Rebecca's Tale

Rebecca's Tale

by Sally Beauman


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April 1951. It has been twenty years since the death of Rebecca, the hauntingly beautiful first wife of Maxim de Winter, and 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 questions about the past and 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061174674
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/30/2007
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 266,738
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 10.90(h) x 1.18(d)

About the Author

Sally Beauman is a New York Times bestselling author and journalist who began her career at New York magazine. Her internationally bestselling novels, including Rebecca's Tale, her sequel to Daphne du Maurier's iconic work, have been translated into more than twenty languages. She has written for The New Yorker, the Sunday Times, and numerous other leading periodicals on both sides of the Atlantic.


London, England

Date of Birth:

July 25, 1944

Place of Birth:

Torquay, Devon, England


B.A. in English Literature, Hons Cantab, 1966; M. A., Hons Cantab, 1969

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Rebecca's Tale 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the worst books I think I've ever read. I don't understand why people think this was well written. I found the writing plodding, clunky, and slow. There were certain things, especially towards the end, that just left me wondering what on earth the author was thinking. In terms of story, this was a total waste of paper. The author doesn't want to "shed light" on the original - she wants to rewrite it. There are things that are presented as simple fact in the original that she suddenly decides aren't really true. I found her characters either boring or unsympathetic, and I found her manipulations of the characters from the original novel to be far fetched at best. I think in many ways she misses the point of the original. Rebecca isn't a character on whom light is meant to be shed. She's supposed to be a mystery. She's supposed to be an enigma. That's part of the power of the original story. Besides that, much of the "history" she creates for the character feels more like a joke than it does anything that could possibly "answer questions" about Du Maurier's original characters. If you're left with questions after the original... good! That's the point. Not everything is meant to be answered all the time. Having someone write a book about it after Du Maurier is dead doesn't answer questions. Beauman has no freaking clue what Du Maurier might have had in mind. She's just plain old making it up. You can do the same thing yourself without having to waste your time and money reading this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was so excited to read this book and by the time I finished it, I was thoroughly dissapointed because nothing exciting happened. I kept waiting for an intersting climax, only to be sadly dissapointed. The original Rebecca should be left just as it is, without any differing versions of the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This ended up being such a great book! I just wanted something to read before I went to bed. I ended up reading the story a lot during the day too. I love the characterization and unique perspectives of time. The narrative is so rich that certain sequences could almost be short stories by  themselves. I think that some of the reviewers were just too stuck on their interpretation of the original story of Rebecca to appreciate what a gem this book is. And I am such a finicky reader most of the time too. so I do understand how that can be, but this book is great. 
Guest More than 1 year ago
While I enjoyed the writing style and the voice it was written in, I did not like the story it was telling me. This is so different from what Rebecca was that I don't feel like I was reading the same story. I am sorry for the unfortunate portrayal of the second Mrs Dewinter as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I very much enjoyed reading Rebecca, and looked forward to Rebecca's Tale, however, this book destroys any sympathy one may have felt for Rebecca from the first book. Rebecca is basically a man-hating, conniving, manipulative woman who is so focused on revenge for past injustices, both actual and perceived, that one hardly feels sympathy for her as she "whines" away in her diary. She is too obsessed with destroying men and I feel that this theme, running throughout this story, makes for a disappointing, depressing read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have always been a huge fan of Rebecca. I must have read this book SO many times, always imagining what happened after Mandery burnt down, and the lives of Maxim and the second Mrs.DeWinter. You can imagine how excited I was when I learned there was a sequal to Rebecca. I bought this book, and read it in 3 days. The bottom line? BURN THIS BOOK. NOT only did it ruin the original story for me, it made me angry to see the second Mrs.DeWinter as a such a weak and naive person. It was ridiculous to read that she was pitied. In Rebecca, I loved the way our unnamed narrator turned out to be such a strong person, who had a loving husband. I had hoped so much that they would have happy lives, and loved each other without any membrance of Rebecca but NOT in this book. It did say that they loved each other, but it gives hints that Max had always loved Rebecca deep in his heart, one example is how he took her enternity ring on her ring finger after Rebecca died (the eternity ring was a ring Reecca's father gave her) Max had said he would replace it with his ring and he did so in the end. AND, there is more hints of course. Overall this is such a disspointing book. If you are a fan of the second Mrs.DeWinter and Maxim, don't read this book. I wish now that I never read or wasted my money. NOW I'd have to read the original over again to try to forget this horrible book otherwise it will give me nightmares!
brokenangelkisses on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is fascinating as a revisionist text because one desperately wants to know what really happened to Rebecca. (There are powerful hints in du Maurier's novel to suggest that Maxim simply found her too passionate, rather than a devil.) The third section of the novel is the most engaging and sad as Rebecca tells her own tale, but the shifts and hints never firmly reveal her fate. The fourth section then veers away from Rebecca to deepen the feminist reading and, ultimately, destroy the romance and mystery: a great shame.
kmmt48 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A complicated read but excellent writing. The story is a little dry in the beginning as the author fills us in on the original story of Rebecca. The story begins to take off and soon the reader is determined to follow all the threads with the characters who are searching for the answer to Rebecca's death in the first novel. Very well written and quite well done!
melaniehope on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I never read Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, but have watched the movie and loved the story. I think this author did a great job. The story read like a classic old novel full of dark secrets and mysteries. A woman, newly married, must learn to how to run her husband's estate, but there are those who may not want her there. Great story!
Fourborne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rebeccas's Tale is a continuation of Rebecca. It takes place years later. There are 3 people telling their versions of Rebecca and her mysterious notebooks. The 3 people lives intertwine with each others.I read some of the other reviews. I liked this book. But I do have to admit I haven't read Rebecca I've only seen the 2 versions of the movie.(My favorite being the black and white one). I had already decided that I would read Rebecca when I read this. I'll review back to see if my rating changes.
ijustgetbored on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I should first say that I'm not a diehard fan of Rebecca (though I do quite like it), so my response to Rebecca's Tale may be different from truly devoted fans of the original novel. The novel is divided into 4 parts, each with a different narrator (I won't name them here in case that counts as a spoiler!). Beauman does a good job of giving each character his / her own distinct voice; some writers attempt to narrate with different characters, but everyone sounds the same-- that's not the case here. Chalk one up for Beauman's style. I think what I liked most about Beauman's novel was the themes she chose to pick up and elaborate on from Rebecca: death sealed in persons (along with sterility), the life in nature, the notion of place (and breaking away from it), and a few others. Explorations of sexuality are also more explicit in this novel; even nature becomes almost overwhelmingly fecund. The novel still hovers at the question of who Rebecca was in life, but it also tries to pick apart who and what she has become in death. I should emphasize that this is NOT a retelling of Rebecca but a "further-telling" of, perhaps, Manderly itself and the lives of all it touches. It's not a remake, and it's overall not an attempt to explain (its weakest moments are, in fact, when it DOES try to explain, and that's why I give it 4 stars, along with the fact that it can be rather obvious in its "mysteries" at some points). Recommended, especially after rereading Rebecca.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the original novel as well as the superb movie, so my expectations were not high, but the premise was interesting and I expected to be entertained. I was not disappointed. The story was complicated and sometimes hard to follow, unlike the original. It held my interest and although it was not the way I would have solved the mystery I applaud the author's take and found I liked knowing more about the characters who were so compelling in the original.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good for a sequel to a classic
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting but one author cant take anothers book and change the actual story why not tell mrs winters story or the cousin who got sick when he learned she had c.a. or do the next years when they go away from england and she has a child and they settle down renember these estates were also working farms and evan a village owned by the estate
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I didn't like this book from the beginning. To me, none of the backgrounds were believable. Too sympathetic to Rebecca. Too many new characters. And what she did with the 2nd Mrs. De Winter was sad and, to me, not believable by the end of 'Rebecca,' she became a stronger woman whom Maxim loved and who loved him. Yes, one person can be remembered in many people's lives even after death, but that doesn't mean that they're good memories or, if they are, then what kind of person is having the memory: The people Rebecca had affairs with? The obsessive Mrs. Danvers? Or people she just put on a show for?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm sorry but I have to disagree with all the other reviewers. Sally Beauman nailed all the previous characters correctly. She is an obviously talented writer. I didn't expect her writing style to be like D. DuMaurier's since I think a writing style is a lot like a fingerprint and can't truly be duplicated. Rebecca left out a lot of detail in her version of events that would have explained Maxim's dislike for her a lot more believably than her pitiful little tale about the boy on the beach. I believe it reflected her egotistical view of herself that she flattered herself that he was still in love with her the whole time. I also think since T. Gray discovered inconsistencies in Rebecca's version of her tale (i.e. her father's death and all the gaps in her story) that other parts of her version were most likely a load of distortion of actual events as well. Like Maxim's undying love for her. This book did not ruin my love for DuMaurier's book Rebecca or the second Mrs. de Winter. In the original Rebecca the second Mrs. de Winter expresses how mousie she felt in the shadow and memories everyone had of Rebecca. What the characters in Rebecca's Tale were referring to was exactly how the second Mrs. de Winter felt the brief time she was at Manderley. She didn't acquire her courage and self confidence until after Manderley burned and they left England in Rebecca. I believe her strangeness with Ellie had a lot to do with her old wounds about the whole situation being reopened by the visit back to Manderley. The only parts I wasn't satisfied with was Rebecca's supposed vision of the future second Mrs. de Winter - I thought that was rather stupid. The reason given for Maxim's death was absurd. I also disagreed somewhat with Ellie's behavior in the end. It was as if she were developing some serious obsession with Rebecca's thoughts and what Rebecca's decisions would have been if she were in this or that situation and used that as a way of making her own life altering decisions. In the end of it all, I do understand that one person can make a difference in so many other lives but I believe that throughout Rebecca and Rebecca's Tale all of the characters over reacted as though their entire future happiness lay in the hands of a deceiving and conniving woman that only got where she was because of her beauty, cleverness, and her ability to act as something she wasn't - a good and decent person. Ironically the only character that did seem to move past this was the second Mrs. de Winter.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love the book Rebecca and have for many years. For me, Rebecca's Tale became something like a terrible car accident, I wanted to turn away but I just couldn't. The book is a compelling read, however, if you truly loved the original story, STAY AWAY from this one. It could very well ruin Rebecca for you. This book is as the title suggests REBECCA'S story. You may come to truly like Rebecca---- but remember---- in order to truly like Rebecca you have to sacrifice something and that may be your love for the second Mrs. De Winter. Proceed with Caution. If you aren't a huge fan of the original Rebecca, or if you found yourself drawn to the dark and mysterious Rebecca more than Maxim's sweet young wife, try this book, you may like it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I heartily agree with reader Em-239's comments below. I have read Daphne DuMaurier's "Rebecca" every year (sometimes 2x a year) as I love Ms. DuMaurier's style of writing. It is my favorite novel. I've also read "Mrs. deWinter" by Susan Hill when it was published and although I did enjoy reading another author's take on life post-Manderly it fell short of Rebecca. Then I came across "Rebecca's Tale" and was excited at the prospect of reading yet another author's interpretation. What a disappointment. I've had the book 3 weeks and am still struggling to finish reading it. I dislike the author's style and her twist on the characters' personalities. This book belongs back on the grocery check-out bookshelf.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found Beauman's portrayal of Du Maurier's original characters too out of character. For example, the Colonel was too 'backbone of the community' to be in love with Rebecca. Two, Beauman tried to create sympathy for Rebecca. Three, the acts of the next Mrs. De Winter seemed wrong. Even the honeymoon confession of a teen rape seemed flimsy and too shallow to feed such a hatred as DeWinter held for his wife. Yet, the mystery surrounding Mrs. Danvers and the new love story is good. If you really want to enjoy this, don't read the original immediately before or soon after. Let the facts and characters become hazy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would recommend Rebecca's Tale to anyone, whether or not the original Rebecca was read before. I couldn't put this book down. It revealed many secrets for the characters in Rebecca as well as the new characters introduced in Rebecca's Tale. This book explains Rebecca de Winter's past through a journal that was sent to one of her friends, Colonel Julyan. With the help of Terence Gray, a writer, Julyan was determined to find out the truth about Rebecca's mysterious death. Through her journal entries and through past acquaintances, Julyan and Gray link together the clues and finally discover the secretive life of Rebecca de Winter. There was never a moment that I was bored while reading this book. All of my questions from Rebecca were answered. Rebecca's Tale definitely deserves five stars.