Review: Rebecca’s Tale by Sally Beauman

 Last night I dreamt I went to Manderlay again… rebecca

Rebecca’s Tale is an unauthorised sequel of Daphne du Maurier’s classic Gothic mystery. The year is 1951 and Colonel Arthur Julyan, long-time friend of the De Winter family, is still haunted by the circumstances of her death. With the help of his daughter, Ellie, and mysterious newcomer, Terance Grey, he determines to uncover the mysteries surrounding Rebecca’s death and her life before Manderlay.

The novel is told from multiple points of view, Colonel Julyan, Ellie, Terrance Grey, and Rebecca. During the course of their investigations Rebecca’s journal is discovered! Her journal details her childhood and why/how she came to marry Maxim De Winter and come to Manderlay. I loved reading from Rebecca’s point of view, even if she is proven to be an unreliable narrator, along with everybody in this story.

A lot of people have posted negative reviews of this novel. I think the biggest issue is that this version of Rebecca doesn’t match the way they see her. The author does use quite a lot of poetic license to create her version of Rebecca and the other characters. I really love this novel, though. It’s not quite as atmospheric or mysterious as the original, but it was still a very enjoyable read.

Description

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.

Details

Title Rebecca’s Tale

Author Sally Beauman

ISBN 006117467X (ISBN13: 9780061174674)

Published 2000

Pages 464

Genre Mystery, Suspense, Historical Fiction, Gothic

Source Own Copy

My Rating 5/5 stars

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The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Lucia Graves (Translator)

Atmospheric mystery. Epic love stories. The Shadow of the Wind has it all! shadow2

In Barcelona, just after the Spanish Civil War, 10 year old Daniel Sempre is grieving for his mother. To cheer him up, his father takes him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books where he must choose one book to take home and care for. The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax seems to choose Daniel. It was such a brilliant novel that he assumes Carax must be a well-known author, so he visits book dealer, Gustavo Barcello, to try and hunt down more of Carax’s books. When Barcello informs him that he might actually own the very last copy of any of Carax’s novels Daniel begins his quest to discover the mystery of Julián Carax.

I absolutely loved this book! I purchased my copy at a second-hand book store and the second I uploaded a picture of my book haul on Instagram I was inundated with comments from people telling what a fantastic novel it is. I kind of feel like I had a tiny Cemetery of Forgotten Books moment!

The Shadow of the Wind has a very Gothic feel to it. The mystery is convoluted and full of twists around every corner. I also really enjoyed the way the novel easily moved between the present and the past. Each revelation seemed to come at exactly the moment I was pulling my hair out wanting to know what was going on.

This novel has something for just about every book worm out there! Mystery, romance, books, writing, and it was an interesting depiction of Franco’s Spain.

Description

Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

Details

Title: The Shadow of the Wind

Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Lucia Graves (Translator)

Published: October 5th 2005 by Phoenix Press (first published 2001)

ISBN: 0753820250 (ISBN13: 9780753820254)

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Gothic, Spain

Pages: 520

Source: Own Copy

My Rating: 5/5 stars

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Book Review: Sing a Mournful Melody by Juli D. Revezzo

Title: Sing a Mournful Melodysing a mournful melody

Author: Juli D. Revezzo

AISN: B00PF0IQWY

Published:   November 8th 2014 by Raven Queen Publications

Genre:  Gothic, Short Story

Pages: 18

Source: I received my copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Description:

At the turn of the 20th century, tragedy has left Maribelle grief-stricken. After her beloved husband is murdered, his body disappears from his crypt. Worse, ghostly voices call from the widow’s Graphophone. Is she losing her mind, or does something wicked this way come?

My Thoughts:

‘Sing a Mournful Melody’ is a spooky short story with a real Gothic feel to it. I enjoyed the suspense which kept me wondering right up until the very last page whether Maribelle was simply out of her mind with grief at the loss of her husband or were the voices that she could hear coming out of the Grapaphone really coming to get her. It was a very cold and stormy almost winters afternoon here in Melbourne today and ‘Sing a Mournful Melody’ was the perfect short story to read over a coffee.

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Book Review: The Girl in the Photograph by Kate Riordan

Title: The Girl in the Photograph the girl in the photograph

Author: Kate Riordan

ISBN: 1405917423

Published:   January 15th 2015 by Penguin Books

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Gothic

Pages: 448

Source: I received my copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

My Rating: 3/5 stars

Description:

The Girl in the Photograph is a haunting and atmospheric novel that tells the tales of women in two different eras – the 1890’s and 1930’s – and how their lives seem to be entwined by fate. Kate Riordan’s novel is a beautifully dark and beguiling tale which will sweep you away. It will appeal to fans of Kate Morton and Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca.

My Thoughts:

‘The Girl in the Photograph’ by Kate Riordan began with great promise but I thought the pace a little bit too slow and that it wound up fizzling out a bit towards the end. The story is told by two women, Alice in 1933 and Elizabeth in 1898, who both live at the Gothic and secluded English country estate, Firecombe Manor. When Alice became pregnant to her married boyfriend her mother sent her away to stay with her childhood friend, Edith Jelphs, who works as a maid at Firecomb Manor.

Alice soon discovers Elizabeth’s old diaries and begins a quest to discover all of the mysteries that Firecombe Manor holds. Even though Edith worked for Elizabeth she is reluctant to speak about the past, so Alice is left to do most of the investigating on her own, with a bit of help from a local historian.

I particularly enjoyed the chapters of ‘The Girl in the Photograph’ which were told from Elizabeth’s perspective. They had a real mysterious and Gothic feel to them and I was really interested to find out what happened to her and her children. I did feel though that Alice’s chapters dragged on a  bit and that the ending was rather anticlimactic, but these are all very likely just a matter of my own personal preferences. The story was well written and the mysteries are subtly, although slowly, revealed in a way that will appeal to readers who enjoy Gothic mysteries.

The Girl in the Photograph was published in the USA under the title Firecombe Manor.

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