Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle New Album - Drake Pre-order now Shop Women's Shop Men's

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
577
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£14.21+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

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.
0Comment| 81 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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.
0Comment| 97 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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?
0Comment| 35 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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.
11 Comment| 42 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 2 August 2005
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.
0Comment| 30 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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.
0Comment| 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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.
0Comment| 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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.
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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!
0Comment| 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
(This review contains mild spoilerish bits, so if you haven't yet read the book, do it now and then pop back... ;) )

We first meet our unnamed narrator when she is in Monte Carlo, working as the paid companion to an elderly American lady, Mrs Van Hopper. Still more girl than woman, the narrator is shy and unsophisticated, not bothering much about the clothes she wears or the style of her hair. Mrs Van Hopper scrapes an acquaintance with Maxim de Winter, a rich and handsome Englishman staying in the hotel alone because, as Mrs Van Hopper informs the narrator, his wife recently died in a tragic sailing accident. Our girl is rather dazzled by this man of the world who so easily deals with all the little social problems she finds so difficult, and he in turn seems to like her quietness and unadorned simplicity. Within a few weeks, Maxim proposes and finally, thank goodness, our narrator has a name – the second Mrs de Winter.

The book begins, of course, with one of the most famous opening lines in literature - “Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again.” The ensuing dream sequence acts as a prologue and warning of what is to follow, and straight away du Maurier builds up an atmosphere full of unease. As Mrs de W2 in imagination moves towards the house, she describes the lush vegetation taking back the once cultivated grounds and gardens, now growing out of control. There's an earthiness and sensuality to the descriptions, and a sense of growth and decay – a kind of raw, malignant vitality that seems to represent the first Mrs de Winter, Rebecca, while being a stark contrast to the rather sexless childlike personality of Mrs de W2. It's a magnificent start to the book, setting the mood superbly for what is to follow.

The book is famously compared to Jane Eyre, but the dead Rebecca is much more vividly alive in Manderley than the madwoman in Mr Rochester's attic ever is. She infuses every room with the strength of her personality, as our narrator flits through the house like a ghost, or like the lowliest little maid, afraid to touch anything. Beautiful and vibrant, no-one who knew Rebecca remained untouched – it seems to Mrs de W2 that everyone adored her, some to the point of obsession. Even Mrs de W2's beloved dog Jasper was Rebecca's dog first. Gradually Mrs de W2 begins to think that Maxim made a mistake in marrying her – that he's still in love with Rebecca. And then one day, a storm leads to the discovery of Rebecca's lost boat, and suddenly everything Mrs de W2 thinks she knows about Rebecca and her husband is turned on its head.

All three of the female characters in the book are brilliantly drawn; dead Rebecca, her glittering exterior hiding a more complex personality underneath, whom we only get to know through other people's memories of her; the housekeeper Mrs Danvers, whose grief for her first mistress makes her cold and cruel to the point of madness to the woman who has replaced her; and Mrs de W2 herself, a woman who seems to exist only to serve as an adjunct to people who need a doormat, moving from being the paid companion of a peevish and demanding elderly lady to becoming the unpaid companion of a peevish and bullying middle-aged man. I couldn't help but wonder if life with Mrs Van Hopper wouldn't have been more fun in the end.

Oh, I do apologise to Maxim fans! The first time I read the book many years ago, I'm sure I fell a little in love with Maxim myself. This time round, I wanted to slap him with the proverbial wet fish. He treats Mrs de W2 as just slightly lower down the social pecking order than Jasper the dog for most of the book. Granted, she kinda asks for it but she's only young. Too young, Maxim – too, too young for a man of your age! Patting a woman on the head, physically or metaphorically, is never a good idea – if you behaved like that to Rebecca no wonder she turned out as she did! Couldn't you have reassured Mrs de W2 – told her you loved her, maybe even called her by her name occasionally? Why were your tender little feelings so much more important than hers? Your behaviour at the party was a piece of shameful bullying and a man of your age should have shown more understanding, and a bit of kindness. And, you know what? Last time I forgave you for what you did. But not this time! You behaved abominably and you should have paid a higher price! And don't think you can wheedle your way back into my affections just by looking like Laurence Olivier...

Clearly my attitude to men who treat women like doormats has changed somewhat over the years! More seriously, though, the book gives a great picture of the relative positions of the genders at the time, especially how Rebecca's unconventional behaviour, which would have barely merited a raised eyebrow had she been a man, put her beyond the social pale as a woman. Du Maurier is just as incisive in her portrayal of the British class system in operation, with the squirearchy ready to build a defensive shield round one of their own regardless of his merits or otherwise.

But as always with du Maurier it's the atmosphere of growing tension that gives the book its true greatness. Even though we more or less know how it ends within the first two chapters, du Maurier holds enough secrets in reserve to ensure the reader is kept in suspense all the way through. The descriptive writing is fantastic, creating strong visual images and making both the house and grounds of Manderley become living things, playing their own role in the unfolding drama. If there's anyone left out there who hasn't already read this masterpiece of psychological suspense, then I highly recommend you grab it as soon as you can!

I part read/part listened to the book this time round, with the Audible audiobook narrated by Anna Massey. Her narration is very good – she has just the right kind of posh English accent for the subject matter, and every word is enunciated clearly. She does it as a straight reading; i.e., she doesn't “act” the parts, though she does differentiate the voices to some extent. I wasn't always totally thrilled by her “voices” - Maxim, for example, sounded a little gruffer than I would have gone for. But that's simply a matter of personal interpretation. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed her reading, and would look out for her as a narrator again.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse