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Rebecca's Tale by Sally Beauman
Have you ever loved a book so much that you didn't want it to end, that you wanted to know more about the people, how it all began and what happened after? If this book was "Rebecca" by Daphne du Maurier, then this is it: "Rebecca's tale" is more, much more. I haven't read both books back to back, so cannot actually compare, but right now I'd say "Rebecca's tale" is not just more, much more, but also better! I'm going to award it a 10 out of 10.

I'm amazed how the author has analyzed all that happens in "Rebecca" and used it to create this wonderful prequel cum sequel. A lot of questions remained unanswered in the original book, especially for those people who hadn't heard Maxim's confession to the second Mrs. de Winter. Through her we felt Maxim was a "hero", but was he really such a good person deserving of her love? And Rebecca, was she really wicked, deserving to die, as we're led to believe? Who was Rebecca?
This book will tell you. The answers you wanted after reading "Rebecca" will be given, although "Rebecca's Tale" raises a few new questions, which will not all be resolved. Which doesn't matter, because that's how life is. Just like nobody can be perfect; all people have flaws. Maxim, Rebecca and even the second Mrs. de Winter.

The book starts on the 20th anniversary of Rebecca's death, written in first person by Colonel Julyan. He has always felt guilty for not pursuing the investigation into Rebecca's death after their visit to Dr. Baker. Of late he has been dreaming about it. The book starts with the same line "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again". It takes a while for the unsuspecting reader to realize who the "I" is. The colonel is 72 now, has suffered a heart attack already, and realizes that now is the time to set things straight. He enlists the help (or vice versa) of a young man who has been investigating on his own for motives he keeps to himself. He is the second person who will take the first person role. Their research is helped a lot when someone starts sending them objects from those long gone days, one of these is a journal kept by Rebecca herself. So yes, the third person who will speak to us is Rebecca. I was almost moved to tears while reading her story. She was a mysterious and intriguing person in "Rebecca" and while we learn so much more about her in "Rebecca's Tale" she remains one of the most interesting characters ever. She was charming, beautiful, clever, witty, strong-minded, certainly flawed and perhaps indeed wicked. But I love her.
The fourth and final person to take over the story is the colonel's daughter. She will decide the course of her life based on what she has learned from Rebecca's tale.

We get to visit Manderley several times, still impressive even though it's one big overgrown ruin now. The house, the woods, the sea, the ghosts, all create a gothic-worthy atmosphere.

Sally Beauman writes beautifully; she doesn't need many words to picture the surroundings, the people, their expressions, their feelings so it's like you really are there to experience everything yourself. It doesn't feel like fiction anymore, it's a true story.

My hat is off and I bow deeply. Bravissimo.

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