“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”
Published: Originally 1938, My copy July 2015.
Publisher: Virago Books
Pages: 448 Pages
On a trip to the South of France, the shy heroine of Rebecca falls in the love with Maxim De Winter, a wealthy, handsome widower. But as they arrive at Manderley, his Cornish mansion, a change comes over Max and the young bride is filled with dread. Friendless in the isolated house, she realises that she barely knows the man she married, and in every corner of every room is the phantom of his beautiful first wife Rebecca.
Thank you to Virago for sending me a copy to read and review, and also for allowing me to be a part of the Daphne Du Maurier blog tour.
Virago have re-released a selection of Daphne Du Maurier novels with gorgeous new covers, which are directed at both the young adult and adult readers. For my part of the tour, I received a copy of Rebecca.
Many people that I have spoke to expressed their love for Rebecca and willed me to read it and not give up! At first I was a little confused as to why they said that to me, but when I started reading I knew exactly what they meant – Rebecca is a slow burner. It took a few hundred (if not more) pages to get going, and personally, I felt the first half of the book was awfully descriptive and in most parts, unnecessary.
The entire novel was laced with mystery and you often found yourself asking lots of questions. The questions I couldn’t get out of my head were ‘who is this narrator and why don’t we know her name’. Granted she was De Winter’s new wife, but that’s as much as we know.
I’m glad I perceived because once you got into the story and were subjected to the delights of Manderley you were hooked. The curiosity about Rebecca and her relationship with Maxim was intriguing because you often felt like you wanted to know more about her and her mysterious ways. I felt sorry for the unnamed second wife of Maxim because she would forever be in the shadow of his late wife. I think the chilling elements and the suspense were all in her mind and that her paranoia escalated far to quickly and took over. It couldn’t have been easy considering she only knew Maxim for such a short period of time. Their encounters were very few and far between and he asked for her hand in marriage quite quickly. I often felt that Maxim did not care for his new wife, more just that he needed a companion – Manderley was large, antique and lonely.
For anyone that is deciding to read Rebecca, please do! Yes, it’s a slow burner and yes, probably doesn’t need lots of description, but a) it was originally written in 1939 and b) you’ll love it once you pass the half-way point.