Author: Daphne Du Maurier
First Published: 1938
Page Count: 380
Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*
Rating: 4/5 Stars
A great mystery that has and will continue to stand the test of time.
*Page Turner Story *Cast of Characters
*Slow Reveal of Plot Points
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” The second Mrs. de Winter was whisked from her simple existence into a marriage to a man she hardly knew and off to his famous estate which she had only ever viewed from a postcard. She struggles to adapt to her new life thanks to the ever-present reminder of the first Mrs. de Winter’s influence on Manderley. However, it seems that Rebecca was more than just the beloved first wife of Maxim de Winter, and his second wife unwittingly gets pulled into the mystery of her untimely death.
I’d seen this book on the shelves since my middle school days and it had always intrigued me. The story was a lot different then I imagined it to be, but it lived up to the hype. I love when a story only has a few characters that the reader has to get acquainted with. You really get to know those characters and it doesn’t strain my poor memory to try to keep track of everyone. The author of Rebecca really focuses in on our narrator (the second Mrs. de Winter), her husband Maxim, and Mrs. Danvers, the disquieting servant of Manderley. There are a few other people thrown into the mix, but these, and Rebecca of course, are the characters we really care about. You’re in a mist the entire book and don’t know what to make of all these mysterious figures and their part in Rebecca’s tale. However, the author slowly lifts that mist with the great twists to the story that I didn’t see coming.
The surprises in the book are fantastic but I will say it felt like it took a while to pick up steam. The beginning of the book was pretty slow with very few mentions of Rebecca. I just wanted to get to Manderley and really get into the meat of the mystery! Even once the author gets us there, she mercilessly teases us with little hints about Rebecca’s demise but nothing we can really wrap our minds around. It was a bit torturous waiting to find out what happened to her, and, in the mean time, reading about the second Mrs. de Winter completely screwing up at being a housewife to an aristocrat didn’t help.
This book is famous for a reason; it’s got a great story that still feels like a thriller even in 2015. It might not be on the same level as Gone Girl in terms of how fast it gets your blood pumping, but it feels like a nearly perfect mystery novel. There are intriguing characters, a big, fancy house full of secrets, and a questionable death of a beautiful young woman. It’s worth taking a peek.
*TV Adaptation: (Starring Charles Dance 1997) * Film Adaptation: (Directed By Alfred Hitchcock 1940)