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Rebecca (VMC) by Daphne Du Maurier
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Rebecca (VMC) (original 1938; edition 2003)

by Daphne Du Maurier

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
15,038454230 (4.22)3 / 1494
Member:thebopple
Title:Rebecca (VMC)
Authors:Daphne Du Maurier
Info:Virago (2003), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 448 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (1938)

  1. 335
    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. 212
    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. 90
    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (starfishian)
  6. 90
    Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (kiwiflowa, lahochstetler)
  7. 90
    The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier (lois1)
  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
    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.
  11. 50
    Don't Look Now by Daphne Du Maurier (Z-Ryan, cometahalley)
  12. 84
    Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt (kraaivrouw, FutureMrsJoshGroban, nu-bibliophile)
  13. 51
    The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (DaraBrooke)
  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. 54
    Bride of Pendorric by Victoria Holt (kraaivrouw, nu-bibliophile)
    nu-bibliophile: Very similar but the twist in Bride of Pendorric is better and more surprising.
  19. 10
    Yes, My Darling Daughter by Margaret Leroy (WildMaggie)
  20. 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.

(see all 33 recommendations)

1930s (4)
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English (434)  Spanish (5)  French (4)  Italian (3)  German (3)  Swedish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (453)
Showing 1-5 of 434 (next | show all)
Somewhere, recently, I read something that convinced me that Rebecca was definitely a GoodRead. For some reason, I vaguely remember that we made fun of Daphne du Maurier when we were kids in the 1950s. Mostly, of course, it was my older brother, who went on to get a degree in English from Princeton, and my older sister, who was a History major at Goucher, the 8th of the "Seven Sisters". Anyway, I read someone recently who insisted Rebecca was actually good literature, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to find out. Well, I finally waded through it and I'm still not sure. It was ok, but kinda long and weird.

So we begin with an unnamed young woman having a dream of the Manderly estate as it must now look, after some years of abandonment. The young woman wakes up and we go on to find that the young woman seems to be a companion of a man who has had a great shock. Things are ok for them, so long as they stick to mundane things like cricket scores or the status of the Crimea. Any allusions to a past must never be mentioned.

Then we go back in time to see how things got to such a state. The young woman, who is English, is the companion to an elderly, rich, American snob, Mrs. van Hopper, who is "wintering" at Monte Carlo. One day at lunch, a haggard middle aged man sits at the table next to them. Mrs. van Hopper recognizes him as being Maximilian de Winter, who is trying to get over the drowning death of his wife. Mrs. van Hopper contrives to get to know de Winter, and of course, the young woman becomes vaguely acquainted as well. She's very shy and is also basically shoved into the background by the old lady.

But, Mrs. van Hopper gets sick and has to spend a few weeks recovering in bed. The young woman goes down to lunch as normal and de Winter strikes up a conversation. Next thing you know, they're driving around the countryside and having quite a time of it. About the time Mrs. van Hopper recovers, she decides she must immediately depart for New York, and the young woman is to go with her, of course. With only an hour or two before departure, de Winter learns of the departure and convinces the young woman to stay behind and marry him instead.

So, they have a glorious honeymoon for a few weeks in Italy. Then it's back to de Winter's estate, Manderly. Well, things aren't so great there. The housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers is clearly disinclined to give the young woman any consideration except the most icy formalities. It turns out she was devoted to Rebecca, the former Mrs. de Winter, the former lady of the estate. As time goes on, the narrator learns that Rebecca was considered the most beautiful and accomplished creature ever born, something like that. How can she ever match up? It doesn't help that Maxim de Winter is often distant and has never made an avowal of love to her. So we have this creepy gothic novel thingie, sort of like what would have claimed the hearts of the silly girls, Catherine Morland and Isabella Thorpe, in Northanger Abby, had they been around a century plus later.

So, we've lots of eerie goings on, a local half wit, difficult, but oh-so-proper, servants, dark passages, musty rooms, musty cottages on the beach, and so forth. I'm not sure this is my kind of stuff, but it wasn't too bad. Personally, I would have preferred it to have been much shorter. It got to be a long slog.
( )
  lgpiper | Jun 21, 2019 |
Update: Reread or rather listened to the audio version of Rebecca and have raised the rating from 3 stars to 4.

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.

I decided to re-read Rebecca a couple of months ago, I started the books…and then other books managed to get in the way. But I decided to finish the book a couple of days ago.

I have also must I point out I have seen the movie version, I have also seen three miniseries (Two British and one Italien). So the story wasn't lost in the mist in the brain. But still, I enjoyed reading it.

Out nameless narrator (she is never named in the book everyone just calls her Mrs de Winter) meets Maxime de Winter in Monte Carlo, his has tragically lost his wife just a year before. They spend time in each other’s company and he proposes when the time comes for her to leave Monte Carlo with the women she works as a companion. Happily, she accepts and after they are married they go on a honeymoon and finally come homes to his estate Manderley. She has a hard time there since she always feels like she pales in comparison to the beautiful Rebecca, Maxim's first wife. What happens next? Well, it’s up to you to find out…

Rebecca is a well-written book. I just have a lot of problem with the main characters, she is too naïve and shy for my liking and many times I just want her to stop being so insecure. But it's part of her charm I suppose that made Maxim fall in love with her. She is quite the opposite to Rebecca. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know that until Maxim tells her the truth about his first marriage.

The story is good and it’s easy to see that Daphne du Maurier was quite inspired with Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë when she wrote the book. But even though I enjoyed reading the book again I just didn’t feel pulled into the story. It was fun to re-read it but reading this book felt sometimes forced like I will read 50 pages now and then do something else. As I mentioned before the main character just annoyed me so much. That took away some of the joy of reading the book. On the plus side, I loved it towards the end when she finally stood up for herself and didn't let Mrs. Danvers bully her anymore. ( )
  MaraBlaise | May 19, 2019 |
a favorite of all time ( )
  57thbook | Apr 20, 2019 |
Re-read as an audiobook, and loved as much as I always do. This novel remains my all-time favorite ever! ( )
  tntbeckyford | Feb 16, 2019 |
I've lost count of how many times I've read this book. I still get goosebumps reading the last page. FAVORITE BOOK EVER!!! ( )
  tntbeckyford | Feb 16, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 434 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (131 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
du Maurier, Daphneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beauman, SallyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burnett, VirgilCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dietsch, J.N.C. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kortemeier, S.Cover designersecondary 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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People/Characters
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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.
Last words
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(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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 28 descriptions

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