Book Review: The Winters by Lisa Gabriele

I entered a draw to win an Arc of The Winters by Lisa Gabriela as the story sounded interesting. I was happy when I received the book in the mail. I loved the cover from the beginning and looked forward to reading the contents.

GenreThriller, suspense

Release date: 16 October 2018

Blurb: 

After a whirlwind romance, a young woman returns to the opulent, secluded Long Island mansion of her new fiancé Max Winter—a wealthy politician and recent widower—and a life of luxury she’s never known. But all is not as it appears at the Asherley estate. The house is steeped in the memory of Max’s beautiful first wife Rebekah, who haunts the young woman’s imagination and feeds her uncertainties, while his very alive teenage daughter Dani makes her life a living hell. She soon realizes there is no clear place for her in this twisted little family: Max and Dani circle each other like cats, a dynamic that both repels and fascinates her, and he harbors political ambitions with which he will allow no woman—alive or dead—to interfere.

As the soon-to-be second Mrs. Winter grows more in love with Max, and more afraid of Dani, she is drawn deeper into the family’s dark secrets—the kind of secrets that could kill her, too. The Winters is a riveting story about what happens when a family’s ghosts resurface and threaten to upend everything.

My thoughts: 

The novel is written in the first person and is told from the perspective of the soon-to-be Mrs Winter. We experience her uncertainties and read about her changing her judgements on the new people in her life. Her vacillations are authentic as they remind me of the many times I have had to run through my judgements in my head. As I was reading this well written novel, I could relate to some of the experiences of the main protagonist: being a second wife, taking on a stepchild, moving into a home that has already been established. With her words, the author accurately reflects the tension that would arise with a new person coming into an established home.

As I was reading this novel, I thought that it had been labelled incorrectly as a thriller. Instead it read like contemporary women’s fiction. The issues hinted at are experienced by many women the world over – the drama of a stepmother arriving to create a second family. So I was taken by surprise when the element of suspense was introduced after I had read more than half the novel. I loved how the writer surprised me. I loved how I was taken completely unawares. I loved how the novel moved towards the unexpected.

The Winters is a story that may seem mundane but has the unexpected weaved into it. It is a novel that brilliantly describes how strong a woman can be if she needs to be. It is a novel that makes us question the validity of what a person allows the public to see. It is a novel with a few unexpected twists that will leave the reader eagerly reading until the last page.

I enjoyed reading this novel and recommend it if your enjoy reading both thrillers and contemporary fiction.

I give this novel ⭐⭐⭐⭐  4 stars.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This novel was the 62nd in my 50 book pledge for 2018)

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8 thoughts on “Book Review: The Winters by Lisa Gabriele

  1. I can’t imagine an author getting away with writing and publishing this story when the copyright for Daphne Du Maurier’s novel “Rebecca” has not expired yet. Du Maurier’s story about Maxim DeWinter taking his new bride — Mrs. De Winter — to his home — Manderly — where his former wife Rebecca had lived and still seems to have influence — and all of the sadness and tragedy that ensue afterwards — sounds like an almost identical story. The only addition is the daughter. Does the introduction to the book indicate that the story is a legitimate attempt — with permission — at re–writing the classic Du Maurier novel? If not, I’m surprised this author is getting away with such a blatant abuse of someone else’s creative work. I can understand using a classic story line and theme for a new novel. After all, most human stories have been written at one time or another over the centuries, and all writers eventually write about similar life situations. But to so blatantly use names of people and places that are intentional references to the originals and to set the story up with such exact copied details seems a sad kind of thing to do if one wants to be considered a writer with any originality and any professional integrity. Maybe I’m missing something here, but I’ll be very surprised if this author doesn’t hear from the people in Du Maurier’s family who currently hold her copyright.

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    1. As this is an ARC, I am unable to say whether there would be an acknowledgement of some sort. It is unfortunate that many modern readers, like me, would not have read or heard of Du Maurier’s story. Thank you for sharing this Sandra.
      By the way, how does Du Maurier’s novel end?

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      1. The novel has actually become a classic and has been read by every generation since it was written. The movie is also a classic and is still sought out as, supposedly, one of the best of it’s kind for the sense of mystery and tragedy that it portrays. Personally, I don’t like the story, but I use parts of it in my creative writing classes because of the excellent job of describing setting and using setting to create so much of the mood and suspense of the story. In the end, the two main characters are returning to Manderley after a trip that they fear will reveal the fact that Mr. DeWinter actually murdered his wife. He did kill her, but that fact is never proven, and they return home, only to discover that the entire mansion is engulfed in flames. The movie ends a little differently, but with the same results. Here’s a link to a version of the movie on YouTube if you’re interested.

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        1. When I say De Winter killed “his wife,” I mean his first wife — Rebecca. She was a hateful, wicked, unfaithful woman, and had just learned she was dying, so she actually pushed him to the point of killing her. This new novel may not have the same kind of ending, but I’m just wondering about such an obvious use of the character’s names and relationships, as well as mimicking the setting and conflicts in the home. I can’t imagine an author doing that rather than writing her own story with her own individual characters and setting rather than trying to usurp another author’s creative work. Of course, she may have obtained permission from the copyright holder to do a reprise of the story in a more modern time period, and that would be another situation. That’s why I asked if you knew about any kind of introduction that might explain it.

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          1. It is something I will look at when the book is published.
            When I looked at the description on Goodreads, I read this: “Inspired by the classic novel Rebecca, The Winters is a riveting story about what happens when a family’s ghosts resurface and threaten to upend everything.” In addition, many of the comments made by readers have mentioned the same thing as you.
            I will now definitely have a look at the acknowledgements page when the final copy is sold in the bookstores!

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