Lora's Reviews > Rebecca

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
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Jul 31, 11

bookshelves: favorites, classics, lib-read, surprised-me, wishlist, 1001-r
Recommended to Lora by: Arlene, Wendy, my love for all things Gothic and romantic
Recommended for: fans of classics from the early - mid 20th century
Read in July, 2011, read count: 1

Rebecca is a classic tale that weaves mystery, secrets, and romance into an intricate and stunning twine. It tells the story of a young girl who is swept off her feet by a much older man with money and possessions aplenty — and even more heartache in his recent past.
Since his wife's tragic death eight months ago, Maxim de Winter has been doing everything he can to forget the horrific part of his past that has left him feeling bereft of happiness and aloof from others.
But even with this kind of emotional baggage, the young heroine of the story — who's name is never revealed — still agrees to marry Mr. de Winter because she has already fallen in love with him.
When our heroine moves into Manderley, the estate where Maxim lived not so long ago with his now deceased wife, Rebecca, she soon learns the story behind her new husband's late wife's death. She learns that Rebecca died by an accidental drowning while in a boat that capsized.
As you can image, all of this is very disconcerting to such a young and naïve girl. And when she arrives at Manderley things are so very different from the life she had before: there's all the hustle and bustle of living in a mansion, and then there's Mrs. Danvers who doesn't like her simply because she's not Rebecca.
Du Maurier's Rebecca deals with a lot of themes and raises a lot of questions, one of the most intriguing being, What happens when the woman that is haunting your husband begins haunting you, too?

For me, Rebecca was truly a delight. It is expertly crafted and beautifully written, and, while reading, I had one of those strange feelings you get when you think you're enjoying something too much, that you must be sinning because you simply can't remember the last time you enjoyed yourself so much.

What I'm about to say isn't going to juxtapose well with my earlier comment about this being a "delight," but I shall say it anyway: This book has just a little bit of a depressing atmosphere to it. This is mostly because the main character is often fixated on how she'll never live up to the standards which Rebecca set before her, but it didn't bother me in the least. No, no — in fact, it only made me want to wrap the heroine in a blanket and give a her cup of hot cocoa. Some may deem her weak for not simply standing up and being everything that she can be, but I saw her as worthy of so much and strong even in her cowardice. She starts out working for a nuisance of a woman, then all of a sudden she is married to a man much older than she and with a past for which she is unsure of all the details. I really loved the heroine in this; there were several times where my heart twisted for her character and for the situation she was in.

Do NOT read this spoiler if you've not read this book. It is the type of spoiler that will drastically take away from your enjoyment should you choose to ever read this. (view spoiler)

The fact of the lead character's name never being revealed is just one of the peculiar things about this story. It is said early on that her name is often spelt incorrectly, making the reader think that it is perhaps a very unique name. My guess as to why this is is that, because the name Rebecca — and the person — is still so very dominant in the lives of the characters and in our heroine's mind, the author chose to leave out her name to add to the sense of inferiority the heroine feels towards Manderley's former mistress. Just a guess.

FAVORITE QUOTE: "I don't want you to bear this alone," I said. "I want to share it with you. I've grown up, Maxim, in twenty-four hours. I'll never be a child again."

Upon closing this review I want to be very clear about something: My enthusiasm and enjoyment of this novel doesn't necessarily mean that you, the reader of this review, will feel the same about this book. Rebecca is very dramatic and people that don't like classics may not find as much enjoyment in it as I have. I'll freely admit that I have a penchant for things/books like this, so I'm guessing that had a lot to do with my loving this so very much. But if you're interested in this in the least, if you think this may be something you'd like, please, give it a try.
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Comments (showing 1-19 of 19) (19 new)

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Arlene One of my favorite classics next to Wuthering Heights. I've read both several times over.

This review is pure awesome Lora. You really did a great job on it. Makes me want to read it again like right now. :)


message 2: by Nomes (new) - added it

Nomes my lib has this ~ but only in audio :( (i really want to read it but i have never done an audio before ...)

awesome review :) (well, it made me want it even more ;) )


Lora Thanks, ladies! I hope you like it, Nomes, if you read it. :)


message 4: by Claudette (last edited Jul 25, 2011 11:28AM) (new) - added it

Claudette I just remembered that I read a very trimmed version of this book when I started reading books in English and that I really liked it. I must get my hands on a copy!

By the way, I loved your opinion about the omission of the heroine's name.


Lora Thanks, Claudette. I hope you like it when you get a chance to read it. :)


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Iv'e had this book on my shelf for awhile... you convinced me to pick it up. Great review, Lora.


Lora Thanks, Leanne. It's a great book.


Wendy Darling I am beyond excited that you love this as much as I do, Lora. :) My favorite gothic book ever.


Lora Ha! I thought you would be :)


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead OK, another book to put on my list!!!


message 11: by Lora (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lora LOL Michelle, the list of a book lover is never ending. ;)


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Lora wrote: "LOL Michelle, the list of a book lover is never ending. ;)"

You know I actually ordered this book on PBS a long time ago but it was one of those that got lost in the mail and I just kind of forgot about it (I did get the credit back though). So, I just now ordered it again on PBS.


message 13: by Lora (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lora Well I hope you get it this time, Michelle. :)


message 14: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Lora, I'm coming to this party rather late, but I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your review.

I'm currently re-reading Rebecca (or rather, I'm listening to it on audiobook) after a very long break. I haven't read it since I was a teenager some thirty five years ago. It was a book I adored then and I distinctly remember not being able to put it down for the time it took to get from my bedroom to the bathroom. So I walked down the hallway, reading all the while!

Your review brought back all the delight of reading the book for the first time. Listening to the audiobook now reminds me not so much of my reaction to the book when I first read it, but of how very well written a book it actually is.

Anyway, great review!


message 15: by Lora (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lora Thanks so much, Kim! And I'm glad I could help remind you of how great Rebecca is. Enjoy! :)


Shmuli Cohen Great review. I'm just about to start it. I hope I enjoy it as much as you. I'm a bit fearful that the writing is awfully small being one of those dusty classic 1960's hard cover versions.


message 17: by Leslie (new) - added it

Leslie Hitchens Lora, I read this book in high school but I want to read it again. Can't wait.


message 18: by Joya (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joya A great review and a great book:)


message 19: by Elisa (new)

Elisa Bischoff Great review, I can't wait to read it.;)


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