Rebecca’s Tale

   Posted by: Julia Redlich   in Quotes

Sally Beauman, Rebecca’s Tale. Little, Brown, 2001.  ISBN 0 316 858137

We all enjoy looking for references to Richard III in whatever we are reading.  I found another one in Sally Beauman’s novel Rebecca’s Tale, which is the second sequel to Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca telling us about what happened to the de Winters after Manderley goes up in flames.

The first sequel Mrs de Winter was fairly straightforward, but this one is written by four different characters, one of them Rebecca herself.  There’s a lot of delving into her very hidden past to discover what made her who she was.  In case you haven’t read it and would like to I won’t go into it all, but when she was a child she was involved, like her mother, with a B-grade theatre company and played roles like Puck, Macduff’s son and Edward V.  When she sees Manderley for the first time, still quite young, she writes in one of her notebooks:

I knew I’d come home.  This place was mine?  Could I wrest if from the de Winters’ hands?  That would be true revenge for all the injustice dealt out to Maman … I considered my erstwhile successes and stratagems … Clever deformed Richard III had been my favourite character and mentor.  At that moment, a very Crookback mood came upon me.  I thought to myself:  Can I do this and cannot get a crown? Tut! Were it further off, I’d pluck it down.

Shakespeare’s Richard again, but Sally Beauman must have recognised something in the Bard’s character to link him to Rebecca’s ambition.

A bit of trivia:  ages ago when we used to spend our summer holidays in the Snowy Mountains while the hoi polloi made use of “Our” Beach at Balmoral, we used to rent a house on a property above Lake Eucumbene (5 km and 6 cattle grids off a minor road).  On the way we used to pass a really run-down cottage with its name proudly displayed by the roadside “Manderley”.  Anything further from the de Winters’ stately home couldn’t be imagined and we always enjoyed a good laugh as we drove by.

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