Author: Daphne du Maurier
Genre: Gothic / Mystery / Classics
Date: 2012 (1938)
Publisher: Virago Press
Started: 15th April 2018
Completed: 21st April 2018
Summary: After a whirlwind romance and a honeymoon in Italy, the innocent young heroine and the dashing Maxim de Winter return to his country estate, Manderley. But the unsettling memory of Rebecca, the first Mrs de Winter, still lingers within. The timid bride must overcome her husband’s oppressive silences and the sullen hostility of the sinister housekeeper, Mrs Danvers, to confront the emotional horror of the past.
Dame Daphne du Maurier (1907-1989) was an English writer and playwright. She is best known for writing novels such as Rebecca, My Cousin Rachel, and Jamaica Inn. Alfred Hitchcock was a fan of du Maurier’s work and adapted three of her stories into films: Jamaica Inn (1939), Rebecca (1940), and The Birds (1963).
Her career was marked by rumours of plagiarism, like many other best selling authors, but these allegations were never proven.
I adored this book. It was everything I wanted it to be and more. I think my only complaint would be that the beginning is rather slow. I just couldn’t get into the first couple of chapters but everything changed once the narrator moved to Manderley.
There’s so much about this book that I love and I won’t be able to fit it all into this review because I could write an entire essay about how much I adore this book. I, like many others, love the opening line: Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It’s just iconic and I was excited about the book as soon as I read that line.
I really loved all of the characters in this book from the naive unnamed protagonist, to the creepy Mrs Danvers, and the emotionally scarred George de Winter. Each character is so full of life and that’s one of the main reasons I loved this novel. I just connected with the characters, even if I didn’t like them as people, and they all had such unique qualities and personalities. I really liked the narrator because you get to see her grow and mature through the course of the novel. I also love that she remains unnamed because it gives her a mysterious quality but it also helps you to imagine yourself in her shoes.
The plot is just fantastic and it’s not what I expected. Every single interaction between the characters is building up to the final confession and the big reveal of what happened to Rebecca, the first Mrs de Winter. The secret was a shock to me and I loved that because I was sure that I knew what had happened. Well, I sort of did but then there was another big reveal which I didn’t expect. The final chapters of the novel are wonderful and you do feel a sense of closure when the story is finished which is fantastic.
Rebecca is a masterpiece. I thoroughly recommend it to everyone because I think it’s a book that is worth reading. I adored it and I will probably reread it in the coming months.
Read for The Classics Club.