Rebecca's Tale, by Sally Beauman. Morrow. 448 pages...

Book Brief

October 14, 2001|By Susan Hall-Balduf | By Susan Hall-Balduf,Knight Ridder Newspapers

Rebecca's Tale, by Sally Beauman. Morrow. 448 pages. $25.

I never loved Rebecca. I hated her! OK, so that's a quote from Maxim, bereaved husband of the enigmatic and deceased title character in Daphne du Maurier's suspense classic. It's still true.

In my view of marriage, when you wake up with someone who doesn't quite suit, you adjust. Unlike Rebecca, you don't take up with multiple lovers and practice depravity with your cousin and mock your friends behind their backs and goad your husband into shooting you by telling him outrageous lies. I hated Rebecca.

And I'm happy to say that Sally Beauman's sequel, Rebecca's Tale, does not change my mind. Much.

Sequels, even by the original authors, can be terrible mistakes. But Rebecca's Tale is true to the original and enhances it. If you've never read Rebecca, Beauman's book is still a cracking good read. If you've read Rebecca and loved it, Beauman just brings it to more colorful life.

Rebecca appears in journal entries. She gets a chance to defend herself, yes, but Beauman explains her actions without entirely justifying them. She gives Rebecca reasons, but no excuses. Our lady is still a selfish, manipulative liar.

More touching than creepy, Rebecca's Tale is a great story.

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