Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. It did not impact my review or rating.
Spoilers about the book "Rebecca" by Daphne du Maurier are below.
Look there can only be one "Rebecca". This book is in on way or shape at the level of "Rebecca" on it's best day. The main character is insane. She also does very terrible things and is never caught. The voice of the main character feels older than what the book setting is. At one point I thought the book started in the 1950s or something, but no it seems to be in modern settings. The ending left me unsatisfied. If you are going to have me follow the ramblings of a Mrs. Danvers character, at least let some sort of comeuppance occur.
"The Beloveds" is just a long and overly tedious book into the mind of a psychopath (our main character is named Betty) who is obsessed with her family home. When her mother dies and leaves the home to her sister and her husband (Gloria and Henry Bygone) Betty plans ways in which to get the house she rightfully sees as her inheritance.
There's nothing to Betty besides being cruel and petty. You would think that people would see another side to her, but based on what we are given to glimpse as a reader, she seems to be either drunk on gin and or taking pills most of the time. Considering her supposed weight (and the book mentions how very little she eats these days), how she wasn't passed out in all times is baffling to me. Betty is obviously supposed to be a stand-in for Mrs. Danvers. But for me, Mrs. Danvers wasn't obsessive about Manderley, she was obsessive about Rebecca and keeping Manderley the way that Rebecca wanted it.
The other characters are not developed very well. Probably because Betty takes no notice of them except to rage about her sister being seen as a Beloved, and other people as Beloved (they can do no wrong and are perfect). There are hints here and there that the character of Gloria is becoming suspicious of her sister, but that's all there are, hints. She seems just as clueless as other people in this book.
Telling the book via first person POV was just a mistake. As a reader you don't have the chance to get away from Betty. You read about the terrible things she does (there's a comment made that you find out she murdered the family's pet when she was a child) and then you just keep reading about things she is doing/planning with no hint about it from other people. I just felt mentally exhausted by the time I got to the end of this book.
The flow was not that great. We just stumble from one of Betty's schemes to another with her comments about how the house was talking to her and how her sister was a beloved and she didn't see why. Somehow we skip ahead months and years in this book with no reference for it except a quick word here and there said. Since I got an advance copy, hopefully the final book has some chapter headings with month/year included.
The setting of this book mainly takes place at the family house in the country somewhere, not close to London, but in the general area. Sorry if I sound vague, but the author didn't really describe things in a way for me to get a sense of where this was besides somewhere in England. The house also doesn't even come alive for me the way in which Manderley does for me as a reader while reading "Rebecca". I still don't even get why Betty is obsessed with a house that doesn't seem to be anything special.
The ending was a disappointment. The author just sets up that more bad things are coming. Why this is marketed as a mystery astounds me. There is no mystery here.