Source: Netgalley review copy
Publication: November 18th 2018 from Harvill Secker
After a whirlwind romance, a young woman returns to the opulent, secluded mansion of her new fiancé Max Winter – a wealthy senator 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. 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.
Yes, this blurb is indeed reminiscent of one of the greatest stories ever written, Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca. Deliberately so, for The Winters is a contemporary re-imagining of this classic psychological thriller. Though it stands in its own right, the author has liberally borrowed from the plot to create an American version with similarities, but many differences, too.
Wealthy New York Senator, Max Winter is in the Cayman Islands when he meets a naïve young woman working in the marina where he hires his yachts for fishing trips. Max Winter is a widower with a teenage daughter and soon our lonely Cinderella is caught headlong in a whirlwind romance as he sweeps her off her feet.
Soon they are engaged to be married and he takes her back to Asherley, his ancient family mansion in the Hamptons.
Such grandeur is alien to our Cinderella and she soon finds that the presence of Max’s deceased first wife, Rebekah, looms large in the mansion, from her photographs everywhere to the top floor of the grand house which is where she had her quarters and which remain as they were when she was alive.
As if that were not enough, Max’s daughter Dani, seems to be going through a mega teenage rebellion and is both difficult and resentful towards the bride to be. Full of unsuppressed rage and dark as the solitary nights at Asherley, Dani is a whirlwind of emotions all of which are directed at our protagonist, leaving her feeling emotionally bruised.
A story of family secrets, obsession and lies, this is a light and entertaining reworking of the original story with some very different plot twists and a huge helping of dark and brooding menace.
Verdict: It’s not the original, but it’s entertaining enough and a fast paced read.
About Lisa Gabriele
Lisa Gabriele is a Canadian novelist, television producer and journalist. She was the show runner for Dragons’ Den from 2006-2012. Gabriele is the author of Tempting Faith Di Napoli and The Almost Archer Sisters, both national bestsellers. ‘Tempting Faith Di Napoli’ will be developed as a TV series by Insight Productions. Her novel, The Winters, a re-imagining of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, was published in Canada and the U.S. in the fall of 2018.