Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier is one of my favourite books. I just found out a couple of days ago that Susan Hill, another popular author, has written a ‘sequel’ to it, and yet I feel no urge whatsoever to pick it up, despite having also enjoyed some of Hill’s work. I suppose my love for the original is so strong, I don’t want to risk tarnishing its reputation in my own head, akin to the controversial and divisive reception many showed towards Jack Thorne’s recent contribution to the Harry Potter canon with The Cursed Child, which some adored for its return to the magical world we all know and love, but others denounced for not being penned by J.K. Rowling herself.
This situation isn’t unique. Authors have been writing spiritual sequels to classics for years (think Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre), whilst others have been picking up series where others left off (think James Bond and the Millennium saga).
It got me thinking though, as I also recently found out (via a post on Zuky’s blog) that there’s going to be a novelised version of Mary Rose, a play by J.M. Barrie which I both read and saw on stage earlier this year, and in contrast to Hill’s take on Rebecca, it made me feel excited, and I definitely plan to give it a go. I think the difference is that whilst I loved Rebecca and want it to be left alone, I enjoyed Mary Rose but felt it could have been developed a bit more or had a bit more impact, hence why I have high hopes for a full novelised version.
Apologies that this is all a bit of a ramble. I suppose I’m essentially just curious to know whether you would be excited to pick up another writer’s interpretation or continuation of one of your favourite stories, or whether your love and loyalty to the original would make you avoid it for fear of a beloved book being tainted.
Let’s chat about it in the comments! I’d love to know what you think.