The Winters, by Lisa Gabriele, follows the story of a young woman with a troubled past as she moves through different chapters of her life. The story is first introduced with how she came to meet Max Winter – the older, sophisticated, not to mention insanely rich and attractive politician – who inevitably steals her heart.
Pulled from the life she has always known, the young woman is dropped in over her head in a world she doesn’t understand. To make matters worse, she constantly feels like she’s in the shadow of Max’s deceased wife Rebecca, who haunts her dreams and seems to be tormenting the young woman’s sanity. If that’s not enough, she also has to understand and tolerate Max’s teenage daughter – who is only a few years shy of the main character’s age.
This novel, although strong in language, flow, and structure, was a little far-fetched in terms of its story line. Modelled from Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, The Winters lacked the mysterious allure of the romantic lifestyle and characters of the original novel. However, having said that, Rebecca is historical fiction, and it’s easy to imagine anything from a past century being more exotically romantic – even if it’s not.
Gabriele does a wonderful job of adapting the tale to a modern setting and it is still enjoyable to read. When initially reading the first few chapters, I was under the impression that it would be a whimsical romance full of true love, impossibly unbelievable scenarios, and money that most people wouldn’t be able to relate to. Although there is money, and although there is true love, this novel took me by surprise. Led under the impression that it would be cliché, unrelatable and borderline stereotypical, I was surprised to find that this was not the case.
It was only as I was finishing the book that I came to realise that the main character doesn’t even have a name. Perhaps this is to make her seem more accessible; that she could be any one of us. It worked. Her lack of identity made her a malleable character that you could imagine in whatever way you liked, whilst still maintaining a strong personality.
Gabriele’s adaptation of Du Maurier’s idea is fresh and modern, and though a brooding tale, a light read for the summer months.
Reviewed by Phoebe Christofi
Rating out of 10: 7
Distributed by: Penguin Random House Australia
Released: October 2018
RRP: $32.99 trade paperback,