Monday, 28 October 2013

Halloween Reads: Review for Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier.

Book: Rebecca

Author: Daphne Du Maurier

Pages: 441

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 days.

Plot Summary: Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.

Working as a lady's companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Her future looks bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Max de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamourous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding housekeeper, Mrs Danvers...

Not since Jane Eyre has a heroine faced such difficulty with the Other Woman. An international bestseller that has never gone out of print, Rebecca is the haunting story of a young girl consumed by love and the struggle to find her identity.

General Thoughts and Review: Unless you’ve lived under a giant planet-sized rock, you’ve heard about Rebecca. Or you’ve read it. Or seen the movies based on this timeless classic, there is the 1940 version directed by Alfred Hitchcock which is pretty amazing and very true to text. I know words like timeless classics are thrown around all the time but it is fitting to Rebecca. Whether you read it years ago, or now, it remains eternal.

The plot is simple enough; a rich man meets and falls in love with an orphan girl.  He brings her to her grand home and they are all set to begin their happily ever-after. Only if Max De Winter’s first wife- the enigmatic and glorious Rebecca would let them be. The entire household and the house itself seem to be rather obsessed with its former mistress, who died 10 months earlier. Our orphan girl never measures up and pales in comparison to Rebecca and in time she too gets caught up with trying to find out as much as she can about her husband’s first wife.

The world of Manderlay is steeped in mystery and a deep, dark sense of dread. The more we find out about Rebecca, the more you get pulled into her enigma and her life and her subsequent death. The atmosphere of the book is brilliant and Manderlay becomes a character in itself. While the death of Rebecca is the main mystery of the book, there are plenty other things that make this book such a magnificent read. The rest of book, including the new marriage and the tensions between the couple also make for interesting read.

If you are looking for a book that keeps you hooked and keeps you company on a cold, rainy night- this is the book for you. This is a perfect Halloween Read in my opinion, not outright frightening but dark enough to give you chills. The writing is great and I want to read more of Du Maurier’s writing.

The one critique I’ve had of this book was the second Mrs De Winters aka our narrator. I found her a little too meek. A little too insecure of herself, a little too easy to intimidate. I wish she’d had more spunk, a little more self-confidence. But given the kind of novel this is, she needs to be all these things for the story to move on. But there were times when I was reading this book that I wanted to reach in and shake her and tell her to act with a little more firmness! I also wish her husband, Max, would just snap out of it and give his second marriage and his new wife a real chance.

But even with its minor flaws, this book is brilliant and if you haven’t read it yet, pick it up. Even though a classic it is an easy enough read and is quite a quick read.

Rating: 5/5

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