April 1951. It is 20 years since the death of Rebecca, the beautiful first wife of Maxim de Winter. It is 20 years since the inquest, which famously, and controversially, passed a verdict of suicide. Twenty years since Manderley, the de Winders' ancient family seat, was razed to the ground. But Rebecca's tale is just the beginning....
This is Sally Beauman's companion to Daphne du Maurier's classic, Rebecca.
©2001 Sally Beauman (P)2002, 2013 AudioGO Ltd
The fashion for writing sequels, prequels or just cashing in on best selling novels has produced some shockers!! For instance .... Scarlett, the sequel to Gone With The Wind. Margaret Mitchell must have turned in her grave!! Daphne du Maurier, however, need not. Rebecca's Tale takes the reader on a journey using, as background, the familiar story but introduces some very likeable new characters into the modern day account as they try to find the truth ... try to find the "real" Rebecca. I was entranced by this novel, narrated so beautifully by Robert Powell (love the Scottish accent ... and his Jack Favell could have been George Sanders) and Juliet Stevenson. If there is any criticism , it would be that Rebecca's diary to her unborn child perhaps went on a little too long but it did offer revealing insight into her character. For those who love Rebecca, I do not think you will find this book disappointing.
"Shame about poor quality of recording"
An excellent story which does real justice to the original tale and provides interesting possible insights/"what if?"s for readers (both new to the story and long- standing fans). I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline and narration.
My enjoyment of this excellent audiobook was, however, utterly spoilt by the extremely poor, crackly and distorted quality of the recording. I have twenty-year old cassette tape audiobooks which sound significantly better than this recording. It is testament to how brilliant the storyline and narration were that I continued to listen to it and, therefore, feel I can't ask for a refund. That said it is far, far beneath what I would expect from audible and this issue really needs addressing if audible are to continue charging for this item.
"A great entertaining listen"
Readers don't come any better than Juliet Stevenson and Robert Powell, and this was a great story. Lots of potential pitfalls in writing a book like this but it was far enough away from the original to be novel in its own right and close enough to be an interesting expansion on 'Rebecca' . A great listen.
"An interesting slant"
Obviously this was going to be a hard book to pull off because Rebecca is such a famous book and film.
I think this was as good as it could ever be trying to write a continuation - but it is not Daphne du Maurier and so difficult to know if this would be as she would have written it - but an interesting slant.
I love the book Rebecca (and My Cousin Rachel by DdM) and this is what prompted me to try this - I liked it overall and enjoyed it hense 4 stars
"Atmospheric and captivating"
This is a wonderful book, the best I have read for years. It is beautifully written, full of atmosphere, pathos, and love - of its characters, its Cornish setting, its era, and the book on whose dusty corners it seeks to shed a momentary flicker of light - Daphne du Maurier's 'Rebecca'. Already a 'Rebecca' addict (which I have read countless times) I slipped seamlessly into Sally Beauman's writing, first guided by a familiar character, minor in the original and perhaps an unlikely hero, and then to others not in the original but who have their own fascination and about whom you come to care deeply. My favourite is Arthur Julian who is so touchingly and lovingly depicted. Where 'Rebecca' was the second Mrs de Winter's autobiography, 'Rebecca's Tale' gives us - fleetingly and selectively, sometimes in her own words, sometimes in those of the people who knew her from childhood - the story of Maxim's first wife, who never had her own voice in the original book, who indeed was already dead by the time that story opened. Despite the discoveries in 'Rebecca's Tale', however, much is still left unanswered, and Rebecca herself remains elusive and mysterious and impossible to pin down, as she should be. The book is brilliantly conceived, wonderfully evocative, deliciously eery at times, and often intensely moving. Whether or not it is - as one reviewer puts it - 'Daphne du Maurier', soon becomes irrelevant.As the story progresses, I found that I lost interest in that first Mrs de Winter's account and became much more interested in the characters we are introduced to, who for their own reasons are seeking the truth about Rebecca.'Rebecca's Tale' is so much more than a prequel or sequel and should be judged in its own right. The narrators are excellent although I did find that in places the sound quality especially in the Robert Powell pieces was a bit ropey.
"At Last! A Rich and Convincing Sequel to a Classic"
If you have read (or heard) and enjoyed 'Rebecca', the original novel by Daphne du Maurier you should definitely get to know 'Rebecca's Tale'. Now is your chance to hear more about the rarified world and two marriages of the cold and irascible Maximillian de Winter, about his mousy, un-named second wife, about the dashing, dissolute Jack Flavell and the dangerous, probably bonkers, Mrs Danvers. You will hear a second and third telling of aspects of the story by other characters beginning with a fascinating narration from Colonel Julian who was quite a minor character in the first telling of the story but admits he has 'concealed the truth about Rebecca de Winter for too long'. The big deal is that, FINALLY, we meet Rebecca herself. If you have not read (or heard) the original story I would strongly recommend you so BEFORE you read 'Rebecca's Tale' because Maxim's first wife was dead before the story even began, we never meet her and she is unknown even to the story's narrator. By the end of du Maurier's book the only things we know about Rebecca are those the different characters in the book have told the narrator about her. That is it's genius. Readers are left wondering what Rebecca was really like and whether the story they have been told is really the WHOLE story and so it gives free reign to the reader's imagination.
Audible offers 'Rebecca' with narration from Anna Massey and it's the best I've ever heard. Juliet Stevenson and Robert Powell narrate 'Rebecca's Tale' and both are sublime.
'At last .. Rebecca tells her story ....
Don't attempt this book unless you have read or listened to 'Rebecca' first. You should do so anyway because it's a great story but you will also be able to enjoy this book and appreciate all the reasons why 'Rebecca's Tale' is such a great follow up. If you don't know 'Rebecca' you won't have a clue what 'Rebecca's Tale' is going on about and you'll be confused and disappointed.If, like me, you have been totally captivated by Daphne du Maurier's timeless classic novel you will be pleased to know that I found Sally Beauman's 'Rebecca's Tale' provides a thoroughly convincing, satisfying and enjoyable prequel and sequel to the events of the original story and the introduction of new characters and narratives creates extra depth and dimensions.
"An interesting mystery that gradually unfolds"
Liked: The way the book is separated into chronicles detailing events from the view-point of different key characters.
Liked: Robert Powell's excellent narration (full marks!)
Disliked: the stereotyping - agh! (the blonde-haired, blue-eyed, Adonis-like gay man; the robust, tweed-clad lesbian; and the timid, subservient, 'stay-at-home-to-look-after-elderly-father' spinster daughter!)
Disliked: The need for a notepad and pencil to keep track of the confusing and complicated family/friend connections/relationships!
Celina's recount of the mysterious events and noises from the flat above hers, and Ellie's later visit to 'the flat'!
Yes, I think it would work really well on screen.
A good listen overall. Robert Powell's narration was superb and his smooth voice, accents and intonations really helped to bring the characters and story to life. Unfortunately, in my opinion, Juliet Stevenson's voice was less effective as Rebecca than the other female characters as it was too soft and gentle.
The only thing that felt out of place and 'incorrect' in this book was the sexual references in Rebecca's journal - although mercifully few, they made me cringe nonetheless given the person for whom the journal was written!
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