Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
I’ll let you in on a secret. A work colleague recommended I fish around for books at charity shops, because let’s face it – reading can burn your pockets. Oh my. Her tip has been so welcome! These last two months, I’ve found books I’ve been dreaming to hold in my hands in Wimbledon at a fraction of the price on Amazon. In one of these shops I managed to find ‘Rebecca.’ It’s been a long time since I read something Jane Eyre-esque. I’ve steered clear of classics since A Levels because I had studied quite a few to death. Yet Rebecca intrigued me when I read the synopsis. So I went for it and I’m glad I did. Of course it wasn’t good as ‘The Suitable Boy’ by Vikram Seth and quite frankly I don’t expect anything to match up to it in the upcoming future. Rebecca was a dark, suspense filled and slightly crazy story. The characters were one of the most flawed bunch I’ve come across in recent reading times. It’s a perfect novel for character dissection and based on that, it’s a great read.
So what on earth is it all about? Well, it’s the story of how widower Max de Winter of the beautiful Manderley meets the very young and nameless heroine in Monte Carlo. Working as a lady’s companion, her child like nature and innocence steals his heart in a matter of a few days and he pops the question and whisks her off to Manderley. The story begins when she realises that Manderley is still shrouded by memories of Rebecca (the dead ex wife) and Max de Winter is perhaps still attached to her. As the heroine tries to adjust to a changed husband and a new lifestyle, she begins to realise that there’s a lot more to Manderley than meets the eye. Knowing nothing about the circumstances in which Rebecca died and having the dark presence of the housekeeper Mrs Danvers constantly looming over her, the heroine struggles to find herself.
A warning first of all. There is no romance in the novel. Sorry ladies. From the start, I realised that the fact the pair get married barely knowing each other was not going to yield Eyre-Rochester like witty and sexual tension filled conversations. Ha. So eliminate those hopes. The thing that will make you potentially carry on reading is being frustrated like the heroine on how overwhelmingly important this Rebecca woman is. When the story behind Rebecca’s death begins to unravel, that’s when you’ll get hooked.
It’s the first novel I’ve read by Daphne Du Maurier and I will rate her for describing the place of Manderley in the most beautiful words. It is what everyone ends up liking the novel for as well as the most famous opening line:
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”