By Daphne du Maurier
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .
The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realises how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.
So many of my bookish friends have told me time and time again to read Rebecca and foolishly I ignored them for quite some time. Now after reading it I can see why they were so positive about this classic novel, what a story! I absolutely loved every page, word, character, plot line, suspense, climax everything! I haven’t read any classic literature this year so it was such a refreshing read and I literally can’t wait to re-read it time and time again this is on the same level as Jane Eyre but more spine chilling and with a great twist!
The narrator of the story is not named other than “The second Mrs de Winter”, who during a holiday in Monte Carlo meets an older gentleman who has recently been widowed Maxim de Winter. A few weeks of close companionship and Maxim asks for her hand in marriage. Mrs de Winter doesn’t particularly enjoy her life being bossed around by her superior so accepts happily and goes on her merry way to Manderly House, married and happy…but not for long.
She understands there was a Mrs de Winter before her, Rebecca and not until Mrs de Winter tries to settle into her new home does she realise that Rebecca’s presence is still very strong within the house, lingering and ominous a dark presence of her everyday life. The new Mrs de Winter just doesn’t feel comfortable in her new home especially with the head maid Mrs Danvers creeping about being sly, nasty and unwelcoming. Mrs de Winter soon realises that she is nothing like Rebecca, Rebecca was well liked, friendly, jovial, loved by all around her, everything she did was right and from maid, husband, gardener to friend they all adored her.Mrs de Winter becomes jealous, she feels like she can never be head mistress of the house, she is still being over shadowed by Rebecca even though she is dead.Mrs de Winter almost becomes obsessed with Rebecca she wants to know everything about her, she worries what everyone says about her and how they compare her to Rebecca, she worries Maxim doesn’t love her at all and still loves Rebecca. Her thoughts of Rebecca begin to consume her.
I felt this novel was really relatable, I definitely related with the wayMrs de Winter was over thinking and over analysing situations and people. How often do we all worry about how others think of us, but most of the time we get the wrong end of the stick just proving how your negative thoughts can over power reality. Her over thinking of her and her husbands relationship really stirred something in me as well, the way she over analysed him and blew things out of proportion is what I sometimes do. For example when Maxim goes away for a few days, she worries like crazy because he hasn’t called to say he is alright. I do exactly the same with my boyfriend, if he is on a night out I can’t sleep properly until he messages me that he is home or I worry and over thing and stress myself out.Mrs de Winter eventually gets the phone call that Maxim made it safely and I always get the “Home” text from my boyfriend. I just felt thatMrs de Winter personality was so relatable to me as I worry and obsess just like her. (I sound like a crazy person but I do over worry and stress over little things I can’t help it)
The gothic tale builds and builds in suspense and tension then the dramatic amazing climax at the end was amazing (I won’t give away spoilers). This book has excited me so much and I can’t believe I have left it so long before reading it. This has been a hard novel to review as I am bursting to write about so much! Definitely one of my favourite novels of all time.
Have you read Rebecca? Did you love it? Can you recommend any more Daphne Du Maurier books to me? Let me know your thoughts, I would love to hear from you. Katie x