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How Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca inspired Lisa Gabriele's romantic thriller The Winters

The Winters is a romantic thriller about wealth, infatuation and a past that haunts a young woman who moves into her fiancé's Long Island home after a short and fiery romance.
Lisa Gabriele is the author of The Winters. (Penguin Random House)
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Writer, producer and director Lisa Gabriele — best known for the S.E.C.R.E.T. trilogy — puts a modern spin on a classic work with The WintersIt's inspired by the bestselling 1938 gothic novel Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. 

The Winters is a romantic thriller about wealth, infatuation and a past that haunts a young woman who moves into her fiancé Max's ostentatious Long Island home after a short and fiery romance. 

It's complicated

"Growing up my family members were big readers, but we were poor. So we were taking regular visits to the library. Rebecca was my mother's favourite book and her favourite movie. I read the book in high school and watched the movie as a child growing up, over and over again.

"When you're a young woman reading a book like that, it's a marvellous thing to imagine being swept off your feet by a rich man and to be taken to a haunted mansion. I have had a long complicated and evolving relationship with Rebecca."

Character agency

"The idea for The Winters came around the autumn of 2016, a time that featured the dark days of the U.S. election and it seemed like things just weren't changing for women. We saw the defeat of Hillary Clinton, the rise of the #MeToo movement and we had this uneasy sense that we weren't making any progress in the world. I wanted to ensure my main character had a strong presence and was a strong woman. I had to get off Twitter and away from the news for a while.

"I started rewatching in my favourite old movies, including Rebecca, and just inflamed me all over again. I had this lightning bolt moment where I wanted to experiment with the idea of taking a young woman and put her through the wringer."

Lisa Gabriele's comments have been edited for length and clarity.