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on 21 October 2014
This book is Daphne Du Maurier's finest and a classic in the true sense of the word.

It's riveting, haunting and chilling at the same time. Mrs Danvers has got to be one of the most creepiest housekeepers I've ever read about in any book. The story is about a young orphan girl who works as a companion to an unbearable lady Mrs Van Hopper and while they are in Monte Carlo she catches the eye of Maxim De Winter a wealthy widower. Although twice her age he takes her off and marries her and brings her to his home Manderley. When she arrives she finds she is completely out of her element and her shyness and inexperience works against her. She finds everyone compares her to Maxim's first wife as she is completely unlike her in every respect. She feels inadequate and not worthy. Rebecca is rarely mentioned between Maxim and the second Mrs De Winter and so she draws her own conclusions however wrongly.

When the truth is finally uncovered and no matter how shocking it is you do still feel some sympathy towards the person who commits the crime. The second Mrs De Winter is changed forever by it and it's the point where she finally grows up. I felt alot of warmth for her and was very sympathetic of her situation as the second wife/other woman living in the shadow of the first one who outshone her it seemed in every way to start off with. I even felt myself getting upset for her and really wanted her to pull through and win over Rebecca. Although in the end she does , Rebecca's ghost will always haunt the marriage even while the current Mrs De Winter and Maxim are in exile.

Very sad and haunting book, worthy of being a Hitchcock Classic!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 February 2016
Finally I have unearthed this celebrated classic. It is, indeed, a wonderful novel, holding rapt attention throughout, yet offering so much more than mere suspense. It has its roots in the great novels of the nineteenth century “Jane Eyre” in particular perhaps, but it offers the same wide expanse, the same in-depth characterisation, in a far more compact form. I know that the book is often slotted into the gothic pigeon-hole, but it is far more than that. Sally Beauman’s “Afterword” is stimulating and penetrating, though not all would want to push the feminist analysis as far as she does. Nonetheless, her bold, imaginative linking of the novel with Sylvia Plath’s poetry opens up some very worthwhile lines of enquiry. This is Du Maurier at her very best.
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on 4 April 2017
It took me a while to get into the story as I found it at times over-descriptive and slow-paced. It wasn't easy for me to sympathise with the characters at first, he seemed cold and condescending, her self-esteem so low. However it is so beautifully written I just thought I would continue, and I'm happy I did. I thoroughly enjoyed the second half of the book, how Du Maurier creates a captivating atmosphere and makes you see the story from the narrator's perspective, I ended up liking the characters and I couldn't just put it down. Highly recommend to give it a chance.
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on 17 March 2013
Sally Beauman in her afterword to the Virago edition I have of Rebecca makes exactly the statement I want to make about the book: "It has been dismissed as a gothic romance, as `women's fiction'..." which is precisely the impression I'd received and been hitherto uninterested in reading. So when I perused reviews and decided to try it after all, imagine my surprise that I could not put it down!

There are many motifs that at first led me to believe the book might be just as I'd always thought it would be; a sort of Jane Eyre brought forward to the age of the motorcar, but I read on. I'm not a great fan of Jane Eyre but I read on and from chapter 7 onwards, a sinister chill began to set in and didn't stop.

Writing in the first person, Du Maurier uses the perspective to its best, capturing the paranoia, mistrust, isolation and fear of the heroine perfectly whilst at the same time allowing the readers to know that she is not at all paranoid and something very dark is in fact going on.

In many ways Rebecca is a psychological thriller and comparable to Collins' The Woman in White. This is no insult from me; I also could not put that book down. It is not about the romance although romance there is. It is very much about the unravelling of secrets, nerves and plots, the shattering of illusions and the events that conspire to test a personality in what amounts to a tense but beautiful read.

I could put this book down neither physically nor pejoratively. There is something for everyone within those pages. I'm glad I bought the book which will no doubt become well-thumbed in years to come.
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on 26 January 2013
This is an old fashioned and charming edition of four Daphne du Maurier novels which I purchased for my daughter as was making her first adult visit to Cornwall. She had never heard of du Maurier (my fault of course, I should have long ago introduced her to these books as she is a huge Austen fan and was sure to like them). I rather regret her going off to Uni with the book as I would like to re-read them myself. When she returns at Easter I shall grab it. The edition is hardback and looks like it will stand up to hard wear, travelling to Falmouth for instance. The novels themselves are wonderfully evocative of the strange wild beauty of Cornwall, a place of legend, romance and fable. If you have a romantic streak and enjoy a ripping yarn full of rather over the top characterisations and redolent of the glorious natural beauties of this unique English county (which I think feels like a separate, magical, fictional land), you will love these novels.
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on 15 September 2016
Daphne du Maurier's classic novel "Rebecca" is one of the most enthralling and atmospheric books I’ve read in my adult life.

I found it quite haunting throughout and such a visual read – I haven’t yet watched the Hitchcock film but I’m intrigued to see if it’s portrayed in the same way as I saw it in my mind as it conjured up so much upon reading it. I couldn’t put it down and got through it in two nights. It’s an easy read, but an inspiring one. I was really struck with how beautifully it was written whilst still being so easy to understand. Even the symbolism – clever without being too abstract or convoluted.

A real work of genius in my opinion.
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on 16 November 2013
I find it truly difficult to add to what has already been said about this superbly written novel over the years, other than to say it is a true classic and a must read for all ages. Somehow this book had slipped under my radar, but an email from Amazon reccommended the title and once I downloaded the book I was hooked. The writing is certainly evocative and has a hauntingly beautiful quality and simply slips off the pages (screen) with ease. Manderley and its grounds are so beautifully drawn you could almost smell the freshly cut grass and the characters fleshed out so well you felt you almost knew them. Since then I have purchased additional books by Daphne Du Maurier and they are equally well written, but somehow (up to now) Rebecca stands head and shoulders above the rest.
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on 28 November 2011
If I had to sum up Rebecca in one word it would be 'surprised'. I thought I knew what this novel was going to be about and I thought I knew the basic themes to this novel before reading it, It turned out I didn't.

I have seen the Alfred Hitchcock film Rebecca and I vaguely remember it being about a woman who meets an older man in Monte Carlo while working as a paid 'companion' for an insufferable old woman. This man turns out to be Mr de Winter and after a very short romance they marry before going back to his house in Cornwall, England. The young girl is expected to act and be the mistress to this house named Manderley and its many servants. There is however a third person in the marriage, Rebecca, who was Mr de Winter's first wife who drowned in a nearby bay about a year previously. Rebecca seemed to have been loved by everyone none more than the stern housekeeper who seems intent on driving the new Mrs de Winter insane.

The above mentioned was in the book but there was also a lot more. I don't want to give away anymore of the plot in case you haven't read it but I was constantly surprised throughout and some of the twists and turns had me reading with my mouth open. This was a book filled with so much suspense and mystery that even with 20 pages to go I still didn't know how it was going to end.

One of the stars of the book is undoubtedly Manderley itself with his long corridors and its two wings, one facing the sea and the other the rose garden. The morning room filled with the most expensive things in the house, the warm fire in the library and afternoon tea served at half past four. The house and its rooms are used as a plot device a few times during the book and is used in giving us a sense of how lost and out of her depth the new Mrs de Winter feels in not just the house but in her new role as mistress.

I am also surprised that many people see this as a love story, I was therefore expecting one. I am not convinced that Mr de Winter ever really loved his second wife. For a lot of the book he is indifferent to her feelings and only tells her he loves her for the first time at a time when he desperately needs her on his side. If he did love her then it seems to be for her childlike manner in which she gives in to his wishes and lives only to please him. Her name is not given once during the book further adding to her invisibility as a character. For an upcoming fancy dress party to be held at the house Mr de Winter preferred choice of costume for his new wife is an Alice in wonderland dress which I think was significant in how at that time he viewed her. During a evening of revelations Mrs de Winter matures suddenly and Mr de Winter notices;

'It's gone forever. That funny, Young, lost look that I loved. It won't come back again.'

The new Mrs de Winter revels in all this, she seems to genuinely want nothing more than for her new husband to be happy and for her to live for that.

This is in complete contrast to Rebecca who while alive did how she pleased and seemed to live only for her pleasure alone - or did she? We will never know if she was put in a more unfavourable light by Mr de Winter for not conforming to his perfect idea of a doting wife as society expected her to be. Or maybe she really was so cruel and manipulative that Mr de Winter craved someone who was the complete polar opposite to his first wife.

I'm not sure this book would have been quite so gripping had I prior knowledge of the book but nonetheless the characters and the dark undertones are enough to make me wonder and want to discuss this for a long time to come. Aside from a couple of places when I think I had to suspend disbelieve slightly I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was surprised by it in a very good way.
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on 3 September 2016
What can I say? I love Rebecca. it is a tight well written book which always leaves you wanting more, and yet, it is perfect in its way. I'm not a fan of a lot of Du Mauriers work, but this was her great book. It comes from her own life yet is its transformed into art. Its thrilling and beautiful. Rebecca is of course an overdrawn character, but we never actually meet her.. so that doesn't matter....And who can forget "I am Mrs De Winter now."
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on 24 January 2015
This book is about a poor woman who is haunted by the memory of her husband's former wife, who, though the main character never met her, lives on through the remembrances of family members and servants.

There are a couple of interesting twists; firstly you think that the book is merely a mood piece about the melancholic life of a second wife, but about a third of the way into the book there is a sudden change and it becomes more suspenseful as we wait to find out the fates of two of the characters.

Thought the ending was a bit arbitrary and unnecessary - although perhaps the author did not feel that the two characters could get away with what they did.
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