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Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
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Rebecca (1938)

by Daphne du Maurier

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,240428142 (4.22)3 / 1446
  1. 315
    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (chrisharpe, fannyprice, ladybug74, HollyMS)
    chrisharpe: There are some similarities between these two books: a young woman marries an older widower and moves to his mansion, where the marriage is challenged by the unearthly presence of the first wife.
    fannyprice: These two books reminded me a lot of each other but Rebecca was more modern and somewhat less preachy.
    HollyMS: Since Rebecca was published, observers have noticed that it has parallels to Jane Eyre. Both are dark stories about young women who marry wealthy Englishmen.
  2. 202
    My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier (HollyMS, EllieH)
    HollyMS: Daphne Du Maurier's My Cousin Rachel has a similar theme as Rebecca.
  3. 130
    Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier (katie4098)
  4. 143
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (citygirl)
  5. 100
    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (starfishian)
  6. 90
    The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier (lois1)
  7. 80
    Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (kiwiflowa, lahochstetler)
  8. 70
    Lorna Doone by R. D. Blackmore (Sylak)
    Sylak: Another saga set against a hauntingly beautiful landscape - but this time its in Exmoor.
  9. 82
    We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (teelgee)
  10. 50
    Don't Look Now by Daphne Du Maurier (Z-Ryan, cometahalley)
  11. 61
    The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (DaraBrooke)
  12. 50
    Thornyhold by Mary Stewart (whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: Although I believe that du Maurier was the better writer, Thornyhold and many others by Mary Stewart give the same suspenseful feeling.
  13. 84
    Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt (kraaivrouw, FutureMrsJoshGroban, nu-bibliophile)
  14. 30
    Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart (nu-bibliophile)
  15. 30
    Freedom and Necessity by Steven Brust (bjappleg8)
    bjappleg8: first person narrative; ambiguous supernatural elements; slow unravelling of a mystery in a historical British setting
  16. 20
    Vanishing Cornwall by Daphne du Maurier (Z-Ryan)
  17. 20
    Vera by Elizabeth von Arnim (bell7)
  18. 32
    A Sucessora by Carolina Nabuco (HollyMS)
    HollyMS: When Rebecca came out, there were accusations that Daphne du Maurier had plagiarized A sucessora (The Sucessor) by Brazilian author Carolina Nabuco. Read it and decide for yourself.
  19. 10
    Yes, My Darling Daughter by Margaret Leroy (WildMaggie)
  20. 00
    The Secrets Between Us by Louise Douglas (generalkala)

(see all 31 recommendations)

1930s (4)
To Read (299)
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English (410)  Spanish (4)  French (3)  German (3)  Italian (3)  Norwegian (1)  All (1)  Swedish (1)  All (426)
Showing 1-5 of 410 (next | show all)
Have no idea how this book acquired its classic reputation. The heroine is beyond timid or mousy -- and that wasn't an essential for the time in which it was written OR earlier. The husband was a cipher. I simply couldn't get interested in this book but gamely finished the whole thing as it was blessedly short. ( )
  abycats | May 11, 2018 |
Manderley like the heath in Thomas Hardy’s Return of the Native becomes another character in the book. It is where most of the action takes place and is central in the characters’ lives. Maxim de Winter is the Lord of the Manor and Rebecca is his first wife. Her ghostly presence inhabits the place and is a constant feature in the readers mind due to the thoughts of his current wife. Never named in the book she is always known as Mrs de Winter.

Mrs de Winter is a much younger woman, she is naïve, shy and insecure, nothing like Rebecca. It is through this constant comparison, revealing her insecurity, that we realise she is nothing like the former Mrs de Winter. Rebecca’s devoted servant was Mrs Danvers the housekeeper and she is also there to exalt the departed Rebecca and make the current Mrs de Winter feel inferior. Yet Mrs Danver’s description of Rebecca portrays her as a cruel, spoilt brat, used to getting her own way. She describes her as untamed and spirited, as if this is an admirable quality.

Mrs Danvers is a ghostly, manipulative and sinister presence throughout the book. The organisation of the household is done through her, the menu’s, the maids, even reprimanding staff when a china ornament is broke. Perhaps the most significant and memorable act of cruelty is Mrs de Winter’s dress for the ball. Blinded by her affection for Rebecca she resents Maxim’s new wife. It is this unquestioning affection and blind adoration which twists her viewpoint, turning what the reader may see as faults into virtues. Out of this obsession comes a madness which can’t accept that Rebecca may have committed suicide and the inquest finally pushes her over the edge.

Inevitably this book is compared unfavourably with Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and although there are similarities I believe this book does have something different to offer. They are both gothic romances, they both show the insecurity and subservience of woman and they both touch on madness. Where Rebecca differs, is with Mrs Danvers and an unnamed protagonist. If Rebecca is the spirit which haunts Manderley, then Mrs Danvers is her instrument of torture. She makes the protagonist’s life difficult, compared to Mr Rochester’s tortured feelings for Jane in Jane Eyre.

This book is beautiful engaging and easy to read and would be just as engaging for YA readers as adults, due to the strong female characters. The superb Hitchcock movie gives an ending that the book only hints at, but is a logical assumption. ( )
  TraceyMadeley | Apr 29, 2018 |
I recently reread this (reading along with a friend) after having read it originally probably twenty years ago. I think I had read it as more of a love story originally, but on second examination it really isn't. I'm not clear that any of the characters actually love each other, despite their declarations, and the ending is really not a happy one in any way. The unnamed second wife has had her life as destroyed as surely as the first, as has Maxim. The writing is perfect for the genre and it ratchets up the tension as the story builds. This is a gothic romance, but it leaves you with a lot to think about regarding love and jealousy. ( )
  duchessjlh | Apr 3, 2018 |
Read this for my classic lit book club and loved it. It's definitely not your typical stuffy old classic! I found I really identified with the narrator on several points. She was very relatable to me. I did hate how she didn't have a name though! Looking forward to reading more du Maurier in the future. ( )
  Aseleener | Mar 24, 2018 |
Even knowing the plot, this novel is tremendously full of suspense and tension. Anna Massey does a very good job narrating this audiobook edition. ( )
  leslie.98 | Mar 23, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 410 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (132 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Maurier, Daphne duprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beauman, SallyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burnett, VirgilCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Massey, AnnaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scalero, AlessandraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schab, Karin vonÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stibolt, HelenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vasara, HelviTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.
Quotations
'You see,' she said, snapping the top, and walking down the stairs, 'you are so very different from Rebecca.'
We came to Manderley in early May, arriving, so Maxim said, with the first swallows and the bluebells. It would be the best moment, before the full flush of summer, and in the valley the azaleas would be prodigal of scent and the blood-red rhododendrons in bloom.
Forget it, Mrs. de Winter, forget it, as he has done, thank heaven, and the rest of us. We none of us want to bring back the past, Maxim least of all. And it's up to you, you know, to lead us away from it. Not to take us back there again.
If only there could be an invention that bottled up a memory, like scent. And it never faded, and it never got stale. And then, when one wanted it, the bottle could be uncorked, and it would be like living the moment all over again.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
"Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again..."

So the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter remembered the chilling events that led her down the turning drive past the beeches, white and naked, to the isolated gray stone manse on the windswept Cornish coast. Working as a lady's companion, she learns her place. Her future looks bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Max de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proprosal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. 

With a husband she barely knew, the young bride arrived at this immense estate, only to be inexorably drawn into the life of the first Mrs. de Winter, the beautiful Rebecca, dead but never forgotten... her suite of rooms never touched, her clothes ready to be worn, her servant -- the sinister Mrs. Danvers -- still loyal. And as an eerie presentiment of evil tightened around her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter began her search for the real fate of Rebecca... for the secrets of Manderley.
Haiku summary
Nameless narrator

marries wealthy widower;

haunting Rebecca.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380730405, Paperback)

With these words, the reader is ushered into an isolated gray stone mansion on the windswept Cornish coast, as the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter recalls the chilling events that transpired as she began her new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew. For in every corner of every room were phantoms of a time dead but not forgotten—a past devotedly preserved by the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers: a suite immaculate and untouched, clothing laid out and ready to be worn, but not by any of the great house's current occupants. With an eerie presentiment of evil tightening her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter walked in the shadow of her mysterious predecessor, determined to uncover the darkest secrets and shattering truths about Maxim's first wife—the late and hauntingly beautiful Rebecca.

This special edition of Rebecca includes excerpts from Daphne du Maurier's The Rebecca Notebook and Other Memories, an essay on the real Manderley, du Maurier's original epilogue to the book, and more.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:11 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

The second Mrs. Maxim de Winter finds it difficult and frightening to live in the shadow of her predecessor, a situation that is exacerbated by her husband's moodiness, and the presence of sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers.

» see all 28 descriptions

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