Monday, January 14, 2019

The Winters - Lisa Gabriele

Summary: Inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, a spellbindingly suspenseful novel set in the moneyed world of the Hamptons, about secrets that refuse to remain buried and consequences that can’t be escaped

After a whirlwind romance, a young woman returns to the opulent, secluded Long Island mansion of her new fiancé Max Winter—a wealthy politician and recent widower—and a life of luxury she’s never known. But all is not as it appears at the Asherley estate. The house is steeped in the memory of Max’s beautiful first wife Rebekah, who haunts the young woman’s imagination and feeds her uncertainties, while his very alive teenage daughter Dani makes her life a living hell. She soon realizes there is no clear place for her in this twisted little family: Max and Dani circle each other like cats, a dynamic that both repels and fascinates her, and he harbors political ambitions with which he will allow no woman—alive or dead—to interfere.

As the soon-to-be second Mrs. Winter grows more in love with Max, and more afraid of Dani, she is drawn deeper into the family’s dark secrets—the kind of secrets that could kill her, too. The Winters is a riveting story about what happens when a family’s ghosts resurface and threaten to upend everything. (Summary and pic from goodreads.com)

My Review: I was immediately interested in this book because I loved Rebecca, and it is a retelling of that story. I don’t know if you’ve read Rebecca, but if you haven’t, you should. It’s so creepy and well-written and well-told. I first read it when I was a very young high schooler, maybe even junior high, and it was a completely different book to me than when I read it as an adult. I really enjoyed it both times. I had hoped for that experience with this book. I have read another retelling of Rebecca in the past, as well as the sequel to the original (not written by du Maurier), so I have read quite a few retellings and feel like although I may enjoy the books on their own merits, there is nothing that can beat the original. This book was no exception.

There were some things I really liked about this book—it definitely had some of its own story and charm that separated it from the original story. The introduction of the male protagonist having a daughter was a nice addition, and she provided for some good tension and misunderstanding. It was a natural fit for a second-marriage-with-problems kind of situation. Also, the female protagonist was a lot younger, and that gave her a naiveté that was also interesting. She was not to be underestimated, however, and she had some wiliness that also added to the story.

The house, of course, is also a great character in Rebecca. This house definitely has some interesting things about it, but it wasn’t the same creepy old mansion I imagined in the original story. To be fair, that one would be hard to beat.

In the end, I just don’t think the storytelling was as good, nor the story as compelling. The ending was interesting, but wasn’t as shocking as I think the author thought it would be. It definitely had some shocking and maybe surprising elements, but it just can’t compete with the original. I also found the female protagonist (who is unnamed, which is interesting) to be weak at times, which is fine, but it seemed out of character. She was a strong and independent person who had lived on her own for a long time, and so when she would react in ways that made her look weaker than I think she really was, it felt contrived. I also hate love stories that make the woman look like an idiot around the man, especially if it seems out of character for the woman before the man came around.

However, if you liked Rebecca, I think you should check out this book. Everybody has something they like about the classics, and this book may capture some of that for you. Also, if you are into romance and love stories, this might be a book you enjoy.

My Rating: 3 Stars

For the sensitive reader: There is language, sex, and some violence in this book. Still, I would say it’s PG rated.

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