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Book Review - Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

 Wednesday, 20 January 2010

So my first book review on my new blog is going to be on the marvellous Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. 

I finished this around half 2 this morning and OH MY WORD! I was utterly gripped for the last quarter of the book, I couldn't bear to put it down no matter how late it was. This was only the second du Maurier book I've read but I really do love her writing - it's so beautifully descriptive and at the same time deliciously creepy and gothic.

Rebecca draws you in from the very start with the very long and drawn-out dream sequence taking you all the way up the drive to a wild overgrown Manderley and there are such vivid images of the chaos surrounding the house that you are completely entranced by it all.

I found it so sad that you never find out the first name of the second Mrs de Winter, but I realise that this was du Maurier's intent to have her as an unremarkable shadow of a woman who is always overlooked and compared to the vibrant and much-loved Rebecca. The only unusual thing about her was her unique name but we are cruelly denied the knowledge of what exactly it is - I know it will frustrate *me* forever as I dearly want to know because I felt so sorry for her having only her role as "Mrs de Winter" to identify herself and being entirely dependent on her husband. I know I would despair at such a fate.

I loved and loathed Mrs Danvers - god that woman was terrifying! But she was so brilliantly poisonous and cruel that any scenes with her and Mrs de Winter were wonderfully exciting whilst being horrifying at the same time. Her spiteful behaviour towards Mrs de Winter made you feel really uncomfortable as you pitied the poor girl for being reminded of the woman who came before. Rebecca, who was her superior in every respect and her presence which could be felt everywhere in Manderley slowly destroying the second wife's confidence and self-esteem to the point where Mrs Danvers very nearly succeeded in pushing her over the edge with her vicious lies.

Overall this book was spectacular - I was hooked from very early on and as I raced towards the end I was unable to tear myself away from the revelations around Rebecca's death and her marriage to Max. The final scene was built up with such a feeling of dread that you knew something awful was going to happen. I cannot recommend this highly enough and it's now one of my all-time favourites. I will definitely look forward to reading more of du Maurier's work over this year. Wow. Just. Wow.  )


Anonymous,  30 January 2010 at 04:24  

This book is one of my favorites. That's interesting what you say about not knowing the second Mrs. DeWinter's name. It never really ocurred to me that her name wasn't mentioned until I was finished with the book and telling someone else about it. I think while I was reading it, I felt, in a way, like I was Mrs. De Winter.

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