When you mention a gothic romance and a dark romance tale I’ll admit, I’m already hooked. The novel “Rebecca” By the same author may be one of my favorite stories so I was happy to read this one. This book is certainly not that good. Sadly.
The narrator of the story is a young man, Philip Ashley who is raised since his childhood by a man who hated women openly all his life. When Philip was older his guardian left him alone on his estate, went abroad (to Italy), where he fell in love with a woman, got married and…died. Philip is left to face his widow, the mysterious Rachel.
Now, maybe it’s because I’ve read many stories with similar plots and twists, but I’m pretty sure almost everyone will have the same impression that I did. Ambrose, Philip’s cousin sends many letters home, revealing that he’s scarred of his wife. Then he dies. Of course, you know that Philip will now have to figure out if Rachel had anything to do with the murder but for a story of mystery and suspense…This was really really simple.
First you have the letters which are the obvious proof that Ambrose’s sudden illness must have had a cause. Then we meet Rachel, who is a seductress since the first time she speaks (she kisses Philip very soon). She is also very good with plants and making medicine and it’s mentioned a couple of times too. All the while you hope that the writer will leave something unsaid, an incredible plot twist that will make reading this (pretty short) story worth your while. That never happens. Rachel really is what she seems like from the beginning.
Was this supposed to be about what happens to men who don’t like women? Hardly. if that was the case you’d have some compassion for Rachel even after everything she’s done. In the end you have only little sympathy for the narrator who was actually the most clueless men ever. Was that the point? If you only live with one misogynist all your life you’ll be clueless for everything in your life? And somehow one terrible woman will justify you becoming the same misogynist?
I had that horrible feeling that I’m reading a really lazy writing from the beginning but I’ll still read another works from this writer, if only for “Rebecca”.
In the end, I must say I really look forward to the movie adaptation of this novel, set for this year. I guess the story can translate better to movie script, especially because the actors chosen look very promising.