on 23 February 2005
Rebecca is a timeless classic in the gothic literature genre. Daphne Du Maurier weaves a tale full of tension and suspense that grips the reader from the start and doesn't let go.
Max de Winter brings his new bride to Manderley, the home he shared with his beautiful first wife Rebecca, before her untimely death widowed him. Rebecca's presence still seems to permeate Manderley, haunting the new Mrs de Winter and sapping her confidence. The housekeeper Mrs Danvers who loved Rebecca and resents her place being 'usurped' feeds the young brides insecurities at every opportunity and makes her doubt her husbands love for her. When whispers of murder start to be heard, Mrs de Winter starts to doubt her new husband as well as her own sanity.
A fantastic tale that can be read time and time again without becoming stale or boring.
on 22 August 2005
Daphne du Maurier's classic novel "Rebecca" is, in my opinion, the most touching and thought-provoking of all of her works of fiction, and possibly one of the best books ever written. The story follows a young woman who, after accepting the much older Maxim de Winter's sudden proposal of marriage merely days after they meet in Monte Carlo, must contend with Maxim's stunningly beautiful late first wife, Rebecca, as she takes her place at her new husband's equally beautiful home Manderley.
This is a haunting tale, and as you would expect from du Maurier every aspect is conveyed fantastically through her rich, expressive writing style and vocabulary. No characters in a du Maurier novel are ever under-developed, and "Rebecca" boasts the most interesting set of characters I have ever seen in a novel. My favourites include the mysterious, somewhat frightening Mrs Danvers, who is undoubtedly the most stricken by Rebecca's death and remains obsessed with her a year after she was "drowned"; Maxim's sister Beatrice, who seems to be the only one who immediately takes to the new Mrs de Winter out of sympathy and sheer heart; and Frank Crawley, Maxim's agent, a quiet character who somehow reminds me of myself. Of course, there are then the marvellous creations of the two main characters, the most unlikely people ever to fall in love. Du Maurier injects me with a stab of pain every time she allows a character, paricularly Maxim, to refer to the new Mrs de Winter as a "child", and she emphasises her lowly status even more by not revealing her first name throughout the entire novel. Mrs de Winter, therefore, constantly finds herself under scrutiny and, like everyone around her at Manderley, becomes increasingly haunted by Rebecca. But this wonderful woman was not all she appears to have been...
As ever, du Maurier provides her reader with many twists and turns, none of which are escalated out of proportion to make the plot mindblowingly exciting and unbelievable, instead assisting in establishing "Rebecca" as a work of genius from one of the greatest authors ever to have lived. I cannot urge you more strongly to read this novel.
on 14 January 2007
This is without exaggeration my most favourite book in the world. A truly dark, fascinating story where the house, Manderley, plays the main role. Rebecca was Maxim de Winter's first wife - although dead she seems more alive than any other character. Especially at Manderley, where her memory is forever cherished by the sinister Mrs Danvers, the housekeeper, whose love for her late mistress and hatred towards the second Mrs de Winter becomes an obsession...
The second Mrs de Winter is the narrator here, at the beginning practically still a schoolgirl, making her living by being a companion to an American lady in Monte Carlo. Here she meets the wealthy widower Maxim and falls for him instantly, despite the big age gap. She accepts his sudden marriage proposal and after a short honeymoon finally comes to live to Manderley, the very place she's been dreaming about so much. But here she learns that being a Mrs de Winter is not just that easy and her youth, inexperience, and shyness are no help when competing against the mesmerizing, bold, beautiful, sharp, fashionable, and admired by just about everybody Rebecca. Can she ever get it right, beat her fear, and capture the heart of her husband and become the real queen of Manderley?
Maxim comes across as a mysterious, enchanting but a very cruel man. The end is surprising and will certainly make your jaws drop.
Maybe if I get to Cornwall one day, I'll go looking about the coast for the traces of this fantastic piece of literature, which has never been out of print - since 1938! Anyone alse dreamt last night they went to Manderley again?
on 7 March 2007
The book itself is a classic and was recently promoted in the media as something people *must* read. Well, yes, read the book by all means, it is everything the glowing reviews say it is.
Bear in mind, however, that since this book was being touted as an introduction to good literature (whatever that is!) you might expect that many people who were new to the book would be expected to buy it. If you're someone who has never read the book previously - SKIP THE INTRODUCTION!
If Ms Beauman had any concern about new readers, she doesn't show this in the rather overblown introduction in which she gives away the story complete with the twist. It is arrogance itself to presume that "everybody has read the book" because it is "great literature" and therefore think it is fine to blather on about what made the book great (it certainly wasn't any introduction I ever read).
I'd read the book many years ago and bought it for my wife who'd never read it. Ms Bauman was personally responsible for reducing my wife's enjoyment of the book to merely an appreciation of the quality of the prose that followed.
Buy Daphne du Maurier's work by all means, just skip the pointless and counter-productive ego-trip that Ms Beauman begins the book with.
This a cracking read - a real page-turner. I was hooked right from the start. The opening chapter is so atmospheric, and Daphne du Maurier expertly conjures up Manderley as a dark and dramatic backdrop for the events that unfold. There are numerous twists and turns in the plot and a wonderful cast of grotesque but believable characters. Rebecca herself casts a long shadow that reaches right to the very last sentence. When I finished the book I was not sure where my sympathies lay, but for me that was part of the enjoyment.
A word of warning - if you buy this edition DO NOT read the introductory section before reading the novel - it gives away too much of the plot.
on 21 May 2010
I always meant to read Daphne du Maurier and I am so glad I bought this book and tried her out.
I have loved every story and found myself reading late into the night as I had to know 'what happens next'.
She's a brilliant author and I personally would buy any book written by her confident in the knowledge that I would thoroughly enjoy it.
I'm also glad I went for second hand as I got a hardback in great condition for a very cheap price.
on 2 September 2001
Words can't express the excellence and quality of writing in this novel. Du Maurier has excelled herself in this bold thriller which has taken a simple situation in life and has expanded it into a fantastically written story with a REAL climax at the end. This is one book with which you shouldn't go to the last page, read it from start to finish. You can't put it down, as every intimate detail draws you further and further into the remains of Manderley and the web of lies and deceit Rebecca left. Just go and buy it. I can read it again and again and still will be gripped by the storyline.
on 9 November 2009
Daphne du Maurier wrote these tales many years ago but they still feel fresh against todays literature.
Once a story was started I found it near to impossible to put it down till the end was reached .The best thing about her stories is that I rarely could guess the end. Reading prolifically I am often disappionted by endings but not with du Maurier. I give all the stories in this book Five stars . Read any of them to be transported to anothers world.
on 29 July 2007
This was an extremely absorbing read and kept me interested from start to finish. At times I so wanted to shake the narrator for not having some much needed backbone but such is the beauty of the story..her change from weak to confident. Rebecca's power comes entirely from the new Mrs de Winter's isolation and the unspoken mysteries of Manderlay. The way the threat grows and grows in her mind set against other dramatic events is brilliant and leads to an exciting finale. I was so into this book the abrupt ending left me feeling rather bereft.
Do pay heed to a previous reviewer's warning: don't read the introduction first if you are new to this novel - it completely gives away the whole plot!
on 14 March 2003
When I began this novel, I was struck by how boring and confusing the first chapter was. I had no idea how much the opening line, "Last night I drempt I went to Manderly again" would haunt me. Slowly, gradually, the book crept up in my esteem until I found myself gasping, screaming and sobbing by turns. I know this reaction may seem a little bit drastic, but the book gradually pulls the reader into a spellbinding web of mystery, intrigue and romance that keeps twisting the readers expectations. Once it reaches its climax, this novel amazingly manages to keep it up until the very end of the book.
Rebecca is the story of the young, innocent, and naive 2nd Mrs. DeWinter. The 1st Mrs. DeWinter was Rebecca, perfect, beloved, and well-remembered by all who knew her. Although Rebecca is dead the entire book, her ghost (figuratively, not literally) haunts our heroine as she tries to define the role of Mrs. DeWinter for herself. Everything she does is wrong because it is not the way Rebecca would have done it; she lives in a house where she is constantly compared to the beautiful, skilled, artistic, intelligent, and sociable Rebecca whose faults seem all to have been forgotten in death. The 2nd Mrs. DeWinter is shy, pretty, clumsy, and painfully naive in her behavior. She is not the picture perfect heroine, and she seems always to be measured against absolute perfection...
I really can't say much more without giving anything away. Trust me that what sounds like a simple and depressing story of a failure of a wife is actually romantic and quite thrilling. I hightly recommend this book to anyone who can appreciate suspense. Please, take this book home and give it a try-- and don't be discouraged by the slow start. It gets better-- I promise you.