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Books Like Rebecca: Gothic Paradise

Jane Howarth itcher‘The Thirteenth Tale’ and ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’ are two very different novels, each capturing a piece of ‘Rebecca’’s spirit.  One is a contemporary gothic novel, the other a mid-century suspense thriller, and I hope you’ll fall for both of them. ~ Jane Howarth

Sometimes described as the supernatural explained, for obvious reasons, du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’ shows us ghosts of the past that feel every bit as sinister as the transparent, floating variety.Shady first wife?  Creepy housekeeper?  Vast mausoleum of a house?

All present and correct – gothic paradise!

There are some great gothic classics out there you’ll love, but that’s a story for another time.  You can catch more about Jane Eyre and more right here on itcher.

Let’s find something new today.

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Two Great Books for Daphne Du Maurier Fans to Try

You’ll love books like ‘My Cousin Rachel’ and ‘Jamaica Inn’ – but you’re already on the du Maurier trail. So I’ve raided the bookshelf to find two of my favourite follow-on novels you might not have picked up yet.

In these books similar to ‘Rebecca’ Daphne du Maurier’s influence lives on – expect plenty suspense, psychological drama and a mystery or two.

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‘The Thirteenth Tale’ (Diane Setterfield, 2006)
The Thirteenth Tale´ (Diane Setterfield
Image source: What’s Novel about Novels?

One of the central characters falls victim to the ‘bookish type’ trope pretty early on, while the other goes by the pen name Vida Winter. A du Maurier< fan, perhaps? I know what you’re thinking, this doesn’t sound like a great start. Stay with me! I kept reading and realised it was a great contemporary gothic addition to my bookshelf. If 'Rebecca' is a love letter to du Maurier’s much-loved Cornwall written while unhappily living in Cairo, ‘The Thirteenth Tale’ is a love letter to the lost worlds hidden inside books.

Margaret Lea is commissioned to write the biography of a celebrated, but pretty spiky, author who lives in a “Manderley” style mansion.

Unfortunately, the writer is not the least bit interested in handing over the most interesting piece of the puzzle -the thirteenth tale removed from an anthology decades ago and never heard of again.

Through a series of flashbacks, forgotten stories spill out of the past, so we see their impact on the future and relive them too.

If you like ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier, Setterfield’s book is a great substitute thanks to lots of little unnerving, sometimes claustrophobia-inducing details that stack up to a ‘Rebecca’-worthy total.

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‘The Talented Mr Ripley’ (Patricia Highsmith, 1955)
Image source: amazon

Prepare to spend a lot of this book yelling at the pages – the main character does some pretty awful things, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll be torn between basic moral standards and literary Stockhold syndrome.

Catch him, this is your chance!  Think of something, or they’ll catch you!

Conman Ripley falls in love, kills the guy in a fit of panic and does the only logical thing – impersonate his life.

The circumstances are very different, but I can’t help feeling that Mrs Danvers takes the narrator of ‘Rebecca’ for a Ripley style imposter.

This novel’s backdrop of Italian towns and coasts might make a change from Cornwall, but they share in more in common than you’d imagine (I’ll let you find out the details for yourself).

So, it’s not a gothic novel but it definitely related to that other, colder side of ‘Rebecca’ – plenty suspense, people fitting themselves into strange situations and a story that’s hard to predict.  I think you’ll like it.

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Know any Great Books Similar to ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier?

Temped to find out just what Ripley’s up to?  And what did that thirteenth tale contain?You’ll have to read the books to find out!

Do you know a great book with a resident Mrs Danvers lurking between the pages, or maybe you’ve found the perfect gothic fiction or suspense novel?

Let’s hear all about it!

 

Hi, I’m Jane, BA (Drama, Film and TV) and MA (Cultural and Creative Industries). When I’m not writing about creative things, I’m designing or planning them. If you’re brave enough to risk an avalanche, look behind the stacks of books and DVDs and you’ll find me balancing a cup of tea, a handful of knitting and a cupcake.
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