By Rachel Pastan
Riverhead. 2013. 320 pgs.
This book was supposed to really give fans of Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca something new to enjoy in comparison. I read Rebecca a long time ago, but did not feel Alena could really live up to that story. It was actually very intriguing and entertaining. Alena is the name of the character that we never meet and who the unnamed narrator will seem to never live up to. There is an underlining of dark stories and emotionally charged characters that lead up to an ending that I had to reread.
A brooding curator hires a new curator for his small art museum on Cape Cod. Everyone talks about Alena and her work done at the museum and the narrator knows her whim of taking the job may have been the wrong decision. Through investigation of her own and the help of the other characters that still love Alena, the main character finds out what really happened to Alena. In a twist, the end is sudden but in a way makes sense, as people are not what they seem in this clever retelling of Rebecca.