Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Author: Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca is one of the best books written by Daphne du Maurier. Daphne uses a narrator to tell her stories—in the first person. I don’t like reading such books, and actually kept away the book after glancing through it. But my friend insisted that I try it out and I trust her opinions and suggestions specially, regarding books and movies.

I found that Daphne’s writing gets you hooked. You pick up one of her books to read and you can keep it down only after finishing reading it! Du Maurier weaves a beautiful web of mystery that holds you captive until the very end and that’s the kind of book I prefer to read when I don’t have time in hand!

About the book:

Rebecca is a beautiful, haunting, gripping tale of love, hate and deceit. As you read it, you will feel the anxiety, apprehension, and fear described by the narrator. You get so involved with the feeling that you move through each chapter with an anxiety that only ends with the end of the novel. 

Daphne narrates all these feelings in the most simple but the most justified manner Rebecca begins with the description of Manderly, a beautiful old mansion, with its menacing woods and rising turrets. It is characterized by the long winding drive. Manderly is the scene where the tale unfolds. The narrator is Max De Winter’s young and shy second wife.

The main characters of the story are Max De Winter (master of Manderly), Rebecca (De Winter’s late wife), De Winter’s second wife (who in now Manderly’s new mistress), Mrs. Danvers (the maid).

 Now, Rebecca was drowned on a foggy evening in a river very close to Manderly. Nobody knows how exactly she died—was it a suicide, was she killed, was it an accident? Max De Winter meets his second wife at a hotel. She is companion to a snobbish old lady named Mrs. Van Hopper who is very fond of playing bridge.

They meet and fall in love in spite of a huge age gap. And they marry in haste barely eight months after Rebecca’s death. Shy, young, and vulnerable, the new bride is in total awe of Manderly. She is lively, full of life and everything that Rebecca wasn’t.

Mrs. Danvers, the maid keeps the memory of Rebecca alive by constantly referring to her in her conversations and making comparisons. She constantly reminds everyone that Rebecca is still the mistress of Manderly and is still the queen of Max’s heart. She preserves Rebecca’s room just as it was the night before her drowning accident.

Rebecca’s shadow looms large over the young bride. She is intimidated by Mrs. Danvers whose love to her dead mistress is very scary indeed! Certain events take place at Manderly after her arrival. She sees Max withdrawing from her and himself. She begins to think that she can never make him happy like Rebecca did.

Slowly, as the story progresses she and concludes that her marriage is a failure. We can feel her pain, sorrow, fear, and all the other emotions—through her eyes we can see the web of deceit, hatred and love that entangles Manderly and all the people who are part of it—all of it is well described by Daphne!

Rebecca’s little sailing boat is found with a skeleton lying on the cabin floor. Doubts begin to rise and that raised many question, who’s is it? Was someone else with Rebecca when she died? Who was that? Was that a man or a woman? Then the shocking revelation and the truth about Rebecca, her death and what really happened that night, eight months ago comes out into the open. 

To reveal more would be destroying the magic and charm of reading this book. Read and enjoy the magic


4 Responses

  1. I loved the movie (with Laurence Olivier) and watched it in my teens, although I watched it recently and found the acting very wooden. However, the magic of Mandalay was still there. Yes, it was a great story and with a very neat twist at the end.

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