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. Then this: "So that's settled, isn't it? 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. 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. Although du Maurier gave the second Mrs. I think she is simply every romantic woman who ever read this remarkable novel. Rebecca, directed by Alfred Hitchcock , is also my favorite film. Joan Fontaine brilliant as the second Mrs. This film was released in , 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. View all 18 comments. View all 17 comments.
There are so many reviews about this one that I have no idea what to write. I will just say that I regret not having read it earlier. I had it in my shortlist for about 3 years and for different reasons I kept postponing to start this dark and wonderful gothic mystery. Don't be like me! Read it now! View all 28 comments. Rebecca is just a great story that never gets old. Great characters, great writing View all 4 comments. Shelves: book-club , mystery , suspense-thriller , national-book-award-winner , read-in , anthony-award , romance , classic , audio-book , favorite-authors.
One of the best books I have ever read! This timeless classic is a masterpiece of mystery, romance, and suspense. A gothic tale of good versus evil. View all 77 comments. Like all great openings it captures our imagination and makes us want to read more. The rhythm is insistent, the mention of dreams intrigues us and the word "Manderley" echoes somewhere in our subconscious. We are already in danger of falling under Daphne Du Maurier's hypnotic spell. Generally regarded as Daphne du Maurier's masterpiece, Rebecca has never been out of print since it was first published in - a comparatively early novel.
A tempestuous gothic romance, it was an immediate success, making its author into a household name. The story of the mysterious, glamorous ex-wife, the mousy replacement, the brooding and brusque Maxim de Winter and all the intrigue and drama which circle around these three characters is too well-known to need repeating in precis here. Rebecca captured the feel of the age, drawing on the glamour of country society and the feeling of impending catastrophe that permeated the pre-war years. Du Maurier knew this society well, having been born into a wealthy family in London in She herself was a tomboy as a child however, and much preferred visiting the family's holiday home of Ferryside, to participating in London society.
All these threads of her life, and many others, come together in this masterly novel. Many people love its high romanticism, but Daphne du Maurier became irritated over the years with people calling it a romantic novel. She insisted that it was in part "a study in jealousy" and also a depiction of a powerful man and a weak woman.
Our first introduction to Manderley comes when the narrator is also approaching the estate for the first time. It is an ominous journey, laden with foreboding, "This drive twisted and turned as a serpent, scarce wider in places than a path, and above our heads was a great colonnade of trees, whose branches nodded and intermingled with each other Even the midday sun would not penetrate the interlacing of those green leaves, they were too thickly entwined, one with another.
She has a far calmer view, describing, "a thing of beauty, exquisite and faultless, lovelier even than I had ever dreamed, built in its hollow of smooth grassland and mossy lawns, the terraces sloping to the gardens, and the gardens to the sea. She looks through the window observing, "a hurrying cloud hid the sun for a moment as I watched, and the sea changed colour instantly, becoming black, and the white crests were then very pitiless suddenly, and cruel. Menabilly had been empty for 20 years; it was totally covered with ivy and in a terrible state of decay at this time, but Du Maurier was determined to to live there one day.
She had taken her three young children trespassing in the grounds a couple of years earlier, and apparently they all peered through the broken windows as she kissed the house and told them it was her favourite place. The family were living in "Ferryside", in Fowey, about four miles away. She did subsequently manage to lease Menabilly for 20 years, arranging all the renovations herself and the family moved there. It came as a great shock to her when many years later as an old woman she was told to leave the house she loved. But that is another story. The actual setting of Manderley also mirrors the setting of Menabilly, which is hidden away in the woods by the Gribbin Head outside Fowey.
Manderley has such presence in the novel that the reader senses it more as a character than a place. In fact in many of Du Maurier's works places are more important than people. While she was in Egypt, she had even confessed to missing Menabilly more than her two children. Her husband, a commanding officer in the Grenadier Guards, was stationed in Alexandria, and this is where she wrote the first rough draft of Rebecca. In she returned home - not to Menabilly yet, but to "Ferryside", which the Du Maurier family bought in the 's, and which is still the family home to this day.
Manderley was also partly based on Milton Hall in Cambridgeshire, which Du Maurier visited in her youth. It was here she conceived the character of Mrs Danvers, after seeing a tall dark housekeeper there. The insidiously malevolent character of Mrs Danvers is an extraordinary creation, with her white "skull's face" and her obsession with Rebecca. Another twisted, tortured and essentially broken character, who nevertheless exercises a powerful hold over weaker personalities, "I shall never forget the expression on her face, loathsome, triumphant.
She stood there, smiling at me. And who apparently signed "Jan Ricardo" with a dramatic great R - a portentous curlicue that is emulated in the book, "The name Rebecca stood out black and strong, the tall and sloping R dwarfing the other letters. Daphne Du Maurier herself was notoriously shy and withdrawn.
She writes herself into the story as the unconfident narrator. The fact that this viewpoint character is nameless and almost anonymous has always intrigued readers of the novel. The most obvious interpretation is that the second timid Mrs de Winter had such a low self-image that she becomes a mere shadow.
The truth is rather more prosaic. Du Maurier couldn't think what to call the character at first, and so she didn't call her anything. As the novel progressed it became a challenge. And at some point presumably, she realised that the lack of a name cleverly symbolised the character's lack of self-worth. We do know that the narrator is "not yet 21" , as a contrast to Maxim's given age of 42, and she went to a fairly well-to-do boarding school. We even have glimpses of the narrator's name, which tempts us to believe that at some point it may be revealed to us.
There is a reference early on to her name on an envelope being spelled correctly; that it is a rare occurrence. And Maxim says, "You have a very lovely and unusual name Alfred Hitchcock memorably made an Oscar-winning film of Rebecca in His casting of Laurence Olivier, who immortalised the moody figure of Maxim, was perfect in Du Maurier's opinion. Her overall view of the film may not have been quite so favourable, however.
Subsequent versions tend to stay closer to the plot, but in this initial film, Daphne Du Maurier's ending was considered far too shocking and "immoral" for the audiences of the time, with the perpetrator of a serious crime escaping justice, and so it was changed. Interestingly, in the Hitchcock film, the whole crew called her "Daphne" on the shoot, although the character is written as "I" in the script. Hitchcock's was the start of many dramatisations and adaptations of the novel; its popularity continues even now.
There has even, perhaps surprisingly, been a musical, an overblown pantomime-styled adaptation by all accounts, where Mrs Danvers was "boooed" every time she came on to the stage. Maxim de Winter, viewed through the eyes of the woman who loves him, is an enigmatic character. In fact Rebecca is heavily in debt to "Jane Eyre" , with one crucial dramatic scene at the end lifted in its entirety.
Maxim de Winter has all the desirable features of a typical masculine Victorian hero; he is handsome, heroic, but also very irritable. His proposal of marriage to his second wife consists in him snapping out the words, "I'm asking you to marry me, you little fool". Essentially he is a haunted and very private character. The narrator despairs, as he calls her "my sweet child" or "my good child" when he particularly wants to patronise or scold her.
On one occasion she notes gloomily, "The smile was my reward. Like a pat on the head for Jasper. Good dog then, lie down, don't worry me any more. Not the right sort of knowledge Listen my sweet There is a certain type of knowledge I prefer you not to have. Actually, such jarring notes are much more noticable in Du Maurier's novels where the viewpoint character is female. The author said herself that she felt much more comfortable writing male characters.
She even went so far as to say that she felt herself to be a man in a woman's body. Nevertheless, even though in general female characters are possibly not portrayed as convincingly as male ones in Du Maurier's stories, in this particular case it does work. Rebecca is a highly charged novel, and such portrayals and attitudes need to be viewed as being within the mores and context of this type of novel, observing its conventions.
It is essentially a gothic melodrama, redolent with grotesque characters such as Mrs Danvers, and to a lesser degree the appalling Mrs Van Hopper, the shallow spoilt wealthy woman to whom the second Mrs de Winter was a companion at the start of the novel. And as such, it also contains as a counter-weight, the sort of heroes and heroines we might also associate with a previous century, "They suffered because they could not break out from their own web of shyness and reserve, and in their blindness and folly built up a great distorted wall in front of them that hid the truth.
It is very uneven and exaggerated, with the viewpoint character being completely tongue-tied with him, and increasingly cowed and made neurotic by her perception of her predecessor. She could talk to his legal advisor Frank Crawley, or his sister Beatrice, about Rebecca, with no such qualms. But not with her husband, "He did not belong to me at all, he belonged to Rebecca. He still thought about Rebecca. He would never love me because of Rebecca. She was in the house still Rebecca was still mistress of Manderley. Rebecca was still Mrs de Winter. I had no business here at all Rebecca would never grow old.
Rebecca would always be the same. And her I could not fight. She was too strong for me. Sometimes the threat is such as this, a sense of Rebecca; sometimes Mrs Danvers.
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Other times it is Manderley itself. And sometimes the sensations are blended, so that Manderley and Mrs Danvers almost become one. At other times, the narrator has moments of happiness, such as this time, shortly before a fancy dress ball, full of optimism at the exciting forthcoming event. She describes Manderley thus, "the drawing-room, formal and cold to my consideration when we were alone, was a blaze of colour The old austerity had gone. Manderley had come alive in a fashion I would not have believed possible.
It was not the still quiet Manderley I knew. There was a certain significance about it now that had not been before. A reckless air, rather triumphant, rather pleasing. It was as if the house remembered other days, long long ago. A fog was rolling up from the sea and I could not see the woods beyond the bank. It was very hot, very oppressive The sun had gone in now beyond a wall of mist. It was as though a blight had fallen upon Manderley taking the sky away and the light of day The dark trees loomed thin and indistinct The mist in the trees had turned to moisture and dripped upon my bare head like a thin rain.
The clammy oppression of the day The overwhelming aura of, "Rebecca with her beauty, her charm, her breeding," permeates the entire book. Yet Rebecca never appears. Not once. It is unique of its kind. Not only because of that, but also because "Rebecca" is ostensibly the heroine of the book; its title character.
She makes her presence felt solely through the narrator - who had never even met her. It is a book which can be read on many levels, and is open to different interpretations, as many great works are. Take the opening sentence, whose hypnotic rhythm I referred to at the start of this review.
Have you noticed the structure? It is an iambic hexameter there are 6 lengths - 6 "di-dahs" which along with the iambic pentameter 5 lengths is often used in English poetry and plays. Was this deliberate? Was it subliminal? For a moment I wondered if the author's own name, "Daphne Du Maurier" becomes an iambic hexameter if you double it up. To echo that would perfectly demonstrate to me how much of herself she puts into her novels. But in fact it becomes a dactylic tetrameter the dactylic poetic foot being one stressed followed by two unstressed ie "dum-di-di".
Nevertheless, to use such a structure shows her feelings and deep love for poetic language. The are myriads of details which can be analysed and seen as portents. Take the instance of Beatrice's wedding present to the new bride - a set of books. They fall, due to the viewpoint character's clumsiness, thus breaking a small cupid ornament - which itself was a wedding present to the first Mrs de Winter.
Here the symbolism is overt. The are two "paths" which the narrator can take - both figuratively and literally. One is called "Happy Valley" , the other That tangle of shrubs there should be cut down to bring light to the path. It was dark much too dark. That naked eucalyptus tree stifled by branches looked like the white bleached limb of a skeleton, and there was a black earthy stream running beneath it, choked with the muddied rains of years, trickling silently to the beach below.
The birds did not sing here as they did in the valley. It was quiet in a different way. In other parts of the novel she will use extremely short sentences - not even complete sentences in some cases - to heighten the mood and add a jerkiness and breathlessness to a dramatic situation. There is a very marked instance of this about two thirds the way through the novel after a big "reveal". It is a highly charged emotional episode, and after this the characters behave in a slightly different way, both towards each other and to everyone else, because of their experience.
In certain descriptive passages Du Maurier's language is extremely poetic.
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The feeling that Manderley is a character rather than just a building, garden and estate was touched on earlier in this review. Manderley is overwhelmingly an organic presence. Much use is made of the pathetic fallacy throughout the novel. Nature is always described as taking on the attributes and feelings of the person experiencing it. Is this deliberate too?
Or merely a reflection of what the author felt - her passionate reaction to her beloved Nature in all its apparent moods; Cornwall's unpredictable sea, the cliffs, the gardens and the house. This quote is typical of the overall feeling of threat and tension in this novel, "The weather had not broken yet.
It was still hot, oppressive. The air was full of thunder and there was rain behind the white dull sky, but it did not fall. I could feel it, and smell it, pent up there, behind the clouds. Yet it could be argued that she was still to write her best works. I personally feel she has honed her skills to an even greater and subtler level with that one. Here is a link to my review of it. However, whatever you judge to be the case as regards literary worth, this is a compelling book which once read is never forgotten.
Daphne Du Maurier has invested a great deal of herself in this novel - her personality, her own obsessions and her experiences. It is an excellent read on any level, with tension, high drama, intrigue and tragedy. There are a couple of very ingenious twists. And the characters and places have cunningly filtered their way into the public's consciousness as those in all great works do. View all 79 comments. Nature had come into her own again and, little by little, in her stealthy, insidious way had encroached upon the drive with long, tenacious fingers.
The woods, always a menace even in the past, had triumphed in the end. In her dream, our narrator is remembering the long, serpentine drive, not when it was beautiful and alive with flowers, but at another time when she was frightened. Du Maurier describes both the beauty and the terror of life at Manderley, and she never seems to repeat herself in her many descriptions of the gardens, the woods, the clothes, the weather.
Our narrator tells us how she came to be there all those years ago. She was in Monte Carlo as the paid companion of an older American woman, a terrible gossip and name dropper. Scenes with her are quite amusing. Van Hopper spotted Maxim de Winter at the hotel where they were staying and managed to get him to their table so she could pump him for gossip. He made a few slightly sarcastic remarks which went right over Mrs. They say he never talks about it, never mentions her name. She was drowned you know, in the bay near Manderley.
When Mrs Van Hopper fell ill and was ordered to bed for a couple of weeks, Mr de Winter invited our girl out to sightsee and he obviously found her refreshing. An impossible woman to live up to. That kind of crying, deep into a pillow, does not happen after we are twenty-one. The throbbing head, the swollen eyes, the tight, contracted throat. And the wild anxiety in the morning to hide all traces from the world, sponging with cold water, dabbing eau-de-Cologne, the furtive dash of powder that is significant in itself.
The panic, too, that one might cry again, the tears swelling without control, and a fatal trembling of the mouth lead one to disaster. It was pretty much beyond our young woman as well. As for Max, he was kind and caring, but distracted, and she felt he loved her kind of absent-mindedly, the same way he loved the dogs.
He often kissed her on the top of the head or patted her on the top of the head the way he patted the dogs. Mrs Danvers, the rather frightening head of the household, referred constantly to the former Mrs de Winter, Rebecca, she of the firm, sloping handwriting featuring a sweeping capital R, who was obviously one of the most beautiful women anyone had ever seen.
Absolutely everyone said so. She found odd rooms locked and unused, other rooms obviously looking lived in — but by whom? And she found doors and windows opened with drafts blowing through the halls. One does need to keep staff on their toes. View all 55 comments. Shelves: favorites , , , classics , mysteries-thrillers-horror. Books like Rebecca 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, Rebecca is very reminiscent of another favorite book of mine - Jane Eyre. 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 Rebecca remind me from time to time what quality literature really is.
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 Daphne du Maurier 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. Daphne du Maurier succeeds once more.
The main character is very compelling and her fears are palpable.
Rebecca (TV Mini-Series – ) - IMDb
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? Danvers, and taunted by the memories of the first possibly superior wife. Rebecca 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 Gone With the Wind , Jane Eyre , Pride and Prejudice , Wuthering Heights , and The Thorn Birds.
View all 25 comments. 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. 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. 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. I really liked this book. Its plot was similar to Jane Eyre , 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. View all 27 comments. Mar 03, Samra Yusuf rated it it was amazing Shelves: historical-fiction. A misery…. As I was reading this deservingly classic of Daphne, I was rendered dumbfounded to know the narrator of story, I felt her, the gibberish talk she made, the imaginary conversations she constructed, the stories she weaved, the presuppositional element of her nature, the naivety in seeing things and believing them to be the way they looked, the desperation to make things right and in that haste, making them unrepair -ably wrong….
Manderely,a character more than a place has its own charms and alarms. The Gothic air throughout the story keeps the senses of reader alert and anticipating something apparently with no link to the events themselves as the story progresses, I was sold by the beauty of her craft, and ingenuousness of the plot ,It truly has stand the test of time, Rebecca the nightmare of the narrator,Rebecca the woman loved by many and married by one, Rebecca the kind and cruel who haunts the narrator is the inheritor of so many classics of this genre..
We never want to be loved, as much as we want to be trusted! And the lines say her mind: "He did not belong to me at all, he belonged to Rebecca. Rebecca, always Rebecca But 5 stars…a tribute to Lady who lived!
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View all 37 comments. I originally became interested in Rebecca because I noticed its place on the Great American Reads list. Though I have no intentions of reading every entry on that list ahem, 50 Shades? Then it came to my attention that this novel was adapted into a film by Alfred Hitchcock in That gave me the notion that maybe there was darker side to this story than I originally believed, and boy was I right about that! Whether it be a delectable meal served on a veranda in Monte Carlo or a walk through the flowering gardens of Manderley, I felt completely absorbed in the details of each scene.
In short, I have felt myself spinning completely out of control for the sake of another person. Maybe for this reason, I feel as though Mrs. Everyone knows how awful it feels when that sickly bloom of doubt takes root in your gut.
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This story exemplifies those horrific human experiences, packaging them up in a deceivingly lovely, atmospheric novel. View all 20 comments. May 25, Felicia rated it it was amazing. Wow, what an absorbing experience! A true gothic romance, it's one of those books you just fall into and luxuriate. The tension in it is almost physical, smothering at times. It builds and builds so painfully perfect, I was sure my chest would explode before I got to the end.
Never before have I come across a book that never tells you the main characters age But because of the exquisite prose you get to know her so intimately, I Wow, what an absorbing experience! But because of the exquisite prose you get to know her so intimately, I was completely absorbed in her thoughts, what she sees and feels.
THIS is what a good book does to you, for people that don't read I almost feel sorry for you for I wouldn't give up this feeling for anything. I've found out that Alfred Hitchcock made a movie of this book and I can't think of a better pairing, this story was made for the Hitchcock touch. I can't wait to see his translation, maybe it will help me curb the nagging need to reread the book immediately!
It's been a long time since I've added a book to my favorites of all time and this story has taken it's spot, hell, it deserves it's own shelf. And then going out and telling ten other people about the incredible experience. That happened to me upon reading Rebecca. After all, it was published in and has never gone out of print. More to the point, I was not ignorant of its existence.
I knew that Hitchcock directed a film version. And I knew those famous opening lines, quoted above. Nothing I knew about the book, however, encouraged me to pick it up. The title is innocuous. That opening line is meaningless. What the hell is Manderley? Somehow, though, after reading some list or another — I believe it was a list of books to read after Gone Girl — a tattered, used copy of Rebecca ended up on my shelf.
Then one night it ended up on my bedside table. The rest is history. Very very very very very very very small and unimportant history. Rebecca is the story of the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter and is told in the first-person from her point of view. When the novel begins, the second Mrs.
She begins a lengthy reminiscence about her time in Monte Carlo, playing maidservant to an American woman. It is there she meets the wealthy Maximilian de Winter, the man who owns the famous and beautiful Cornish estate called Manderley. At Manderley, the second Mrs. The first is the estate itself, Manderley. Both the house and the surrounding grounds are described in rich, reverent detail. The place has a haunting grip on Maxim de Winter, and soon sinks its hooks into the second Mrs. The second major character — the one who is actually a live human being — is the sly, ominous head maid, Mrs.
She presides over an immaculate, unused portion of the household, with a view of the sea. The third major character is a memory. She is the first Mrs. Though Rebecca is already dead when the second Mrs. Danvers, on Maxim, on just about everyone she came into contact with, continuously stalks the second Mrs. One of the great joys of reading this book is that I didn't know the ending.
Rebecca came to me as an absolute unknown, with only a vague title and a renowned first line. Well, I will say this. Rebecca starts slow. I feel compelled to say this because after I finished — and loved — it, I started recommending the thing left and right. Certain of my friends, trusting my judgment, took me up on the suggestion, and immediately started giving me sidelong glances. Keep reading , I said. At a certain point, the languorous pacing, the uncertain narrative arc, snaps into place like a bear trap.
All at once, the methodical plodding gives way to piano-wire suspense. I was tearing through pages at a fantastic rate, nearly skimming. This is the kind of novel that makes your eyes want to cheat over to the right-hand page while the left remains unread. Even Daphne du Maurier had problems with it. My edition of the novel includes an alternate ending, as well as an essay from the author describing the changes. I say this because the same friends who gave me sidelong glances during the early portions of the novel resurrected those glances when they reached the end.
It can also be said that du Maurier writes beautifully. Though her narrator is never really defined as a person — never given a name, even — she is strikingly distinct. You can trace a line, I think, between the second Mrs. The mystery that du Maurier unveils is peeled carefully, with great precision, so that when you finish, certain parts bear rereading. Du Maurier is also wonderful at creating a sense of place that is both beautiful and foreboding: The sky, now overcast and sullen, so changed from the early afternoon, and the steady, insistent rain could not disturb the quietude of the valley; the rain and the rivulet mingled with one another, and the liquid note of the blackbird fell upon the damp air in harmony with them both.
I brushed the dripping heads of the azaleas as I passed, so close they grew together, bordering the path. Little drops of water fell on to my hands from the soaked petals. There were petals at my feet too, brown and sodden, bearing their scent upon them still, and a richer, older scent as well, the smell of deep moss and bitter earth, the stems of bracken, and the twisted roots of trees.
The spell of the Happy Valley was upon me. This at last was the core of Manderley, the Manderley I would know and learn to love. The first drive was forgotten, the black, herded woods, the glaring rhododendrons, luscious and over-proud. And the vast house too, the silence of that echoing hall, the uneasy stillness of the west wing, wrapped in dust sheet. There I was an interloper, wandering in rooms that did not know me, sitting at a desk and in a chair that was not mine.
Here it was different. The Happy Valley knew no trespassers. We came to the end of the path, and the flowers formed an archway above our heads.
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Having finished, the tagline makes no more sense than before. How can you sell a book like this, a book in which the title character is a figurative ghost and is literally quite dead? So, trust me. View all 6 comments. Oh my Her constant ruminations and daydreams really set the tone it's a real trip getting to be inside her head with all her naive neurotic thoughts, which often get carried away and make for a compelling read. It follows the main unnamed character when she moves to Manderley with her new husband, from the beginning she is aware that she lives in the shadow of the former Oh my It follows the main unnamed character when she moves to Manderley with her new husband, from the beginning she is aware that she lives in the shadow of the former mistress of Manderley Although Rebecca is dead it appears that her shadow is everywhere, her haunting presence becomes a nightmare for the new Mrs de Winter.
The plot thickens and there is a little twist added. Oh and how I loved the wonderful vivid descriptions of Manderley, the dark gloomy gothic setting, it's all wonderfully evocative and the slow sinister mood that creeps in is just delicious. The ending also for me was spot on. I'm so glad I finally got around to reading this book and know why it's considered such a classic!
View all 32 comments. Maximilian Maxim de Winter is a sad English widower, at 42, living an aimless life, traveling to forget, but can't, staying in a Monte Carlo hotel, Manderley Maximilian Maxim de Winter is a sad English widower, at 42, living an aimless life, traveling to forget, but can't, staying in a Monte Carlo hotel, just before W W 2, that has had better days. His face too revealing, showing the tragic situation he must face. A young lady half his age, is working for the implacable, unfeeling American, Mrs.
Van Hopper, a middle aged woman, as a paid companion, servant and punching bag. Two souls, Max and the girl, who need comfort, happiness and yes, love, in this brutal world, they find each other and hope arrives. A quick marriage Mrs. Van Hopper is amazed , a short honeymoon in Venice, and they're back after a few weeks, in their native England, the wild coast, of Cornwall, in the southwest of the country, far from busy, noisy, polluted, London.
A quiet, hidden place, clean, too, where nothing occurs, enormous Manderley, centuries old, the home of the de Winter's family, for many generations, surrounded by thick, impenetrable woods, exotic flowers, exquisite butterflies playing in the air, beautiful green lawns, colorful birds singing sweetly, the fragrant winds blowing from the nearby sea, fishing boats traversing the horizon. Danvers the evil looking housekeeper, the Keeper of the Flame, takes an immediate dislike of the second Mrs.
The bold, intelligent beauty, the prettiest woman in the area, Rebecca, loved by all. There are disturbing secrets kept deep in Manderley, where the bride often loses her way, not spoken about by the servants and friends of Maxim, he often disappears into himself, what is he thinking about, Rebecca? How can the new, awkward bride, compete with a phantom, without any weaknesses? Beatrice, Maxim's talkative sister, knows things but will not tell them to the second Mrs. Danvers, his friend, for receiving him at Manderley. Walking on a pebble beach below the house, with her only friend, the constantly amusing, faithful, family dog, which she had tirelessly followed, Jasper, to the tiny harbor where Rebecca's small boat was last anchored, before being lost at sea, in an "accident".
Ben a retarded man of the neighborhood, is there too, speaking gibberish but is it, or more dark secrets, divulged, she the bride sees a cottage falling into ruin, that Maxim avoids, the curious girl enters, finds many of Rebecca's things lying around, always objects that remind her, she will never be the real Mrs. If I found myself in Interstellar's tesseract by a quirk of fate, then chances are I might leave a coded message for my younger self to read Rebecca asap.
Since my ill-informed, younger self was not put off by cloyingly sentimental narrators who make the experience of 'tell don't show' all the more grating or the gender politics underpinning a work, her reaction to the book would have been more in tune with the multitude of gushing reviews on GR and elsewhere. My heart, for all its anxiety and d If I found myself in Interstellar's tesseract by a quirk of fate, then chances are I might leave a coded message for my younger self to read Rebecca asap. My heart, for all its anxiety and doubt, was light and free. I knew then that I was no longer afraid of Rebecca.
I did not hate her any more. Now that I knew her to have been evil and vicious and rotten I did not hate her any more. She could not hurt me. Rebecca's saving grace is the authorial decision to leave the immature, young bride of Maxim de Winter nameless let's call her Mary Lu shall we? Everything else the book conjures up in the name of mystery and imagery and Gothic spookiness left me cold and distinctly unmoved - the efforts at creating a sinister environment shrouded in mystery, governed by hidden malignant forces, the detailing of Manderley's extravagantly decorated interiors, primly maintained gardens and beaches, the stilted characterization, the yawn-inducing, uneventful plot progression.
Rebecca, the erstwhile mistress of Manderley, served as my only incentive to plod on. And yet the sole character with the kind of layered complexity that would have made the reading of this worthwhile is pigeonholed as a vamp and denied her humanity just so the second Mrs de Winter could have her existence validated in the end. Rebecca's crime? Adultery, being secure in the knowledge of her sexual prowess, possible animal cruelty, projecting a rock-solid self will, and possessing a domineering persona which brings the lilliputian stature of the rest of the two-dimensional characters in focus with embarrassing clarity.
Her punishment? All the while one wishes for Mary Lu to grow a spine and a tongue capable of intelligent speech. But it is only after her husband confesses to never loving Rebecca that she starts to develop confidence in herself. As if Rebecca's entire self worth is hinged on her husband's opinion of her and the mere possibility of Mary Lu's being the sole recipient of Maxim de Winter's 'love' and approval makes her a much worthier person than Rebecca.
On top of this obnoxious insinuation that the naive protagonist's self determination is and should be dependent on how she measures up to Rebecca in terms of 'feminine virtue' , du Maurier makes her inexplicably impervious to the gravity of a murder confession. The narrator also never doubts the legitimacy of her husband's right to escape conviction by law for a terrible crime. So basically, the Cinderella-stand-in's character growth comes at the cost of implicit character assassination of Rebecca and all that she stood for.
And this is exactly the kind of subliminal sexism woven into a plot that sets my teeth on edge. Further, a woman's murder is normalized on the assumption that she provoked her assailant into doing it when the provocation is only of a psychological nature, not the physical kind which may vindicate aggression to fend off an attacker. So Rebecca, all your mystery-horror-suspense shenanigans and vacuous, banal philosophizing may have counted as literary merit in my eyes had I read you five years ago.
I'm much too jaded to like you anymore though. View all 83 comments. Rachel Anderson I don't understand why people hate this book because the girl and Maxim are unlikable. Nasty people exist; why shouldn't authors write about them? Oth I don't understand why people hate this book because the girl and Maxim are unlikable. Otherwise, books would be a boring utopia. About "normalizing" Rebecca's murder: was it really normalized?
Do you truly believe that a man who killed his first wife and was a condescending jerk to his second one is supposed to be romantic? The "romance" is in the girl's head. The girl is not in a healthy relationship. Maxim is not a good person. Rebecca did not deserve to die just for acting like a year-old. I think it would help to try it again, but this time reading between the lines. Bekah Deakle While I loved the book, I can appreciate your review! Well done. Jun 24, PM. So, how many times have you read Rebecca? Once, twice or no longer remember the numbers like me!!
You have never read it!!!!! If there is one book that one has to read, this is the one. The padlocked gate opens and you follow the long drive when you suddenly — Manderley…….. There was Manderley, our Manderley, secretive and silent as it had always been, the gray stone shining in the moonlight of my dream, the mullioned windows reflecting the green lawns and terrace. Time could not wreck the perfect symmetry of those walls, nor the site itself, a jewel in the hollow of a hand.
She agrees to marry him after a quick courtship and he then takes her to his home, Manderley, where the presence of his dead wife, Rebecca, still lives and kept alive by the evil and manipulative housekeeper, Mrs Danvers. You wouldn't think she'd been gone so long, would you? Sometimes, when I walk along the corridor, I fancy I hear her just behind me. That quick light step, I couldn't mistake it anywhere. It's not only in this room, it's in all the rooms in the house. I can almost hear it now. Do you think the dead come back and watch the living? Why don't you leave Manderley?
He doesn't need you He doesn't love you, he wants to be alone again with her. You've nothing to stay for. You've nothing to live for really, have you? We none of us want you. He doesn't want you, he never did. He can't forget her. He wants to be alone in the house again, with her.
It's you that ought to be lying there in the church crypt, not her. It's you who ought to be dead, not Mrs. Mrs Danvers is an unforgettable villainess…. Danvers to the present Mrs de Winter…. He never loved you, so why go on living? Jump and it will all be over Her damned shadow keeping us from one another. How could I hold you like this, my darling, my little love, with the fear always in my heart that this would happen? I remembered her eyes as she looked at me before she died.
I remembered that slow treacherous smile. She knew this would happen even then. She knew she would win in the end. I was looking at you, thinking of nothing else all through lunch. It's gone forever, that funny, young, lost look that I loved. It won't come back again. I killed that too, when I told you about Rebecca. It's gone, in twenty-four hours. You are so much older The road to Manderley lay ahead. We all of us have our particular devil who rides us and torments us, and we must give battle in the end.
It will stay with you forever!!! View all 35 comments. More o Readers also enjoyed. Videos About This Book. More videos About Daphne du Maurier. Daphne du Maurier. If Daphne du Maurier had written only Rebecca , she would still be one of the great shapers of popular culture and the modern imagination. Few writers have created more magical and mysterious places than Jamaica Inn and Manderley, buildings invested with a rich character that gives them a memorable life of their own. In many ways the life of Daphne du Maurier resembles a fairy tale. Born into a fami If Daphne du Maurier had written only Rebecca , she would still be one of the great shapers of popular culture and the modern imagination.
Born into a family with a rich artistic and historical background, the daughter of a famous actor-manager, she was indulged as a child and grew up enjoying enormous freedom from financial and parental restraint. She spent her youth sailing boats, travelling on the Continent with friends, and writing stories. A prestigious publishing house accepted her first novel when she was in her early twenties, and its publication brought her not only fame but the attentions of a handsome soldier, Major later Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick Browning, whom she married. Her subsequent novels became bestsellers, earning her enormous wealth and fame.
While Alfred Hitchcock's film based upon her novel proceeded to make her one of the best-known authors in the world, she enjoyed the life of a fairy princess in a mansion in Cornwall called Menabilly, which served as the model for Manderley in Rebecca. Daphne du Maurier was obsessed with the past. She intensively researched the lives of Francis and Anthony Bacon, the history of Cornwall, the Regency period, and nineteenth-century France and England.
Above all, however, she was obsessed with her own family history, which she chronicled in Gerald: A Portrait , a biography of her father; The du Mauriers , a study of her family which focused on her grandfather, George du Maurier, the novelist and illustrator for Punch; The Glassblowers , a novel based upon the lives of her du Maurier ancestors; and Growing Pains , an autobiography that ignores nearly 50 years of her life in favour of the joyful and more romantic period of her youth.
Daphne du Maurier can best be understood in terms of her remarkable and paradoxical family, the ghosts which haunted her life and fiction. While contemporary writers were dealing critically with such subjects as the war, alienation, religion, poverty, Marxism, psychology and art, and experimenting with new techniques such as the stream of consciousness, du Maurier produced 'old-fashioned' novels with straightforward narratives that appealed to a popular audience's love of fantasy, adventure, sexuality and mystery.
At an early age, she recognised that her readership was comprised principally of women, and she cultivated their loyal following through several decades by embodying their desires and dreams in her novels and short stories. In some of her novels, however, she went beyond the technique of the formulaic romance to achieve a powerful psychological realism reflecting her intense feelings about her father, and to a lesser degree, her mother. But her predictions of poor sales were inaccurate.
Rebecca was a bestseller; 80 years on it still shifts around 4, copies a month. She believed Rebecca was about jealousy, and that all the relationships in it — including the marriage between De Winter and his shy second wife — were dark and unsettling. Though she was beautiful, she had never wanted to participate in the masquerade of femininity. She dressed in shorts and ties and spent most of her time pretending to be her alter ego, Eric Avon, the splendid, shining captain of cricket at Rugby. This hidden boy exploded into the light in , when Du Maurier met and fell in love with Ellen Doubleday , the wife of her US publisher, and the addressee of the letter in which these revelations were made.
Her feelings were not reciprocated, but they opened the gates for a later affair with Gertrude Lawrence, an actor with whom her father had also been involved. The word transgender was not yet in common currency. Actually she felt she was a boy, very much in love, and stuck in the wrong body. At the same time — perhaps pragmatically, perhaps not — she was a woman committed to staying married to her husband. She was by no means the only writer to feel herself two things at once. Many critics have caught a similar note in Ernest Hemingway, who often wrote about sex as a place in which genders could be temporarily and blissfully exchanged.
Virginia Woolf, too, experienced herself as protean, slipping between sexes; her gender-shifting, time-distorting romp Orlando gave voice to her feelings for her lover Vita Sackville-West. The narrator repeatedly casts herself as an androgyne. The full heat of her desire is for Rebecca. She speculates about what her body might have looked like: her height and slenderness, the way she wore her coat slung lazily over her shoulders, the colour of her lipstick, her elusive scent, like the crushed petals of azaleas. Mrs Danvers serves as a much more obvious proxy for Venetian tendencies.
She was embodying closeted lesbian realness even before Judith Anderson catapulted her into the high camp stratosphere in the Hitchcock film. Manderley was based on Menabilly, an abandoned house near Fowey in Cornwall, which had bewitched Du Maurier as a girl. Like Manderley, Menabilly was strangely elusive. After she returned from Egypt, she managed to lease it from the owner and remained based there for most of her life. But she never quite possessed it, and in she was expelled after years of legal battles. Though she could still walk its grounds, Mena was as lost to her as if it had been swallowed in a fire.
When, in , her husband had a breakdown and was discovered to have been having two affairs concurrently, Du Maurier wrote a long letter to a friend, in which she speculated about how her own life had become entangled with the plot of her most famous book. Was her husband identifying her with Rebecca, she wondered, and her writing hut with the sinister cottage on the beach? Would he shoot her in a blind access of rage, and take her body out in Yggie, their beloved boat?
She was under a great deal of stress at the time, but the fantasy aligned with her feelings about the oddities of time, how it seemed to run simultaneously, so that the distant past sometimes came very close, or repeated in inexplicable ways. She explored this in novel after time-slip novel, from her debut The Loving Spirit to The House on the Strand , in which a young man takes an experimental drug that allows him to view events taking place in his own house in the 14th century. The haunted house on the Strand is rather like a Du Maurier book in its own right.
Her novels are storehouses in which she deposited emotions, memories and fantasies.