28 Aug 2013

REVIEW: Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Title: Rebecca
Author: Daphne Du Maurier
Publication Date: January 30th 2003 (Originally published 1938)
Publisher: Virago Press Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pages: 441
Rating: 5/5
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.

With these words, the reader is ushered into an isolated gray stone mansion on the windswept Cornish coast, as the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter recalls the chilling events that transpired as she began her new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew. For in every corner of every room were phantoms of a time dead but not forgotten a past devotedly preserved by the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers: a suite immaculate and untouched, clothing laid out and ready to be worn, but not by any of the great house's current occupants. With an eerie presentiment of evil tightening her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter walked in the shadow of her mysterious predecessor, determined to uncover the darkest secrets and shattering truths about Maxim's first wife the late and hauntingly beautiful Rebecca.

This special edition of "Rebecca" includes excerpts from Daphne du Maurier's "The Rebecca Notebook and Other Memories," an essay on the real Manderley, du Maurier's original epilogue to the book, and more.
Review: ‘Rebecca’ is one of those classics that you don’t really hear much about anymore- sure there are people on the internet who adore this book but people my age, or at least people my age around here, generally have no idea that this book exists or any idea of very many classics at all. I love classics, I really do- but I hadn’t heard of this book either until my grandma recommended it to me. My grandma isn’t much of a reader anymore and she barely remembers all the books that she read when she was younger, but this book stood out in her memory. Now, I can see why and I have no doubt that when I reach her age that this book will remain in my memory.

From the very first line, I was drawn into this book and into Manderley and the lives of those who lived there. The first couple of chapters are so mysterious and I especially like how they are written after the events of the novel which is reasonably easy to tell, but you still have absolutely no idea what those events were. The lines between the past, present and future are all blurred within the book which, of course, makes it more interesting but I think it also adds to the beauty of the novel. The imagery within the book is so mindblowingly wonderful. Manderley was described so beautifully and carefully that it actually felt like I was walking through the haunting corridors and the beautiful gardens alongside Mrs de Winter.  

The plot of the novel is unbelievable- not in a bad sense, but in the way that it was so perfectly written. I didn’t see any of the twists coming until they happened and even afterwards, they still surprised me. I liked how each twist and turn was presented in the novel at exactly the right time- nothing seemed to rushed or too slow or like it was too forced- everything just flowed perfectly. Talking about perfect, I think the characters were all written exceptionally. Each character had their up and downs- I felt sorrier than anything for Mrs de Winter, but there were moments when I didn’t know whether I liked Maxim or hated him, as with Mrs Danvers- I both hated her and pitied her at the same time. Rebecca, herself, was one of the most difficult characters to decide on- every time I grew more sympathetic towards her, something would pull me back into disliking her and even with the end, I still couldn’t decide how I felt.

There are so, so many things that I could say about this book. Honestly, I just adored it so much and I’m really glad that I read it. I definitely think ‘Rebecca’ is one of those books that will stay with me for the rest of my life.