Today I’m delighted to welcome contemporary women’s novelist & actress Jane Lambert, whose Porridge & Cream book is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”
When I was about fifteen my mum gave me a copy of her favourite book, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. It is my Porridge & Cream read and makes me think of her. The book opens in Monte Carlo, where the heroine (we never know her name) meets and marries widower Maxim de Winter after a whirlwind courtship. He whisks her away to Manderley, his Gothic mansion in Cornwall. The new bride soon discovers there are dark secrets lurking in Manderley and that the memory of the first Mrs de Winter, the beautiful and witty Rebecca, is very much alive. Maxim spends more and more time away on business, leaving the second Mrs de Winter alone with her insecurities and the creepy housekeeper, Mrs Danvers, who resents her taking the place of her adored Rebecca.
When the boat in which Rebecca supposedly drowned is raised, we learn that things are not as they seem: the perfect Rebecca was promiscuous and wicked and made Maxim’s life a misery, driving him to shoot her, disposing of her body on the boat and sinking it. Maxim confesses all to his new wife and she realises he was not in love with Rebecca after all, but with her. As he prepares to face his fate, it’s discovered Rebecca was dying of cancer and the judge rules a verdict of suicide.
As a shy, gauche teenager I identified with the second Mrs de Winter. The book taught me not to always take situations or people at face value, that being shy and quiet is not a sign of weakness and to always be true to yourself.
In 2005 I was part of a touring stage production adapted by Frank McGuinness, starring Nigel Havers as Maxim.”
About ‘Learning To Fly’ by Jane Lambert
Written while sitting in grotty digs and draughty theatre dressing rooms on tour, the book is best described as a romantic comedy of self-discovery. It follows the ups and downs of struggling 40-something actress Emily Forsyth as she juggles odd jobs (and some odd dates) with humiliating auditions; from performing Macbeth single-handedly at Scone Palace to chauffeuring the world’s top golfers at St Andrews – and getting hopelessly lost. The comedy aside, there is a serious message behind the book: you are never too old to have dreams and to never ever give up.
Jane Lambert’s Bio
Jane taught English in Vienna then travelled the world as cabin crew before making the life-changing (and slightly mad) decision to become an actress in her thirties. Her debut novel, Learning To Fly was written whilst on tour.
The sequel, Marriage, Mafia & Mozzarella is due to be published next year.
In 2017 Jane will be appearing in the new musical, The Girls written by Gary Barlow & Tim Firth.
What is a ‘Porridge & Cream’ book? It’s the book you turn to when you need a familiar read, when you are tired, ill, or out-of-sorts, where you know the story and love it. Where reading it is like slipping on your oldest, scruffiest slippers after walking for miles. Where does the name ‘Porridge & Cream’ come from? Cat Deerborn is a character in Susan Hill’s ‘Simon Serrailler’ detective series. Cat is a hard-worked GP, a widow with two children and she struggles from day-to-day. One night, after a particularly difficult day, she needs something familiar to read. From her bookshelf she selects ‘Love in A Cold Climate’ by Nancy Mitford. Do you have a favourite read which you return to again and again? If so, please send me a message via the contact form here.
‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier [UK: Virago Modern Classics]
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Why does @JaneLambert22 love REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier? #Porridge&Cream #books via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-2fY