Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rebecca's Tale by Sally Beauman

Many, many years ago the lovely-voiced Jean Marsh read to me in the car for six hours. She read Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. We drove together down the windswept Cornish coast to Manderley, while Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights played softly in the background of my brain. I enjoyed Rebecca very much, but it was, seriously, an extremely long time ago and I feared I remembered dreadfully little of the intricacies in the story (turns out I recalled quite a bit). I remembered being disappointed that the enchanting Rebecca was actually rather unpleasant. But I remembered loving the story! I do enjoy a period piece and a mystery. I love being swept away into another time and place and, frankly, I specifically enjoy an author who will let me fill in the dirty little blanks. I have a perfectly vivid imagination and I love authors who appreciate that in me. Rebecca truly was a glorious journey!
Then, Rebecca's Tale by Sally Beauman beckoned me from the shelves of the local bookstore. It said, "If you've read Rebecca and loved it....". Well, that seemed about right, so I picked it up.
While I was a bit tentative about jumping into a 450 page book with tiny little words (Jean Marsh, where are you?), I was terribly excited about going back to Manderley and the sea. I was also worried that it had been too long and perhaps I would be lost. The story takes place twenty years after the death of Rebecca, however, so my decade or so of absentia fit all too well into the premise of the tale.
It was written in four parts by four unique characters who all have dissimilar motives for investigating the long ago mysterious death of Rebecca de Winter. The first two sections are beautifully written from the points of view of two different men who are somewhat obsessed with Rebecca for much varied reasons. I enjoyed these two parts immensely! The writing style was enchanting and intriguing and I was immediately thrilled to go back in time.
The third section, however, the section written by Rebecca herself in the form of long lost diaries ... well, that section made me dislike Rebecca all over again! Curses! I really wanted to love her. I wanted to see beyond her beauty and charm and find a splendid soul inside. I was disappointed, to say the least!
The final chapter, written by the comely Ellie Julyan was pleasant enough, however I felt the author (Beauman, not Ellie) wrapped things up a little too neatly in the end. I wish she would have left a little to my own active imagination. I wish she would have left me wanting more. Sadly, she did not.
So, while Kate Bush's haunting voice faded into the darkness and I closed the book and drifted off to sleep ... last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again....

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