The Winters by Lisa Gabriele

Posted On 13 November 2018

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Okay, Rebecca by Daphne duMaurier is one of my all time favourite reads.  I’ve read it many times and to be honest I like quite a number of her other books as well.  She has a magical ability with words, one that will charm and transport you and some of her stories are just so good.  Anyway, I’m not here to review those am I?  I just wanted to point out that the original story is special to me and so any sort of retelling has big boots to fill in fact I freely admit that I almost go into a book like this with negative emotions – kind of along the lines ‘how very dare you tamper with such a firm favourite’.

With that in mind, and although this is a retelling of sorts – it’s not the same as the original.  This is a more modern version and it has a different slant.  To be honest I enjoyed reading this for different reasons.  I liked all the references to the original, especially the way they’ve been tweaked, I thought the writing was really good and I just enjoyed the story, it’s easy to get along with and fast paced.  Rebecca this isn’t.  Then again does it need to be?  Here we have a similar story, similar characters and a unique new twist told with a modern voice and to be fair, whilst I may love the classics they’re not everyone’s cup of tea so I have to say bravo to Lisa Gabriele not only for taking me back down a storyline, albeit different, that I love, but for bringing it into the present era very successfully and maybe capturing a whole new audience.

In terms of the story.  The start is chillingly familiar, even the opening lines, though tweaked slightly, are enough to give you the chills “Last night Rebekah tried to murder me again.”  We follow a similar whirlwind romance between a gauche young woman and a sophisticated older man.   The unnamed woman has no family and lives something of a withdrawn lifestyle, beholden to the woman who employs her.  Max Winter lost his wife in a tragic accident, he resides in an impressive mansion reached only by a causeway.  Like the original Max he’s somewhat reflective or melancholy, unapproachable if you will, unlike the original this Max has a teenage daughter – Dani.  And there begins the start of the differences.  Dani is an out of control teenager.  Beautiful and a little bit caustic she does tend to make life difficult for those around her and so when she decides to help out with Max and his young bride’s future wedding arrangements then you better believe that things could go very wrong indeed.

My constant refrain with reviews at the moment seems to be ‘I don’t want to give away spoilers’ and even I’m getting bored of myself.  But, at the same time The Winters is another book that I don’t want to spoil so I’m not going to elaborate further on the plot but will keep this fairly short and sweet.  Other than to say I didn’t see the twist at the end – it will be interesting to see what Rebecca fans make of it – I have to say it took me completely by surprise but not in a bad way.

I had a good time reading this.  I loved the references to the original work, I really enjoyed the modern approach with the use of social media and the way Dani appears to be something of a bully who is able to smoothly manipulate Max’s young inexperienced wife.  I like that this newer tale tries to give the main character a little bit more agency – although not too much, after all, her gullibility and fear of not being accepted are what really help the plot in both stories.  And, I thought the ending was great for more reasons than one.

In terms of criticisms – the ending felt a little rushed.  Otherwise I don’t have anything else to throw into the pot.

Here we have a book with many similarities that I think is worth reading both for itself and also to see the new twists.  It’s not a retelling so much as a reimagined version and I think it brings a really good story to a whole new audience and that’s something that I have to applaud.  I’d like to think that there might be a few curious minds out there that will go and check out the original just on the strength of this book and with that in mind it makes a great conversation piece just observing the differences in opinion.

Okay, in conclusion, this might not be Rebecca but it’s a very easy to read and quite gripping tale and one that I think will hold quite a lot of appeal. I thought the author’s style was persuasive and runs a fine line between trying to maintain some of the original innocence whilst including more modern themes.

You’ll have to forgive me for saying that I prefer the original duMaurier story but I really do appreciate this author’s modern version of that classic and I hope this succeeds both on it’s own and also as a highlight and a means of inspiring others to read the original.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.


13 Responses to “The Winters by Lisa Gabriele”

  1. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    Interesting … I’ve not read Rebecca, so I would lose the impact of it being modernized. Sounds like maybe I should read Rebecca hearing how much you love it (and maybe this for a different take)

    • @lynnsbooks

      Oh yes, I can’t recommend Rebecca enough – but then I think duMaurier is the bomb.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Tammy

    I’ve read Rebecca and I remember loving it, but I don’t remember all the details. I would try this book, since I do love when authors use other books for inspiration. Also those covers are so pretty!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I think the details would all come back to you if you read this – it’s an intriguing take.
      Lynn 😀

  3. waytoofantasy

    Interesting. I love Rebecca as well, such a great book. A sort of retelling is intriguing to me. May have to put this on my list.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yes – you should give it a try. The author has put her own spin on it and brought it a little more uptodate. I thought it was an intriguing read that kept me hooked.
      Lynn 😀

  4. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    This sounds like a fascinating retelling, and one that even managed to surprise you despite your deep knowledge of the original material, which is quite unexpected.
    And now I’m very curious about it… 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      It goes off on a totally different tangent – and other than that – my lips are sealed.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I’m so glad to read a perspective from someone who not only loved the original, but for whom it was a favorite. I really liked this one, but of course not having read Rebecca, I really had no point of reference for whether or not it was a good retelling. I did know that the daughter was a completely new character though, and I think she added a great dynamic!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Well, the daughter is a new character, but also not a new character – she’s a retelling of a character and actually it’s one of the clever aspects of the story.
      Lynn 😀

  6. sjhigbee

    I loved the original and I will be getting hold of this series in due course, thanks to your excellent review, Lynn:)

    • @lynnsbooks

      I enjoyed this – the start really does stick to the original in many ways but then it goes in another direction completely and I loved the modern aspect.
      Lynn 😀

      • sjhigbee

        Hm. You’ve definitely convinced me:))

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