du Maurier's estate. Here, 20 years after Rebecca's death, Colonel Julyan asks daughter Ellie and mysterious scholar Tom Gray to reconsider her death in light of her newly discovered diaries.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars When you have a masterpiece... June 2 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Why mess with it? Sally Beauman forces us to view Rebecca in a different, admirable light, certainly a far cry from the way Rebecca is portrayed in the original novel. I find that a bit daring of Ms. Beauman to assume that she understands a character none of us really do. I think Rebecca must have been a mystery even to Daphne DuMaurier. She also gives an unfair picture of the second Mrs. DeWinter, clearly showing that she found her to be a dull, spiritless character. This is not the same character I read in the original, but we all have our own opinions. However, the biggest problem of the book is that it spends hundreds of pages building up a pathetic romance that takes a surprising, but rather silly and disappointing turn. Finally, she rushes to end the book, lamely trying to convince us all that Rebecca was a woman of strength who manages to inspire women beyond the grave. Somehow, I think I liked Rebecca better when she was just a seductive, domineering presence. Excusing her behavior doesn't seem like the sort of thing Rebecca would ever do. Rebecca does what she wants, and answers to no one; that's why we love to hate her.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Fans of du Maurier's Rebecca...BEWARE! March 27 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars intriguing Jan. 7 2004
I don't remember reading the previous book so this review stands on this book alone without any comparisons. I found it fascinating and full of family intrigue. The year is 1951, twenty years after the death of Rebecca DeWinter and the question still remains-was it a suicide or murder and who was she really? She was a woman whose description is as varied as the observers. She was a beautiful woman who was so memorable, that twenty years after her death she is still a person of interest to many inquiring minds. Several people have tried to find out the truth about her death for various reasons and the book tells the story from four different views; including the story of Rebecca, written by Rebecca, herself, (the books have mysteriously been sent to Colonel Julyan), by Colonel Julyan, who secretly had been enamored by Rebecca years ago, by his daughter Ellie, and by Terence Gray, a young unknown scholar with his own personal reasons in finding information about Rebecca. It keeps you guessing and interested to the very end of the book. Now I will have to go get the other books as this book was so interesting to me.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A Sad Shadow of Rebecca Dec 16 2003
As an independent story, the book might have been more enjoyable, but as a "postscript" I found it sadly lacking. Miss Beauman was not able to convey the feeling of different writing styles in order to separate the different sections of her book - Ellie's perspective, Grey's etc. She also was far too conveluted in her plots - Grey likes Ellie, no he doesn't - Rebecca was this type of person, no this type. Instead of having a purpose for resurrecting
du Maurier's characters, Beauman seemed to be just using these names to meander through a story that changed as it occured to her.
Sometimes great classics are to be left alone. "Rebecca" stands well on its own. Miss Beauman had questions raised that were answered in the original such as "Did Maxim kill Rebecca?" The amazing ability of du Maurier as an author is partly her ability to get her reader to have great sympathy for a murderer! Secondary authors seldom are able to capture the majesty of a first work, and Miss Beauman is no exception. I have never read any of her other books and this one does not motivate me to do so. Rebecca is such a haunting character because of the mystique
created by du Maurier, so she is best left now in the Manderley Chapel crypt.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing!
If you haven't read Daphne DuMaurier's 'Rebecca,' I would absoloutely read it before venturing onto this one. Read more
Published on April 18 2004 by lady detective
2.0 out of 5 stars Pale Rebecca
The original _Rebecca_ was fantastic - well-written and beautiful. The followup was, in comparison, dry and almost redundant. Read more
Published on April 2 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Death of a girl...
I read the mystery novel Rebecca's Tale by Sally Beauman. I thought the book was very hard to understand, especially in the beginning. Read more
Published on Dec 22 2003
2.0 out of 5 stars A sheer disappointment!
As a huge fan of Du Maurier I anxiously picked up this novel proposing to pick up where Rebecca left off. The author failed miserably at this attempt. Read more
Published on April 22 2003 by chantal9677
4.0 out of 5 stars I LOVED it, but...
I am a huge REBECCA fan, and yes, I have read the other two books in the series. This book was a real page turner, though it didn't start out that way: As much as I liked Colonel... Read more
Published on Dec 11 2002 by Celeste M. Harmer
1.0 out of 5 stars I wasted an entire Saturday for this??!
What a disappointing read! Since I first read Rebecca, I've been fascinated by Manderley and the de Winters. I was even somewhat satisfied when I read Mrs. Read more
Published on Sept. 21 2002 by Kathryn P Michaels
4.0 out of 5 stars Did I Love it?-- Yes and no.
I had very mixed feelings about starting to read Rebecca's Tale. I loved the original 'Rebecca,' and loved even more the recent BBC television production that was so faithful to... Read more
Published on Sept. 13 2002 by Warlen Bassham
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ
If you have read, loved and been haunted by Rebecca, you must read Rebecca's Tale. Not only is it the best sequel I have ever read, but it is also one of the best books I have... Read more
Published on May 27 2002 by Sandy
1.0 out of 5 stars hello?
seriously, has a sequel written by another auther EVER come even close to the original? no. and this is not the only sequel to the amazing novel Rebecca. Read more
Published on April 17 2002 by a fan of rebecca, but not the copiers
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