by Daphne du Maurier
Genres: Classic, Romance
Format: eBook (441 pages)
Working as a lady's companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Her future looks bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Max de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding housekeeper, Mrs Danvers...
Not since Jane Eyre has a heroine faced such difficulty with the Other Woman. An international bestseller that has never gone out of print, Rebecca is the haunting story of a young girl consumed by love and the struggle to find her identity.
Short and Sweet Version
This passionate, gothic romance will appeal to people who loved Jane Eyre. It’s a thoughtful, beautifully written novel about honesty and finding yourself.
Jessica Thinks Too Much Version
The setting of Rebecca draws you in with it’s beautiful but haunting mansion and the wonderful, vivid descriptions of it. The writing in this whole novel is just beautiful.
A lilac had mated with a copper beech, and to bind them yet more closely to one another the malevolent ivy, always an enemy to grace, had thrown her tendrils about the pair and made them prisoners.
– Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca (p. 3)
The voice of the nameless main character was lovely to read. She was honest but naive which gave her a charming, sweet quality that I liked. This quote is a good example of it. She’s not being snide or sarcastic but simply honest.
I wonder what my life would be today, if Mrs. Van Hopper had not been a snob.
Funny to think that the course of my existence hung like a thread upon that quality of hers.
– Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca (p. 12)
Here’s another great example of the main character’s simple, sweet honesty and I kind of agree with her sentiments. I believe in being honest all the time, but I’ve also learned the value of keeping my mouth shut when my blunt honesty isn’t needed.
“Yes, according to the letter I got this morning. [Grandmother] won’t stay long. You’ll like her, I think. She’s very direct, believes in speaking her mind. No humbug at all. If she doesn’t like you she’ll tell you so, to your face.”
I found this hardly comforting, and wondered if there was not some virtue in the quality of insincerity.
-Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca (p. 89)
Rebecca reminded me a little of Downton Abbey since the setting and politeness are so important in both. The passion in this gothic novel reminded me a lot of Jane Eyre.
I am glad it cannot happen twice, the fever of first love. For it is a fever, and a burden, too, whatever the poets may say.
– Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca (p. 37)
I found the writing so thoughtful. I liked this quote because it’s such a Harry Potter way to keep track of memories. I think of memories like movies and pictures, but memories as scents sounds like something Snape would do.
“If only there could be an invention,” I said impulsively, “that bottled up a memory, like scent. And it never faded, and it never got stale. And then, when one wanted it, the bottle could be uncorked, and it would be like living the moment all over again.”
-Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca (p. 40)
The narrative plays a lot with time. It jumps around a lot to show how time can speed up and slow down. I don’t usually like jumpy narratives like that, but it worked really well with the themes in this novel.
Rebecca is actually the dead first wife of Maxim, whom the main character marries. The main character is constantly being compared to Rebecca and how she did things and how pretty she was etc. I kept getting this feeling that Rebecca was not as great as everyone made her out to seem. But the way every thing was worded so politely, our poor, naive main character couldn’t see that people actually didn’t like Rebecca. Instead of the compliment the comparisons could have been, she took them as her not being good enough. I could see that Rebecca probably wasn’t a saint even though the main character couldn’t, which made it all the more fun to read.
This has nothing to do with the story, but I like tangents especially if they are gross and funny. When I read Julie and Julia, the author talked about making chicken in aspic. Aspic is basically chunky, meat flavored Jell-o that is served cold. I was horrified along with the author of Julie and Julia to think that people actually ATE that. It couldn’t be true! And then I saw chicken in aspic mentioned in Rebecca. Ew, it is true. Tangent over.
The main character and her husband have the same fatal flaw–they couldn’t stand up for themselves and for the truth. It drove me nuts but maybe that’s the point of the story. The truth would have set them free so quickly and easily but the good manners of the time didn’t allow truth–only politeness.
Another flaw about this novel that people might not like is the fact that the main character seems very passive. She is so passive that it almost becomes ridiculous. But it makes it so awesome when she finally does stand up for herself. It also reminds me that I need to remember to do that more often in my own life.
I wondered how many people there were in the world who suffered, and continued to suffer, because they could not break out from their own web of shyness and reserve, and in their blindness and folly built up a great distorted wall in front of them that hid the truth.
– Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca (p. 309)
If you’ve heard people talk about this book, you will almost always hear about the abrupt ending. And it is. But at the same time this whole novel is told in a flashback so when you to get to the end and it suddenly ends, you still know what happens next because what happens next is actually at the beginning of the novel.
Which do you think is more important –
truth or politeness?
This novel points out the strengths of both. Truth can be very freeing, but at the same time politeness and considering others feelings is important, too. It reminds me of that robot in Interstellar where he’s only 90% honest because “absolute honesty isn’t always the most diplomatic nor the safest form of communication with emotional beings.” Truth is much more powerful and I think that’s why I’m afraid of it sometimes.
Content Rating: None. Clean read.
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