Review: ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier

Hello again! This is only my second book review and already I have had such a great welcome to blogging, thank you to everyone who follows me!

This book review is for a book that I believe is often overlooked and understated (and not just because it’s by a woman, although that’s a debate for another day…). With classics such as ‘Jane Eyre’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice’ being constantly re-done in films and spoken about, I find it sad that this great author and book is often dismissed by literary critics. To me and my mum, saying the opening line of the book brings about as much fangirlling as saying ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.’ !

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

‘Rebecca’ is a mysterious, Gothic romance which incorporates vivid, beautiful description with breath-taking action. The book is told from the point of view of a woman, who is never named, and who marries a wealthy, older man named Mr de Winter, who has already been married once before to the mysterious Rebecca. She has now died but still haunts Mr de Winter’s new wife and their house, Manderley, through the formidable housekeeper and Rebecca’s former friend, Mrs Danvers. Mr de Winter’s new wife finds it difficult to fit into life at Manderley, married to a man who is as distant and mysterious as his late wife. As well as having to deal with Mrs Danvers and her constant comparisons between the two Mrs de Winter’s.

With plot twists and action that only Du Maurier could come up with, this novel is great for anyone who loves mystery and never knowing what’s on the next page. With Cornwall acting as the backdrop for the whole novel it makes ‘Rebecca’ a really atmospheric book.

I found this book a real page-turner and it was the first book by Daphne Du Maurier that I had read at the time so I loved her style- the beautiful, scenic description mixed with constant plot twists and character complexities. It’s difficult to give an in-depth review for this book without giving away too many spoilers but it really is a brilliantly written book that keeps you wanting to read! And what I love about Du Maurier is she gives really neat endings, rather than leaving the reader to make their own interpretation, which can be good, but after so much action I find it better to have a proper, recognisable ending.

The only thing that I would say I didn’t like about this book would be that the main character was quite frustrating and I thought that she could have been stronger, but the whole point is that she’s supposed to contrast to Rebecca, or the late Mrs de Winter, and so my frustration at her is clearly something that Du Maurier wanted, in order to compare them. I found in many ways it was like in ‘Jane Eyre’- Bertha is so much more interesting and you can’t help feeling in the book a frustration towards Jane.

I  would also say that this book takes a bit of getting into but it’s well worth it! There’s also a black and white Hitchcock version of ‘Rebecca’ which is something I really need to watch!

Do you have any under-stated books you think should be up there with the legends of literature? What are you reading at the moment?! Comment below!

Happy reading!

 

Currently reading: ‘Atonement’ by Ian McEwan

25 thoughts

  1. I love this book so much, and it always makes me happy when other people love it too!

    I agree with you that the main character is pretty bland in comparison to Rebecca, though it’s of course intentional. I also really enjoy Mrs. Danvers. I think she is one of the most fascinating (and terrifying) characters in literature. 🙂

    Have you had a chance to read any other of Du Maurier’s work? In my opinion, Rebecca is her best, though I’ve enjoyed her other books I’ve read too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know it’s so great, love it! Mrs Danvers is such a great character to read about, I agree! Yes, I’ve read My Cousin Rachel and Jamaica Inn and loved Jamaica Inn so much! Which ones have you read? I think Jamaica Inn and Rebecca are equal in being the best for me! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve read both Jamaica Inn and My Cousin Rachel and really liked them, though I agree that Jamaica Inn was the better of the two!

        I also read a short story collection called The Birds and Other Stories. I remember really loving it, though the only story I remember is the bird one.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I really like Jem as a character and think the romance between Jem and Mary is brilliant, even wrote about then in a post love them that much 😉. Yeah, my mum and me both love Du Maurier so much and she’s read those short stories, said they were eerie but great!

    Like

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