Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Review: Rebecca

Rebecca is a book that I had to give myself over to completely in order enjoy it. The whole experience depends on buying into the moldering, gothic suspense of it all.

Unfortunately, this requires putting up with the unnamed heroine being a hopeless ninny for the first two-thirds of the story. But once I set aside her fear of every person she encounters and her inability to talk to her own husband and went with the flow of the story, I was eventually swept away.

At the center of the story is Manderley, the seaside mansion of Max de Winter. The house is as much a character in the book as the people, providing atmosphere and an elaborate setting with closed-off wings, back passages, dark woods, and hidden coves. The house and all it stands for also motivates the characters and leads, eventually, to their undoing.

When brooding Max brings his new young bride to Manderley, both are haunted by his beautiful, vivacious first wife Rebecca – he in memory, the bride in imagination. By the time both shake loose from Rebecca’s beyond-the-grave grip, it is too late.

Even when the book is frustrating, it is admirable in its relentless adherence to the genre. Every detail layers on the suffocating suspense, from the spooky skull-headed housekeeper, to the relentless summer heat, to the rat-gnawn day bed in the boathouse. Daphne du Maurier created a perfect neo-gothic thriller in Rebecca.


Hannah Soneham's Book Blog

(If you would like your review of Rebecca listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.)


Rebecca is on the Radcliffe Top 100 list. This was the first of three book I read for theDaphne du Maurier Challenge hosted by Chris at book-a-rama.


  1. I've been intimidated by this book but after all the great reviews I've read I feel like I have to give it a try.

  2. Rebecca is actually a 'comfort' read for me, I think I was about 13 when I first read it, I don't know how many times I've revisited it. I know what you mean about the second Mrs. de Winter though. I'd have sorted out Mrs. Danvers in a heartbeat. Cornwall and Manderley are the best things about it.

  3. Mystica -- Haunting is the perfect word for it.

    Bermuda -- I think I was a little intimidated too, but there is nothing to be intimidated about. It really is just a "great yarn" type of book.

    Katrina -- I think if I had read this when I was younger that i would have been more sympathetic with the heroine. I had to struggle with her, especially in the beginning.

  4. I've checked this book out from the library multiple times but haven't gotten around to reading it. I've seen the movie, though, and I think that's possibly as far as I'll get.

  5. Charley -- I watched the movie several times in high school and college, but I couldn't remember the story, only the atmosphere.

  6. One off the list!! Glad you liked it!!

  7. I have to read this. I have to! I've been meaning to forever. You know how it goes. Thanks for the great review.

  8. One of my favorite books ever!

  9. Hi - glad that you enjoyed this one once you got into it - the second Mrs De Winter is maddening at forst but I rather loved her as well - I just wanted to barge right in and defend her! I wrote a review of this book a bit back and it is here:

    Thanks for sharing

  10. BookQuoter -- Yes! I am that much closer to knocking off the Radcliffe list once and for all.

    Marie -- It's been on my TBR shelf for 25 years! Yes, I know how it goes.

    Chris -- I'll come over and sign up for your du Maurier challenge. I'm 1/3 of the way through it!

    Hannah -- You are a better person than I. I just wanted to rush in and slap her. :) Thanks for the link. I'll list your review.

  11. Hi-I posted on Rebecca not to long ago-it was my first work by du Maurier and I loved it-yes the second wife was a but annoying at first -my post is here


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