by: Daphne du Maurier

Published: 1938 (Harper 2006)

# of pages: 386

Quote: “And time will melow it, make it a moment for laughter. But now it was not funny, now I did not laugh. It was not the future, it was the present. It was too vivid and too real.” -p. 222

I started reading this on Halloween. It’s a Gothic suspense, I think just perfect for being creeped out, but not too scared. And it’s true, this was a great suspense novel that kept me on my toes. Apparently this is a very well known book, but I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never heard of it before. Have you? There’s even an Alfred Hitchcock film based on the novel that I’m going to check out from the library tonight. I’ll let you know if it’s good!

The story follows a young lady who falls in love with a wealthy estate owner, Maxim. She hears rumors about how he’s been married before and although he admits it, he stays pretty quiet about the subject. He asks her to marry him and takes her back to his house, Manderley. The novel follows her as she adjusts to a new environment and the fact that Maxim had a beautiful and vibrant wife named Rebecca, who is still revered and respected by the household and their neighbors.

Mrs. Danvers is in charge of the household staff and is the creepy antagonist in the novel. The reader is constantly wondering what she’s really up to. Maxim is slightly oblivious to household affairs and so the narrator is left to herself to discover how deep Rebecca’s influence over Manderley is.

I had an idea of the big plot twist towards the beginning of the novel but then second guessed it. I think all readers will always be a step ahead of the narrator when it comes to some of the surprises she receives, but I think it’s safe to say that when the big plot twist occurs you will be surprised. And even after the big surprise the reader is still left wondering what will happen. There’s always a sense of dread throughout the book, even when things seem to be going well.

The narrator is sweet and timid with an overactive imagination. In some ways she reminds me of myself, especially how she makes up scenarios in her mind of what could happen. I’m glad to say that I’m not nearly so timid as she is. She’s painfully shy and there were times I wanted to go in the book and just encourage her to step out a little and not be so scared of upsetting people. However, I think her character was realistic and am glad du Maurier chose her personality type for a main character.

I recommend this book to everyone. It’s a well written classic that may be a little too serious for some young adults, but is great for high schoolers and adults.

5 thoughts on “Rebecca

  1. I loved this book. I’m so glad you did too, Andrea! As for the movie, I watched it before I read the book, many years ago, and I remember that they changed a few details of the ending, but other than that, it was a great adaptation. Very creepy and atmospheric, just like the book. I wonder if I’d think the same if I watched it again now.


  2. “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”Rebecca is one of my favorite books of all time! I’m so glad you read it and liked it. I first read it when I was in high school, but I have enjoyed it again since.I have seen that movie and think it is pretty good. The main character annoyed me a bit in the movie (although I agree with your assessment of her character in the book, and like her although she is timid).A few years ago I found a book by Sally Beauman called Rebecca’s Tale. Normally I don’t get into stuff like this but she wrote it as a follow-up to Rebecca. It’s kind of a fun read if you’d like to see the characters explored a little more but is by no means as good as the original. You might even think it ruins the story, but just thought I’d mention it.


  3. bkclubcare, I did like the movie! There were a few changes that I actually thought were unnecessary and took away from the story (like de Winter’s part in Rebecca’s death), but other than that it was a really cool visualization of the book.Nymeth, I actually wish I had watched the movie first. Even though it would have “spoiled” the book, there’s enough of a change about Rebecca’s death in the book that I still would have been surprised. And that surprise wouldn’t have bothered me as much as the fact that the movie changed Rebecca’s death to being accidental when it was really just plain murder!Stacey, I’m glad I read this book too! I had never heard of it and when my mom mentioned something about Manderley and I had no clue what she was talking about she was shocked. Now it’s one of my favorites too!The character annoyed me in the movie a little too. She cried a lot more than she did in the book. lol I just might check out Rebecca’s Tale! Thanks for letting me know. It sounds like a fun book to read!


  4. Don’t feel bad because I’ve never heard of this one either. It’s a shame because it sounds like a great read. I’ll definitely be adding this one to the TBR list.


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