This year marks the 80th anniversary of the publication of one of my favourite ever novels, Rebecca. Of COURSE I accepted when offered the chance to review a modern re-telling of the classic tale of what happens when you try and live up to someone else’s past. It’s Rebecca for the #MeToo age.
Our nameless narrator finds herself transported from a hardscrabble life on the Cayman Islands (it exists, apparently!) to becoming the wife of a New York Republican senator and stepmother to an Instagram addicted teen daughter, Dani. As she learns about the previous Mrs Winter, the narrator finds herself sucked into a dark, paranoid world- until she finally learns a horrific secret that threatens to blow her world apart. Was it really worth giving everything up?
That’s not to say that this is a straight re-telling; I felt that there was more of a feminine energy in The Winters and, whereas in Rebecca the femininity is more insidious and menacing, there is a difference here. The story also swerves in different directions to its source material- although there are some points readers of the original novel will recognise, it is its own story too.
As someone who sometimes struggles with reading re-tellings of stories I know well, I found The Winters engrossing and compelling reading and a novel that feels very modern.