A is for “Alena”

This is my first post in the A to Z Challenge, my first A to Z Challenge.  My theme is Books I Have Read.

In December, 2015, I read “Alena” by  Rachel Pastan. (I know when I read it because since January 1994 I have been recording the books I read monthly.)  I read about the book on a blog I follow but, unfortunately, I cannot remember which blog.

This book is a reinvention of “Rebecca” by Daphne DuMaurier.  Instead of the heroine trying to fill Rebecca’s shoes as a wife to Max De Winter, we have our heroine, in the present day, trying to fill Alena’s role as curator of an art gallery.  But our narrator/ heroines are a lot alike in that they are both unsophisticated young girls, working for older, bossy women who only reinforce their feelings of inadequacy.  Our hero, Bernard,  in “Alena” does not ask the narrator to marry him but, instead, to run his art gallery. Bernard is actually gay so there is no romantic aspect to the novel.

This might have been an insipid copycat story but it is not. It is well written, and diverges enough from Rebecca to make us forget the original story.  If you have read “Rebecca” you might be tempted to compare the two. Anyone unfamiliar with DuMaurier’s book may enjoy it more.

 

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