"From the brilliant first line to the shattering conclusion, The Winters will draw you in and leave you breathless. . . . A must read." --Liv Constantine, author of The Last Mrs. Parrish
A spellbindingly suspenseful new novel set in the moneyed world of the Hamptons, about secrets that refuse to remain buried and consequences that can't be escaped.
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.
About the author
LISA GABRIELE is the author of Tempting Faith DiNapoli and The Almost Archer Sisters, and is an award-winning TV producer, writer and director. Her writing has appeared in Vice, Nerve, New York Magazine, The Washington Post,The New York Times Magazine,The Globe and Mail, National Post, Elle and Glamour. Her essays have appeared in several anthologies, including The Best American Non-Required Reading. She's also the author of the internationally bestselling S.E.C.R.E.T. trilogy, under the pseudonym L. Marie Adeline, a series that's been published in more than 30 countries.
Excerpt: The Winters (by (author) Lisa Gabriele)
Last night Rebekah tried to murder me again. It had been a while since I'd had that dream, not since we left Asherley, a place I called home for one winter and the bitterest part of spring, the dream only ever recurring when Max was gone and I'd find myself alone with Dani.
As always, the dream begins with Asherley in the distance, shining from afar in a bright clearing. There is no greenhouse, nor boathouse, just a stand of red canoes stabbed into the pebbly beach. In fact, the Asherley of my dream looks more like it might have back in its whaling days, when from the highest turret you could still spot tall ships dotting Gardiners Bay.
Overpowered by the urge to be inside the house again, I pass easily through the thicket of forest that surrounds the property. I want so badly to wander its wood-paneled halls, to feel its plush red carpets beneath my bare feet, to move my fingers in the play of sun through the stained-glass windows, but an invisible force keeps me out. I'm relegated to the bay, where I float like a sad specter, made to watch those who still haunt Asherley act out the same strange pantomime.
I can see Max, my Max, relaxing on an Adirondack, one in a line like white teeth dotting the silvery-green lawn. He's reading a newspaper, framed by the majestic spread of Asherley behind him, its walls of gray stones, its crowd of terra-cotta peaks, its dentils studded with carved rosettes, anchored by the heavy brow of its deep stone porch. Every lamp in every room of the house is lit. A fire roars in every fireplace. The circle of windows at the top of the high turret burns like a sentinel over the bay, as though the house were about to put on a great show for me.
I call for Max but he can't hear me. I want to go to him, to touch his face, to smell his hair, to fit my shoulder under his arm, our sides pressed together. My throat feels strangled with that longing.
On cue, she strides out the back door, carefully balancing a tray of lemonade. She's wearing a white lace dress with a red sash, her blond hair glinting in the sun, her face so eerily symmetrical she'd almost be odd-looking except for the singular perfection of each and every one of her features. Here is Rebekah making her way down to Max, changing her gait to accommodate the steep slope of the back lawn. Now Dani bolts from the house behind her, laughing, her chubby legs charging straight for the water and for me. She's three, maybe four, her hair, far too long for a child, is the same white blond as her mother's. I often wish I could have met Dani when she was this young and unformed. Things might have been very different between us.
My body instinctively thrusts forward to catch the girl, to prevent her from running too far into the bay and drowning.
Rebekah yells, "Be careful, sweetheart," which Max repeats. She puts the tray down. From behind, she wraps her arms around Max's shoulders and warmly kisses his neck. He places a reassuring hand on her forearm. They both watch as Dani splashes in the shallow water, screaming and laughing, calling, "Look at me, I can swim."
Then, as she always does in the dream, Rebekah becomes the only one who spots me bobbing in the bay, too near her daughter for her liking. She straightens up and walks towards the water, stalking me like a lion not wanting to disturb its prey. Still in her dress, she wades into the water, moving past a frolicking, oblivious Dani, until we are finally face-to-face. Her eyes narrow, forming that familiar dimple over her left brow.
I try to flee but my legs are useless.
"Who are you?" she asks. "You don't belong here."
Rebekah's mouth is close enough to kiss, a woman I'd seen in hundreds of photos, whose every contour I'd memorized, whose every expression I'd studied and sometimes unconsciously mimicked in my darker days, when my obsession was most acute and I had no idea how to live at Asherley, how to be a wife to Max, or a friend to Dani.
"I do belong here. She needs me," I say, pointing to Dani, my impudence surprising even me. I try to move but my feet are rooted in the sand below, arms floating beside me like weeds.
"She doesn't need you," Rebekah says, placing her hands on my shoulders in a reassuring manner. "She needs her mother."
Then she rears back slightly. Using all of her weight, Rebekah shoves me under the waves with a sudden violence, flooding my vision with air bubbles. I fight for the surface, to scream for Max to help me, but she's stronger than me, her hands a vise on my shoulders, her arms steely and rigid. In my dream, she's not angry. Rebekah kills me slowly and methodically, not with hate or fear. She's being practical. I am channeling vital resources away from her, rerouting Dani's feelings, altering Max's fate. My murder is conducted with dispassion and efficiency. And though I don't want to die, I can't imagine going on like this either, careful of my every move, looking over my shoulder, afraid to touch anything, break anything, love anything, worried his past will surface again and ruin what I've worked so hard for, what we've worked so hard for. Her task complete, my body painlessly dissolves into the waves and I disappear. I am dead and made of nothing. I am gone.
I woke up gasping for air, my hand at my throat. I kept reminding myself that everything is okay, we are okay, that we are alive and she is dead, cursing the fact that the dream had followed us here, our last stop, I hoped, for a good long while.
My back ached when I stretched that morning, unfamiliar beds the only downside to our decision to travel for the rest of the year to shake loose the recent tragedies. We found it helped to establish a routine. I would get up first and make us breakfast, for we only stayed in places with kitchens, a homemade meal the best way to start our wide-open days. We tried not to think too much about the past, about Asherley. It was gone, along with all of its secrets. We were building new memories, creating new stories, ones we might find ourselves telling new friends one day, finishing each other's sentences, saying, No, you go, you tell it. No, you-you tell it better.
Mostly our days were languid; sometimes I'd plan a museum tour or we'd take a long drive past ruins. Our nights were spent reading rather than watching TV, sharing the couch even if armchairs were available, our toes gently touching. There were few conflicts, though I was no longer naive enough to believe two people as different as we were, who'd spent as much time together as we had, would never bicker. But the truth was we were still getting to know each other.
Waiting for the omelet to thicken, I poked my head into the bedroom, resisting the urge to caress that thatch of dark hair that I had come to love in a quiet, calm way, a marked difference from how I loved just a short while ago. Hard to believe it had been less than a year since I'd met Max Winter, a man whose love seized me by the shoulders and shook me out of a state of dormancy, and who ushered in another emotion I had yet to meet in my young life: jealousy, the kind that grows like kudzu, vining around the heart, squeezing all the air out, fusing with my thoughts and dreams, so that by the time I understood what was happening to me it was almost too late.
I carefully closed the bedroom door, padded across the cool tile floors of the living area, with its dark armoires and overstuffed armchairs, and threw open the musty blackout curtains. I stepped barefoot onto the hot stone terrace, the sun so bright it hurt my eyes. In the distance, warm air steamed off the sea. From below, I could hear the Spanish-speaking shopkeepers already arguing over sidewalk space, and I was gut-punched by long-ago memories of a mother who sang to me in her mother's language and a father with sunburned shoulders, pulling fish out of the sea, their silver bodies violently jackknifing on the scarred deck of the boat we once lived on, our sleeping quarters the size of the smallest pantry you could find at Asherley. I could have fainted from an old grief. Here they were again, coming at me from afar, watery mirages of the people who once loved me, and I them, their long shadows cast by a low morning sun.
Shortlisted for the 2019 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel
A BuzzFeed Best Book of 2018
"A stylish, highly original and completely addictive take on du Maurier's Rebecca. Read it!" —Shari Lapena, New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door
"Gabriele's novel has within it all of the components that have kept readers enthralled by Rebecca all these years: a fascinating narrator, a darkly alluring setting, a glut of thrilling secrets, and gorgeously lyrical prose describing each moment of mounting tension. . . . A bewitching novel about love, lies and the ghosts that never leave us alone, The Winters is a masterful retelling of an old favorite that has enough surprises to keep readers hooked." —Bustle
"'Last night Rebekah tried to murder me again.' With that close echo of one of the most famous opening lines in literature, Gabriele pulls back the curtain on her update of Daphne Du Maurier's 1938 classic, Rebecca." —Kirkus Reviews
"The Winters is inspired by the classic Daphne du Maurier novel Rebecca, but it is thoroughly updated for our times and offers new surprises that you won't see coming." —PopSugar
"Gabriele's chutzpah in reinventing a much-loved novel brings considerale risk, but the results are satisfying, both as metafiction and as a sharp exercise in psychological suspense." —The Guardian (UK)
"[A] creepy, atmospheric homage to Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. . . . Gabriele keeps the tension high up to the surprising and satisfying final twist. Du Maurier fans will be pleased." —Publishers Weekly
"It's as beautifully written as it is (re)plotted and the updating of the characters is superb. Fabulous—and not just for Rebecca fans." —The Daily Mail (UK)
"This update to Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca . . . offers a compelling, twisty feminist tale. . . . Pungent, pacy, familiar, yet with its own surprises." —The Times (UK)
"Spellbinding and eerie. . . . A riveting, breaktaking page-turner." —Woman's World
"The Winters is typical of Gabriele's ability to write breezy stories about complex young women, and their relationships with each other, without being overly cerebral or serious. It's light but absorbing—the best kind of chick lit." —NOW (Toronto)
"[A] haunting reimagining of Daphne Du Maurier's original thriller, Rebecca. . . . This retelling. . . retains the allure and gothic tone of the original, while remaining a page-turner for newcomers to the story." —Booklist
"Thrilling." —Southern Living
"From the brilliant first line to the shattering conclusion, The Winters will draw you in and leave you breathless. Gorgeous prose, well-drawn characters and a spellbinding story make this a must read." —Liv Constantine, bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish
"The Winters echoes the classic Rebecca, but is a beautifully crafted, haunting thriller of its own that defies expectations at every turn. I read straight through, breathless to the killer final pages. A brilliant achievement." —Sarah Pinborough, New York Times bestselling author of Behind Her Eyes
"A sharp and wickedly vivid novel—Lisa Gabriele spins a tight, gasping mystery from the confines of a picturesque home. The Winters is both a gripping thriller and an acute story of female resilience." —Danya Kukafka, author of Girl in Snow
"Jaw-dropping page turner and artful homage, The Winters is the rare thriller that's as smart as it is sexy—Lisa Gabriele's forte. The unnamed main character will break your heart and send your spirit soaring. I loved this book." —Katrina Onstad, bestselling author of Everybody Has Everything
"A slow tease that builds to a surprising and satisfying climax." —Joy Fielding, bestselling author of The Bad Daughter
"The Winters is a clever, tense, atmospheric story that kept me gripped throughout. It's a wonderful tribute to one of my all-time favourite books, Rebecca. I couldn't put it down!" —Jo Jakeman, author of Sticks and Stones
"The Winters is the most spellbinding book I've read this year! And certainly the most elegantly written. I loved it. What an exceptional, feminist piece of work." —Ingrid Alexander, author of The New Girl
"It's not just a brilliantly well-told story, it is the perfect modern, feminist retelling. . . . I really loved it and devoured it in two days. . . . Everyone should go out and buy it!" —Araminta Hall, author of Our Kind of Cruelty, via Twitter