Mrs. de Winter (1993), a novel by Susan Hill, is the sequel to the very famous book Rebecca. Rebeccas was written by Daphne DuMaurier and published in 1938.
This is a great stand-alone book. You don’t even have to read Rebecca to understand it.
Hill took on what must have seemed to many as an insurmountable job when she agreed to write the sequel to Rebecca. Rebecca, one of the greatest romantic novels ever written, would be a tough act to follow, but Hill did a marvelous job.
Mrs. de Winter continues the story of the new Mrs. de Winter, wife of Maxim de Winter, whose first wife Rebecca was found murdered. Maxim was not convicted of the crime, but left his much-loved England to live in exile where he met his new young wife. And he told her the truth of what actually happened. Or did he?
Poor Mrs. de Winter lives through this exile, and then is suddenly safely back in England, the England she loves, much as Maxim loves it. They are happy. They have found their little piece of England, colored all in green with the bright colors of the rainbow all around them. But their happiness is a strange happiness, maybe not happiness at all. But you be the judge. Could you live with someone you think is a murderer? Could you look upon him each day and not think of the horrible deed he had done? Maybe you could, maybe you couldn’t, but the new Mrs. de Winter gives it a good go until she is back where people can recognize them, people can whisper behind their backs. It would wear on anyone’s nerves, but this young girl gives it a good shot at trying to do just that. But, she really proceeds to dig her own grave with her anxiety, her need to hide the truth and to give in to the easy way out.
There really is no easy way for this young girl, married to the man of her dreams. Dreams or nightmares, you, as the reader, make that choice.
Hill did an outstanding job of continuing DuMaurier’s journey with Maxim. A gutsy move by Hill to take on this project, but she pulled it off magnificently.