Mrs de Winter is a sequel of sorts to Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. For anyone who is new around here – Rebecca is my most beloved book and du Maurier probably my favourite author. Reading this sequel written by Susan Hill was pretty much predetermined to disappoint me and, honestly, I wasn’t wrong. This book was one I purchased at my favourite bookshop after the manager pointed it out to me, I can’t ever say no to one she recommends, so I’m sad this disappointed me.
I will start with the pros. The premise was good, I quite liked the premise. Susan Hill also has very fluid language that actually compliments du Maurier’s, generally the prose and scene setting was beautiful and rich in description. In that respect it was a fantastic companion piece. Also, many thanks to her for NOT naming the second Mrs de Winter and having her remain under that name. I think she gets a star for that in fairness.
However, I don’t feel this was a good book. Not in any stretch of the word. I don’t feel that the characters were the people we ended with in du Maurier’s novel – Mrs de Winter who, in the original novel, became a strong, feisty woman reverts back to the drippy 19/20 year old we first met in Monte Carlo under Susan Hill’s writing. Maxim becomes a drip too, I just don’t understand that! I really don’t think this is the after-story I had in mind for them. Yes, the revelation about Maxim and Rebecca in Rebecca is something that changes your life BUT this is not the life I could see it resulting as.
As a result this is, sadly, a 2* book. I really didn’t like it and the only reason I finished it was I was on a long bus journey and had no other source of reading and completed it out of sheer boredom. Saying that, I am glad I read it as Susan Hill IS a good author, she should just not have attempted this ‘sequel’! The 1* comes primarily for her vivid descriptions of countryside and the sheer audacity for her to attempt such a feat, sadly it didn’t work for me!