“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again .”

 

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

Daphne du Maurier’s twisted and mysterious novel, Rebecca, has been a favourite read for many years and has been adapted many times, not only in film but also on stage.

Max de Winter re-marries, and the new Mrs de Winter finds herself in Manderley, a massive country estate. Despite landing herself in what should be paradise for the new bride, there is a darkness over Manderley and Mrs de Winter feels that the late Mrs de Winter (Rebecca) is watching her.

A novel full of strong and complex female characters, a refreshing change to some of the usual females depicted in literature. Rebecca has two very different sides, the sweet perfect wife or the scary and manipulative woman.

Each side of Rebecca is told through different characters, but which is the real her? The other main female character; the new Mrs de Winter, grows and matures, becoming a more complex personality as the novel progresses. The novel also has a range of other characters all with unique personalities, the secretive Mr de Winter, the mysterious and cold Mrs Danvers, the outspoken Bea and the timid, but all seeing, Ben.

This intense and suspense filled novel never lets you off the hook and keeps you on the edge of you seat throughout each chapter once the characters have arrived at Manderley. Even as the story appears to be drawing to an end, the author continues to shock the reader with new revellations and plot twists that the reader never saw coming. Unlike many of the obvious and somewhat dull mysteries on the market now, du Maurier continued to surprise me right to the end.

Combined with the characters and mystery, du Maurier’s beautifully descriptive writing makes you feel as though you are living with the protagonists at Manderley, and thus makes an even more compelling read. A definite must read for lovers of the mystery genre, or readers who have enjoyed other novels by Daphne de Maurier such as Jamaica Inn.

 

Reviewed by:

Catherine Muxworthy

Added 11th December 2015

More Reviews By
Catherine Muxworthy

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

Rebecca is an extremely pleasurable and gratifying read. Du Maurier’s writing prowess is so great and the plot is so gripping that Rebecca is a book that just cannot be put down.

Everything, especially Manderley is so richly described and so beautifully detailed; the reader cannot help but be immediately attracted to it. It becomes impossible for one to not have imagined Manderley, the Happy Valley, the settings, the events of the book perfectly.

The plot is more rewarding, however. Every event has meaning, is substantial. There isn’t one thing that I’d like to see different in the book, plot-wise.

The character development is brilliant. Maxim acts suspiciously; he is wary and nervous, in the beginning of the book making the reader, apprehensive right from the beginning.

The narrator is almost pitiable; her self-esteem is incredibly low, her situation very complex and her relationships almost unstable. Her indecisiveness and self-hatred make way for Mrs. Danvers to continually show her down. However, her ceaseless attempts to impress her husband, to win his attentions, to be assured, if only a little, that he doesn’t only think of her as a child, that he doesn’t regret his decision to marry her and that he doesn’t prefer Rebecca over her, seem paltry, almost detestable.

The fact that the narrator with whose feelings and opinions, the readers are made intimate with, is left nameless throughout the novel is a clever device, on the part of the author, to emphasize that REBECCA is the actual protagonist. The narrator is only a tool, only an apparatus used to make it obvious to the reading audience that a dead woman is the subject of the story.

Daphne du Maurier has, successfully, weaved mystery and suspense into each chapter, each page and every word. Even before mysterious events start to take place, there is this air of mystery, an atmosphere of cold, ringing conundrum that grips the reader. When the mysterious things in question, do start to happen, then it’s a roller-coaster ride, one so richly authored and so expertly driven, that the reader is left breathless, with the excitement of it all.

All these factors come together, in a mix of absolute and pure delectation and make this modern classic, one of the best works of fiction that I’ve ever read.

 

Reviewed by:

Meghna – Age 16

Added 28th July 2015

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