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Rebecca's Tale
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About the Author

Sally Beauman has had great critical and commercial success with all her novels: DESTINY, DARK ANGEL and the series LOVERS AND LIARS, DANGER ZONES and SEXTET have been translated into over twenty languages and have been bestsellers worldwide.

Reviews

Beauman offers fresh perspective on Daphne du Maurier's famous 1938 tale of romance and intrigue, Rebecca. Researcher Terence Gray has been interviewing old Colonel Julyan about the mysterious death of Rebecca de Winter 20 years earlier. When materials from Rebecca's past resurface, Gray and Julyan's daughter Ellie attempt to discover who Rebecca really was and what happened to her. After all this time, can they find out the truth? The novel is divided into four sections, each with a different narrator. This clever strategy allows the reader to gain greater insight into the motivations of the characters. Beauman leisurely recaps the major plot points of the original novel while adding appealing new story lines and characters. A fitting tribute to du Maurier's work (and authorized by her estate), this sequel belongs in every public library, as well as in major academic libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/01.]Laurel Bliss, Yale Arts Lib. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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.

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