“Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier
Not a single superfluous word. Pure and top-class story-telling. Suspense from page one until the very last sentence. I adored this novel, about which I had heard so much but had never read before. I would read it again. And again. (If I only had the time!)
The novel has to be enjoyed, not raced through. And I tried to spin it out. But today I just had to finish it!
The opening line is magical…
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again
… and from that point on there is no turning back.
It was not until I started writing this post that I realised the narrator had not been named throughout the novel. The effect this had on the story was to highlight how often Rebecca’s name falls…
The narrator is initially working as a companion to an old lady, and they are spending the winter in Monte Carlo. When her employer comes down with flu, our narrator spends her days with another guest at the hotel: Maximillian de Winter, recently widowed and owner of the famous English house “Manderley”. She returns with him to Manderley as the new Mrs de Winter, but is haunted by images of the first lady of the house – Rebecca – who had apparently been adored. Her husband’s distance, coupled with her own shy reluctance to ask questions lead to misunderstandings and unhappiness.
A shipwreck and a summer storm clear the air, and the truth is finally revealed. However, the couple are not destined to be able to enjoy the rest of their lives in their beautiful country home…
Some of the feelings I had while reading it:
wonder pity frustration sympathy horror annoyance distaste relief foreboding pleasure
This is not a pretentious period romance, as I had imagined. It is a magnificent drama – tragic and timeless.
Read it and ENJOY it!
I read this for the first time about 40 years ago! Loved it then, love it still. Have read it several times over the years and it is still haunting! du Maurier creates fantastic characters!
A brilliant film too 🙂
Such a good book! You definitely chose the correct words to describe what you felt when reading. Especially ‘foreboding’!!