Book Review: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

"A Classic is a classic not because it conforms to certain structural rules, or fits certain definitions (of which its author had quite probably never heard.) It is a classic because of a certain eternal and irrepressible freshness." Edith Wharton
Have you read Rebecca? Maybe you've seen the 1940 Alfred Hitchcock movie with Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier, and Judith Anderson?
I recently bought the DVD, available @ Sam's Club for $6.98

This was the first time for me to read Rebecca. I've heard about the book, and probably watched the movie a long time ago. Daphne du Maurier also wrote: Jamaica Inn 1936, Hungry Hill 1943, My Cousin Rachel 1951, The Scapegoat 1957. Total of 28 fiction written (plays included) and 9 non-fiction books written. She lived an interesting life, married and had children. Yet, there is a hint of another life she lived. Rebecca is probably her most known work. She was born in London, England 1907 and died 1989. In 1969 Queen Elizabeth made Daphne, Dame Commander of the British Empire.

Rebecca is the name of the first wife of Max de Winter. Rebecca died in a boating accident. Max is a wealthy heir and owner of the estate called Manderley. After Rebecca's death Max travels to Monte Carlo where he meets a young woman---barely out of youth. We never know her name. She and Max have a whirlwind romance. They marry soon after meeting and after their honeymoon come back to live at Manderley. The new Mrs. de Winter is unconfident, naive, innocent, considered plain or I would rather state unglamorous. She immediately upon arriving at Manderley falls under the pretense of Rebecca's legacy. It truly becomes an obssession with the new Mrs. de Winter. She thinks constantly of what Rebecca touched, or what she wore, or the decorations of the house she planned, the parties she held. Things are made worse by the housekeeper Mrs. Danvers. She is a sinister, creepy, mysterious woman. Her facial expressions and aura of her body sends chills down the new Mrs. de Winter's body. There is an immediate mistrust. This further pushes Mrs. de Winter to tormenting thoughts of not living up to the grand expectations of what she feels she should be, especially in light of the infamous Rebecca. As the story unfolds gradually, like an awakening bud. The reader finds out the nymph Rebecca was not all she professed to be.

I thought this book was marvelous! A perfect character study. A perfect psychological display of people at their worst, and people at the boiling point of disaster.
I can't say I was completely surprised by the chain of events that concluded this story. I did gasp aloud upon hearing of what actually took place and why.
The only thing that drove me crazy is that I wanted to know what the new Mrs. de Winter's first name was. Surely this was a ploy, or snazzy way of telling a story----from the authors viewpoint. Maybe, quite frankly the author thought it didn't matter.

I bought my paperback copy at Barnes and Nobles store, $10.08.

Published by Harper 1938, my copy re-published 2006
410 pages
Fiction/Suspense/Some Romance/Mystery/English Manor

Blissful Reading!