Rebecca

Rebecca

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady's maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late...

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Title:Rebecca
Author:Daphne du Maurier
Rating:
ISBN:0316323705
Edition Language:English
Format Type:ebook
Number of Pages:393 pages

Rebecca Reviews

  • Kelly
    Jun 18, 2007

    This is it. THE delicious, curl up next to the fire under a blanket with tea book. THE windowsill on a rainy day with your pet book. THE stay up all night book. A chill goes down your spine (but in a good way!) while reading it. It is a masterpiece of gothic literature, the inheritor of the tradition of novels like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. I'd call it the 20th Century Jane Eyre, actually, with a modernist twist. It is written so that the characters and events come to seem quite believabl

    This is it. THE delicious, curl up next to the fire under a blanket with tea book. THE windowsill on a rainy day with your pet book. THE stay up all night book. A chill goes down your spine (but in a good way!) while reading it. It is a masterpiece of gothic literature, the inheritor of the tradition of novels like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. I'd call it the 20th Century Jane Eyre, actually, with a modernist twist. It is written so that the characters and events come to seem quite believable in the context even while they slowly make the hairs on the back of your necks stand on end. Whether you're generally a fan of mystery, romance or thrillers, this book is quite simply a delicious read.

  • Madeline
    Sep 09, 2007

    "I dreamt I went to Manderley again."

    is the story of a young woman (her first name is never given) who marries wealthy Maxim de Winter, mostly to escape her life as a companion to a rich American woman. She moves with her new husband to his estate, Manderly, where she learns about her husband's previous wife, Rebecca. Although Rebecca drowned in the ocean near the house over a year ago, the house is still full of her prescence. Her old room is cleaned daily, and is left exactly the way i

    "I dreamt I went to Manderley again."

    is the story of a young woman (her first name is never given) who marries wealthy Maxim de Winter, mostly to escape her life as a companion to a rich American woman. She moves with her new husband to his estate, Manderly, where she learns about her husband's previous wife, Rebecca. Although Rebecca drowned in the ocean near the house over a year ago, the house is still full of her prescence. Her old room is cleaned daily, and is left exactly the way it was when Rebecca still lived there. Her servant, the creepy and completely evil Mrs. Danvers, is still loyal to Rebecca, and the new Mrs. de Winter finds herself being compared to Rebecca by everyone she encounters. Over the course of the story, the narrator begins to inquire into Rebecca's past with her husband in an attempt to discover how she was able to captivate everyone she knew. As the story progresses, Mrs. de Winter discovers that not everyone at Manderley has been completely honest with her, and Rebecca herself is at the heart of all these secrets.

    I really liked this book. Its plot was similar to

    , but unlike Bronte, du Maurier doesn't reveal her biggest plot twist three-quarters of the way through the story - in Rebecca, the surprises keep coming until literally the last page, making it a much more enjoyable read. I also enjoyed the main character - she's clumsy and not very confident, but there's strength at her core, and this fact placed me on her side, despite her very human imperfections.

  • Arlene Sanders
    May 29, 2008

    HERE IS MY HEART...

    is my favorite book of all time -- bar none.

    The opening line is famous, but I didn’t know that the first time I read it (I was about 14). I just remember that the magic began with that first line:

    Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderly again....

    The girl is young, clumsy, exquisitely sensitive. Impoverished and alone after her father’s death, she was employed by a wealthy and boorish social climber, Mrs. Van Hopper, and made her living as the older woman’s companion.

    Ma

    HERE IS MY HEART...

    is my favorite book of all time -- bar none.

    The opening line is famous, but I didn’t know that the first time I read it (I was about 14). I just remember that the magic began with that first line:

    Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderly again....

    The girl is young, clumsy, exquisitely sensitive. Impoverished and alone after her father’s death, she was employed by a wealthy and boorish social climber, Mrs. Van Hopper, and made her living as the older woman’s companion.

    Maxim de Winter, handsome, fabulously rich, and the owner of Manderly, one of the finest estates in England, crosses paths with the women in Monte Carlo.

    As the girl falls crazy in love with de Winter, revealing herself as the most flaming romantic in all of British literature, she sees him like this:

    He belonged to a walled city of the fifteenth century, a city of narrow, cobbled streets, and thin spires, where the inhabitants wore pointed shoes and worsted hose. His face was arresting, sensitive, medieval in some strange inexplicable way, and I was reminded of a portrait seen in a gallery I had forgotten where, of a certain Gentleman Unknown.

    And like this:

    Could one but rob him of his English tweeds, and put him in black, with lace at this throat and wrists, he would stare down at us in our new world from a long distant past—a past where men walked cloaked at night, and stood in the shadow of old doorways, a past of narrow stairways and dim dungeons, a past of whispers in the dark, of shimmering rapier blades, of silent, exquisite courtesy.

    (I thought

    was a romantic!)

    However, I never saw him the way she did. Even as a teenager, I thought de Winter was a horse’s ass and a male chauvinist pig if ever there was one, and to this day, I don't understand what women see in him:

    “So Mrs. Van Hopper has had enough of Monte Carlo,” he said,

    “and now she wants to go home. So do I. She to New York and I to Manderly. Which would you prefer? You can take your choice.”

    “Don’t make a joke about it, it’s unfair,” I said, “and I think I had better see about those tickets, and say good-bye now.”

    “If you think I’m one of the people who try to be funny at breakfast, you’re wrong,” he said. “I’m invariably ill-tempered in the early morning. I repeat to you, the choice is open to you. Either you go to America with Mrs. Van Hopper or you come home to Manderly with me.”

    "Do you mean you want a secretary or something?”

    “No, I’m asking you to marry me, you little fool.”

    (Prick!)

    Then this:

    "So that's settled, isn't it?" he said, going on with his toast and marmalade; "instead of being companion to Mrs. Van Hopper you become mine, and your duties will be almost exactly the same. I also like new library books, and flowers in the drawing-room, and bezique after dinner. And someone to pour out my tea. . .and you must never let me run out of my particular brand of toothpaste."

    (Prick!)

    (Women certainly don't want male chauvinist swine as employers, but we accept them as husbands and lovers, because mostly that's all there is, so we have to make do.)

    The spirit of Rebecca herself -- the first Mrs. de Winter -- pervades the novel like a gathering storm, a painful presence for the young woman Maxim marries after Rebecca's death. Although du Maurier gave the second Mrs. de Winter an inner life of extraordinary richness and depth, the author did not give her a name. When I learned that she didn’t have a name, I gave her mine, and she became me. I think she is simply every romantic woman who ever read this remarkable novel.

    Rebecca, directed by

    , is also my favorite film. Joan Fontaine brilliant as the second Mrs. de Winter; Laurence Olivier absolute perfection as Max. This film was released in 1940, so don't see it in a theatre filled with college students, because they will snicker in the wrong places and spoil the most poignant scenes for you.

  • Tatiana
    Jun 09, 2009

    Books like

    remind me from time to time what quality literature really is. Sometimes I forget, buried under stacks of entertaining but often poorly written popular fiction.

    At first,

    is very reminiscent of another favorite book of mine -

    . The main character is a young, innocent, poor girl who falls in love with a rich older man. The happiness is so near, but the shadow of the man's first wife stands in the way of it. A family secret, a haunted mansion, a deranged servant

    Books like

    remind me from time to time what quality literature really is. Sometimes I forget, buried under stacks of entertaining but often poorly written popular fiction.

    At first,

    is very reminiscent of another favorite book of mine -

    . The main character is a young, innocent, poor girl who falls in love with a rich older man. The happiness is so near, but the shadow of the man's first wife stands in the way of it. A family secret, a haunted mansion, a deranged servant, and a fire are also major players in the story.

    I've said it before, I personally don't mind borrowed themes, but only if done right. A talented writer can reinterpret and reinvent an old story, add new layers to it, and

    does just that. The book is beautifully written, it is haunting, it is suspenseful.

    I also think it takes a gifted writer to make readers get attached to a character as insecure, jealous, and timid as the second Mrs. de Winter.

    succeeds once more. The main character is very compelling and her fears are palpable. I found myself sharing the heroines insecurities (after all, why shouldn't she question her husband's feelings toward her if he treats her like a child, a pet and doesn't make an effort to let her know where he stands in regard to his first wife?), being scared of and intimidated by Mrs. Danvers, and taunted by the memories of the first (possibly superior) wife.

    is simply a great book all around, deservedly a masterpiece of English literature and from now on - a new favorite love story of mine, to be treasured and kept near

    ,

    ,

    ,

    , and

    .

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    Jan 16, 2013

    This is one of the more famous lines in literature certainly it belongs in the same conversation as

    . Even to people who have never read the book or seen the excellent movie by Alfred Hitchcock might have a glimmer of recognition at the mention of a place called Manderley. Daphne du Maurier leased a place called Menabilly which became the basis for the fictional Manderley. Aren’t we glad she changed the name? Just say Manderley a few

    This is one of the more famous lines in literature certainly it belongs in the same conversation as

    . Even to people who have never read the book or seen the excellent movie by Alfred Hitchcock might have a glimmer of recognition at the mention of a place called Manderley. Daphne du Maurier leased a place called Menabilly which became the basis for the fictional Manderley. Aren’t we glad she changed the name? Just say Manderley a few times and then say Menabilly a few times. If you are like me you linger over the vowels and consonants of Manderley and with Menabilly you just want it off your tongue as quickly as possible.

    The narrator, a young woman of 21, is never formally introduced to us. She is a companion for an odious American woman named Mrs. Van Hoppers. They are in Monte Carlo and when Mrs. Van Hoppers comes down with an illness inspired more by boredom than by a virus or bacteria our narrator finds herself free to spend time with the widower Maximilian de Winter. He is famous, but his house, Manderley is even more famous. Parties on a Gatsby scale, beautiful landscaping, and of course the architecture of a grand English estate have made Manderley a most coveted invitation.

    After a whirlwind romance, the dashing de Winter sweeps the impressionable young lady off her feet, pries her loose from the services of Mrs. Van Hoppers, and marries her. He is distant, moody, and yet charming more like a father, he is 42, than a husband, but our young heroine is enamored with the idea of being the mistress of Manderley. Now she has a name, Mrs. de Winter, and maybe to add a bit of obscurity to an already anemic personality du Maurier never shares her given name with us.

    Daphne du Maurier comes from a famous family. Her grandfather was the famous writer and Punch cartoonist George du Maurier. Her father was a prominent stage manager named Sir Gerald du Maurier and her mother was the actress Muriel Beaumont. Daphne had

    which is used in reference to the character Rebecca as well, and luckily du Maurier chose to do more with this trilogy of assets than the character. Du Maurier married Lieutenant General Sir Frederick ‘Boy’ Browning whose exploits during Operation Market Garden were made into a film

    .

    The newly minted Mrs. de Winter arrives at Manderley with nervous excitement. She is well aware of her shortcomings. She is too shy, too young, too trusting, and though she is pretty she can not compete with the legendary Rebecca de Winter and her haunting beauty.

    Waiting for Mrs. de Winter is the number one fan and torchbearer of Rebecca, Mrs. Danvers. Despite the best efforts of our young lady, she is fighting a losing battle trying to win over Mrs. Danvers by being deferential. Mrs. Danvers is loyal to the ghostly presence of Rebecca even to the point of preserving her room and possessions as they were when she was alive. The more that the new Mrs. de Winter concedes the less respect she feels she has to show to the new mistress of the house.

    You will feel yourself wanting to cheer as our heroine begins to gain confidence and as she begins to grow into her role we see Mrs. Danvers start to diminish and with her the haunting presence of Rebecca. Of course just as things start to go right, things start to go very wrong.

    I was really surprised to learn that an edition of

    was used as the key to a code book by the Germans during World War Two. It is not believed that the book was ever used for passing information because a captured radio section made the Germans suspect that the book, as a code, had been compromised. Ken Follett used this idea in his book

    . Other influences of possibly du Maurier’s most famous character creation, show up in Stephen King’s

    when Mrs. Danvers is portrayed as the boogeyman. Jasper Ffordes clones an army of Mrs. Danvers in his Thursday Next series that sends a chill down the backs of the characters of those books.

    There is much made of flowers and landscaping in this book. The English do love their rose gardens and when my backyard is in full bloom it is without reservation that I can share how much pleasure looking at and moving among that bounty of blooms gives me.

    You will feel the building tension as du Maurier drops hints of something sinister surrounding the walls of Manderley. For me, the sign of a well written book is the fact that I was on the edge of my seat despite having watched the movie several times. I was ensnared by the plot, feeling the same anxiety for the characters that I would have if they had been living breathing creatures in my own sphere of the universe. The character studies explored in this book have turned out to be an important addition to the hall of fame of literary characters. You will not forget Mrs. Danver’s spiteful, insidious behavior or the tortured, Heathcliffesque Maximilian de Winter or the numerous supporting cast that adds color and substance to the shadows of the plot. If you like gothic romance with your cup of Earl Grey you will find this book an indispensable part of your library, kept ready to hand for those days when you want to be swept away from a dreary sky and a rain splattered window.

    Check out my book and movie reviews at

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    Mar 08, 2013

    Manderley and I had a much more successful visit this time around, as compared to the first time I read this book several years ago. Here's the key:

    It's a psychological suspense novel. As I reread

    with this in mind, I had a much greater appreciation for its artistry, the way Daphne du Maurier skillfully used words to create a mood and increase the suspense.

    Manderley and I had a much more successful visit this time around, as compared to the first time I read this book several years ago. Here's the key:

    It's a psychological suspense novel. As I reread

    with this in mind, I had a much greater appreciation for its artistry, the way Daphne du Maurier skillfully used words to create a mood and increase the suspense.

    The narrator, a young and painfully self-conscious girl, is a paid companion to Mrs. Van Hopper, a snobbish social climber. While they are in Monte Carlo, Mrs. Van Hopper bulldozes her way into an acquaintance with a quiet widower, Maxim de Winter. Despite our heroine's lack of status and social graces, Maxim begins spending time with her and soon asks her to marry him.

    Desperately in love with him, she does so, despite the vast differences in their ages, wealth, status ... just about everything. And despite his frequent rudeness and mockery of her.

    After a too-brief honeymoon, they return to England and Maxim's lovely country estate, Manderley, presided over by the skeletal housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, who instantly takes a dislike to the new Mrs. de Winter. Mrs. Danvers does her best to undercut the main character's lack of confidence in every way possible, but mostly by holding up Maxim's first wife, Rebecca, as an impossible standard of beauty, taste and accomplishment, a standard that the second can never hope to reach.

    The second wife becomes more and more haunted by this paragon, Rebecca, even though there are clues in the things Maxim, his sister and others say - and don't say - that maybe there is more to Rebecca's character than the second wife realizes.

    I found it fascinating how du Maurier tells you the end in the beginning, in such a way that it doesn't spoil the story at all, but adds to the underlying tension and sense of oppression. The second Mrs. de Winter thinks they are contented, and perhaps they are, but they are deeply damaged as well, living a sort of half-life.

    Mrs. Danvers is quite the character: one wonders how much her presence in Rebecca's childhood influenced the person Rebecca became. And Rebecca herself ... well, without getting into spoiler territory, she has an amazing presence in this novel for someone who's dead before it even starts.

    I have to say that the second Mrs. de Winter's paralyzing lack of self-confidence and her gaucherie, even though integral to the plot, was really irksome to me. And every time she'd start off into another daydream, which she did All. The. Time., imagining conversations and events out of whole cloth, I would mentally roll my eyes at her. But once I realized that this is not to be read as a romance novel (really, the relationship here is pretty unhealthy on both sides), I was free to appreciate the characters' shortcomings (instead of being frustrated by them) and to see how those shortcomings and their past experiences combine to bring them together, but pull them apart at the same time. It's a fascinating psychological study.

    My rating has gone from 3, to 4, to 5 stars. It's a book that has really stuck with me.

    Between the well-drawn, seriously flawed characters, the brooding atmosphere, with a feeling that disaster is just waiting for the right moment to strike, and the great plot twists,

    is deservedly a classic in its genre.

    Buddy read with the Reading For Pleasure book club, April 2016.

    I read

    maybe 15 or 20 years ago and didn't really care for it back then. I'm not entirely sure now of the reasons why, but I think it may have been that I was expecting more of a romance with some nice happy feels at the end? So now that my expectations have been adjusted, we're going to give this another shot.

  • Navessa
    Mar 28, 2014

    So, most of my friends love this book. Naturally, I wanted to as well. I blame the herd mentality.

    Baaah.

    Did I love this book? At times, yes. Did I also loathe this book? At times, yes. It’s made deciding on a rating a much more daunting task than I normally face. After reflecting on it for some time, and re-reading my f-bomb laden notes, I’m going with two stars, because as a whole, I did not enjoy this.

    While I greatly detested some aspects, I can still recognize gorgeou

    So, most of my friends love this book. Naturally, I wanted to as well. I blame the herd mentality.

    Baaah.

    Did I love this book? At times, yes. Did I also loathe this book? At times, yes. It’s made deciding on a rating a much more daunting task than I normally face. After reflecting on it for some time, and re-reading my f-bomb laden notes, I’m going with two stars, because as a whole, I did not enjoy this.

    While I greatly detested some aspects, I can still recognize gorgeous prose when I see it. Honestly, I almost gave this three stars for the writing alone, because it’s so beautiful that it becomes distracting, and when you pair this with a hauntingly gothic setting? Magic.

    What ruined this for me were the attitudes and the actions of those depicted within it. I’m not one of those readers that have to love characters to enjoy a story or appreciate its message. There have been quite a few instances where I’ve rated a book highly even when I hated every single person in it. That’s because while I didn’t necessarily agree with what they were doing, or their thought processes, I understood them on some level.

    Sadly, this is not the case with

    . The female lead, who is also the narrator, is left without a name throughout. Upon reading the afterward, I’m wondering if that’s because it would have been all too obvious if the author had named her Daphne. She is the very definition of a Mary Sue, taking almost entirely after the person who created her. But, for the sake of this review, let’s call the MC Not Cory. I think it has a catchy ring to it. It’s also fitting, as she is the complete and total opposite of me in almost every way imaginable.

    When the book opens, Not Cory is reflecting on her life, and the remaining pages focus on the events she’s reliving. It all begins in Monte Carlo, with her as the companion to a tactless and garish woman of means. A chance encounter has her bumping into a wealthy Englishman named Maxim de Winter, a man twenty years her senior and recently widowed.

    What follows is a whirlwind courtship set against the backdrop of the south of France. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Er, not so much. This part of the book served as nothing more than a reminder of how foolish first love can make us. My hat is off to Du Maurier for her flawless portrayal of this time in our lives, when your future is spread out in front of you and all your fantasies still seem tangible.

    What made it that much more difficult to read was the MC. Not Cory is a dreamer; she lives largely inside of her head, and the smallest thing, from her companion choosing to host a cocktail party, to the rising of the sun, can send her mind spinning as she plays out the infinite consequences of these things.

    This tendency becomes obsessive when Maxim enters the picture. Where she is both immature and naïve, he is complicated and divided. Her happiness becomes dependent on his smiles, her misery decided by a harsh word. Thanks to their age difference, he’s forgotten what this is like, how raw and all-consuming first love can be, and he’s careless with her feelings because of it. He takes complete advantage of her throughout, and I hated him almost from the point of his introduction.

    The singular reason that he’s even attracted to her at all is because

    So I’m sorry to all the Maxim shippers, but I can find nothing redeeming or romantic about an older man who so casually mistreats his innocent young wife.

    Not Cory might be naïve, but she’s not an utter fool. Her introspectiveness makes her a keen observer, and even in their early days together, she realizes that something isn’t right between her and Maxim. She senses it should be different, has premonitions of what’s to come. After their honeymoon, they head home, to Manderley where all becomes clear.

    Rebecca. Rebecca.

    The dead wife. She’s there with them, always. Both the servants of the household, and the surrounding villagers preferred her and her outgoing nature, her wild parties, the way she could draw one out of themselves and make them feel as though they were a trusted friend, to Not Cory and her shy, withdrawn nature. It doesn’t help matters that she was tall, gorgeous, refined, and well bred, and that almost everyone Not Cory meets feels the need to remind her of this.

    She feels Rebecca hanging over her marriage like a ghoul, dogging her steps throughout her new home, distracting and beguiling her husband from beyond the grave. So it’s understandable that after a few short weeks at Manderley, Not Cory begins to further withdraw from her surroundings, turn more introspective, begin to question everything about her marriage and the man she’s attached herself to.

    At this point, the book turns into a slow motion train wreck. You see how easily she’s manipulated by the aging Mrs. Danvers, Rebecca’s old maid, by her husband, by the others around her, and you just want to shake her out of it. Instead of character progression, you get regression, and watching it all unfold is frustrating to say the least. I kept waiting for her to grow a spine, for her to start questioning things, to stand up for herself. Sadly, this never happens.

    And all the while, there’s Maxim, patting her head like a dog if she pleases him, frowning and becoming withdrawn if she doesn’t. I saw too many signs of a perfect victim within his wife, and it greatly disturbed me. She became constantly aware of his moods, adjusted her own behaviors to compensate for them, steered conversations if she worried that they might be heading down roads that might upset him.

    Maxim, Maxim,

    Less than half of the way through, I had every single plot twist unraveled. It made for a rather anticlimactic finish, and I found myself skimming through large sections of Not Cory’s infuriatingly weak inner monologue.

    The biggest “revelation” of them all almost caused me to rage quit, but I had come too far.

    Then there was another reveal, which I didn’t buy at all because of all the things I’ve previously discussed in regards to Maxim.

    In closing, I don’t get the hype. I don’t think that this is remarkable or groundbreaking, and I don’t even think it should be classified as a romance. I think many of the themes are merely reused and reworked from earlier gothic novels, primarily Jane Eyre. In fact, this has such a remarkable amount of similarities to it, that I’ll be reading it next, and I plan on coming back and adding a section about my findings.

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  • Candi
    Nov 08, 2016

    Oh, how I wish I could rewind the past month and start all over again! Then I could pick up

    and experience this breathtaking novel once more as if for the first time. Truth be told, this wasn’t actually my first time reading this quintessential piece of classic gothic literature. However, I am ashamed to say that the number of years that have passed between my first reading and this recent one, combined with what I like to call a lingering case of ‘momnesia’, effectively rendered this re

    Oh, how I wish I could rewind the past month and start all over again! Then I could pick up

    and experience this breathtaking novel once more as if for the first time. Truth be told, this wasn’t actually my first time reading this quintessential piece of classic gothic literature. However, I am ashamed to say that the number of years that have passed between my first reading and this recent one, combined with what I like to call a lingering case of ‘momnesia’, effectively rendered this reading very much like a first time. For that I am actually grateful, because I completely immersed and surrendered myself to the beautiful writing of the remarkably talented Daphne du Maurier.

    The unnamed narrator is an inexperienced and insecure young woman with not much of a future to speak of – unless becoming a companion to an overbearing busybody by the name of Mrs. Van Hopper could be called a promising prospect! So when the handsome, mysterious and wealthy Maxim de Winter seems to take an interest and offers a much more enticing alternative – that of being his wife – what is a girl to do but accept?! The honeymoon at an end, the newly married couple returns to Manderley, Max de Winter’s estate. Manderley itself is a major character in this novel. I could sense it almost as a living, breathing entity; the descriptions of this magnificent place were so masterfully crafted. I felt as if I were sitting right there with Mrs. de Winter as she approached Manderley for the first time.

    Rhododendrons, Red, Rebecca… She is everywhere. The second Mrs. de Winter (the only name by which she will ever be identified) had not expected the ceaseless competition from the deceased first Mrs. de winter, Rebecca - Rebecca with a capital R written with such confidence, a confidence that even transcends death. She lingers in the morning-room, she lurks in the gallery, she tarries in the cottage by the beach. But most of all, Rebecca dwells within the minds of everyone living in the West Country along the rugged coast of England. Max de Winter becomes a brooding and aloof husband once back within the clutches of Manderley and Rebecca’s memory. The new Mrs. de Winter is tormented by her own fantasies of this formidable adversary. Since the novel is cleverly written from the perspective of this naïve young woman, the reader becomes intimate with the psychological turmoil she endures. She is also subject to the criticism and malice of the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers. Mrs. Danvers worshiped Rebecca during her life and continues to do so even after her death. I absolutely loved to hate this dark and intimidating woman!

    Every single character is drawn skillfully and comes to life within the pages of this book. The tension builds and one cannot help becoming entangled with the suspenseful buildup of events leading to the climax. I was transported to another time and place and was perfectly mesmerized. I can’t say much more without getting into spoiler territory if you have not yet read this masterpiece. Just grab a copy soon and experience this one – please! This is the best of the best and is going on that very special bookshelf at home.

  • Elyse
    Feb 24, 2017

    I went in completely 100% blind!!! Blind trust was all I needed, from trusted friends, but it took me forever to make this book a priority. I had 'Rebecca' downloaded on my Kindle since 2014. How foolish I was to wait.

    There are 313, 907 ratings.... and 13, 947 reviews, on Goodreads, ... with an overall rating of 4.2 Ratings like that SPEAK! It's not a hype either!!

    "Rebecca" is the most enduring classic of Love and Evil I've ever read.

    Mystery, gothic thriller, drama, secrets, crime, suspense, s

    I went in completely 100% blind!!! Blind trust was all I needed, from trusted friends, but it took me forever to make this book a priority. I had 'Rebecca' downloaded on my Kindle since 2014. How foolish I was to wait.

    There are 313, 907 ratings.... and 13, 947 reviews, on Goodreads, ... with an overall rating of 4.2 Ratings like that SPEAK! It's not a hype either!!

    "Rebecca" is the most enduring classic of Love and Evil I've ever read.

    Mystery, gothic thriller, drama, secrets, crime, suspense, some parts predictable...yet not all... there are surprise twists and turns, three dimensional -unforgettable characters, gorgeous writing with vivid descriptions, and a beautiful estate called Manderley .

    "No wildflowers came into the house at Manderley. He had special cultivated flowers, grown for the house alone, in the walled garden. A rose was one of the few flowers, he said, that looked better pit them growing. A bowl of roses in the drawing room had a depth of color and a cent they had not processed in the open. There is something rather blowzy about roses in full bloom, something shallow and raucous, like women with and untidy hair. In the house they became mysterious and subtle".

    I loved it - I loved it - I loved it!

    It's TIMELESS......with more richness than many new release books of this genre.

    Special thanks to Jean, Sara, and Candy.... and to many other Goodreads friends who read this before me. REBECCA is a novel - once read -- we can never forget!!!!

    I'm definitely a new fan of author Daphne Du Maurer. Scapegoat was also phenomenal!!!

    PS..... I need to run out... but I must come back and start reading 'other' REBECCA reviews!!! I read the last 80% in one sitting!! I'm spent!

    I must go offline......but I'll be back - for discussions -- etc!

    Happy weekend to this lovely community!

  • Bill  Kerwin
    Oct 04, 2016

    These six elements have informed the gothic impulse from

    and

    to

    . Daphne du Maurier's

    is crucial to the genre, for in it du Maurier simplified and organized these six elements, refining the narrative, concentrating the mythic, and enriching the ambiguity of her tale.

    What du Maurier understood is that the heart of the romantic gothic is the struggle between two women, one w

    These six elements have informed the gothic impulse from

    and

    to

    . Daphne du Maurier's

    is crucial to the genre, for in it du Maurier simplified and organized these six elements, refining the narrative, concentrating the mythic, and enriching the ambiguity of her tale.

    What du Maurier understood is that the heart of the romantic gothic is the struggle between two women, one who is just coming alive and one not content to remain a ghost. The man may be their conflicting goal, the house and landscape their arena, but it is the battle between these two women, for life and power and autonomy, that is the essence of the tale.

    In

    , the man is the haunted, moody Maxim de Winter who has married a never-named young woman--a naive paid companion--whom he has met during a recent stay in Monte Carlo. The two return to Maxim's ancestral estate of Manderley, but the new wife soon finds the old house and grounds--as well as the mind of her increasingly melancholy husband--dominated by the spirit of Rebecca, his dead first wife.

    The author's simplifying genius resides in the fact that in

    the spirit of the dead woman animates the house and the landscape and obsesses the man. Consequently, every attempt of the new Mrs. de Winter--the narrator--to adjust to the house and staff (including the daunting housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers), to explore the house and grounds, or to comprehend the past events that interfere with her present happiness are part of the novel's central struggle and its secret history. The second Mrs. de Winter's descriptions may be nuanced and leisurely, occasionally painful in their innocence, but every encounter, each exploration, brings us closer to the heart of the mystery of Rebecca and Manderley too.

    Beside the exemplary construction of the narrative, the other things I liked most about the book were the detailed descriptions of Manderley, the lingering power of the first two chapters (the only two set in the present), and the intriguingly ambiguous fate of the narrator of the novel, the second Mrs. de Winter, the woman with no name.

    One of the guilty pleasures of a good gothic is the description of a magnificent old house, so precise and rich in detail that you can fantasize about how delightful--or how scary--living in such a mansion might be. Manderly is a place that comes alive for the reader, and it is particularly pleasant to have it described to us by a person who is experiencing it--and attempting to master it--for the first time.

    The first chapter is justly famous for the narrator's account of a dream in which she returns to the now ruined Manderley estate. Its description of overgrown nature reclaiming the martyred grandeur of Manderley is an expertly executed mood piece, inaugurating the narrative as effectively as any opening passage in literature. (I do not exclude my favorites: the first scene of

    , the first chapter of

    , and the description of the Sternwood mansion in the first pages of

    ).

    Personally, though, I find the second chapter of the book even more interesting. It describes Maxim and the narrator--who now calls the two of them "happy"--as they live their life on the continent in a series of hotels. But something about our narrator's description strikes me as inexpressibly sad: the two of them sound to me like an affluent, aging couple, frittering their final years away on superficial pleasures and trivial pastimes. Yet the wife, the woman who is telling us this--we find out later--is now barely in her thirties. Could this indeed be "happiness"? This question continued to haunt me throughout my reading of the book, and even now affects my shifting impressions of its themes.

    I ask myself, weeks after finishing this novel, what is the narrator's fate? Has she achieved a certain degree of happiness--however modest--having triumphed over the dominating Rebecca, having gained the haunted Maxim for her own? Has she merely accepted the empty social forms and dull routine that Rebecca--whatever her sins might have been--was fighting so furiously against? Or is she "happy"--the interpretation I currently flirt with--because she, in her passive-aggressive way, dominates Maxim in his reduced state more thoroughly than Rebecca ever could? Even so, isn't such happiness inferior to the promise she once showed briefly, when she believed she could still be mistress of Manderley--after Rebecca's ghost had been exorcised, before she learned their world had burned down?

    I don't know the answers to these questions, and I must say I like it that way. For me, at least, the novel will always be haunted by ambiguities, and that is a good thing. It is one of the reasons I find

    such a rich, rewarding work.