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Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
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Rebecca (original 1938; edition 1997)

by Daphne Du Maurier

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
11,753320225 (4.23)3 / 1205
Member:writestuff
Title:Rebecca
Authors:Daphne Du Maurier
Info:Harper Paperbacks (1997), Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library, Favorites
Rating:*****
Tags:2008 Read, Classic Literature, Gothic Literature, British Literature, BEST of 2008, MUST READ

Work details

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (1938)

  1. 243
    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (chrisharpe, fannyprice, ladybug74, Hollerama)
    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.
    Hollerama: 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. 171
    My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier (Hollerama, EllieH)
    Hollerama: Daphne Du Maurier's My Cousin Rachel has a similar theme as Rebecca.
  3. 131
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (citygirl)
  4. 100
    Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier (katie4098)
  5. 81
    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (starfishian)
  6. 60
    Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (kiwiflowa, lahochstetler)
  7. 60
    The Scapegoat by Daphne du Maurier (lois1)
  8. 60
    Lorna Doone by Richard Doddridge Blackmore (Sylak)
    Sylak: Another saga set against a hauntingly beautiful landscape - but this time its in Exmoor.
  9. 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.
  10. 84
    Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt (kraaivrouw, FutureMrsJoshGroban, nu-bibliophile)
  11. 40
    Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart (nu-bibliophile)
  12. 30
    Don't Look Now by Daphne du Maurier (Z-Ryan, cometahalley)
  13. 52
    We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (teelgee)
  14. 20
    Freedom and Necessity by Steven Brust (bjappleg8)
    bjappleg8: first person narrative; ambiguous supernatural elements; slow unravelling of a mystery in a historical British setting
  15. 31
    The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (DaraBrooke)
  16. 31
    A sucessora by Carolina Nabuco (Hollerama)
    Hollerama: 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.
  17. 10
    Yes, My Darling Daughter by Margaret Leroy (WildMaggie)
  18. 10
    Vanishing Cornwall by Daphne du Maurier (Z-Ryan)
  19. 10
    Vera by Elizabeth von Arnim (bell7)
  20. 44
    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.

(see all 31 recommendations)

1930s (6)
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English (304)  French (3)  Spanish (3)  German (3)  Italian (3)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (319)
Showing 1-5 of 304 (next | show all)
I could not help it if she came to me in thoughts, in dreams. I could not help it if I felt like a guest in Manderley, my home, walking where she had trodden, resting where she had lain. I was like a guest, biding my time, waiting for the return of the hostess. Little sentences, little reproofs reminding me every hour, every day. Page 154

Our unnamed narrator is a young girl who in the span of a few days gets swept up in a relationship with the mysterious Maxim de Winter. With their sudden blossoming relationship and marriage, she instantly goes from a nameless girl to the mistress of a vast estate that holds its own secrets. Unable to confidently stand on her own two feet to command this new household, she is also constantly undermined and thwarted by the indomitable Mrs Danvers, the housekeeper of Manderley, who guards her dominion with a sly and obsessive spirit. With a large measure of naivety and no experience to rely on, she must navigate the dangerous waters of the past to forge a new path and new hope for a budding marriage that may have been doomed from the very beginning.

Rebecca reads like a fairytale where our heroine goes from rags to riches, marrying the man of her dreams, but of course the story does not end there. From the very beginning, the home of her dreams, the house she has imagined is more than she can handle. Being unable to fully exert any authority that is inherent with her new position, she reverts to the unsure, self deprecating young girl that leaves the running of the estate to existing staff. More and more she is consumed with the feeling that she is filling in shoes that are too big to fill and the presence of the previous mistress haunts her days and nights. Her quibbling, her lack of courage for most of the story, and her inability to rise to the task is my biggest criticism of the story. With every encounter with the conniving Mrs. Danvers, I rooted for her to break out of the mold, to have some gusto and spunk, some backbone, to put the woman in her place and fully come to own her new role as Mistress of Manderley, but instead I would be left feeling frustrated and disappointed in her lack of courage. There are glimpses of that woman near the end of the story, but I had only wished it could have happened earlier. Overall, a solid story, albeit predictable and transparent. Recommended if you like moody and atmospheric mysteries with a twist. ( )
  jolerie | Mar 22, 2015 |
A splendidly written, tautly plotted book which, because the title character looms large over the narrative but is never able to speak for herself, is open to multiple interpretations. A page-turner, an cunning examination of class, and a formal achievement of great skill. ( )
  timjones | Mar 6, 2015 |
Rebecca is one of my favorite novels because of it's re-readability. The reader is invited into the head of its mousy heroine and asked to tread the halls of Manderley, a place where the new Mrs De Winter feels out of place and lost. She sees signs of her predecessor everywhere and she feels inferior to the more accomplished and beautiful woman that came before her.

She is made even more unwelcome by the forbidding housekeeper Mrs Danvers, who doted on the original Rebecca and brings more trouble to the unnamed new wife.

Brilliantly written, a wonderful tale of passion and jealousy. On each reading, I see more of the book and my feelings change with each retelling. I highly recommend it. ( )
  Claire.Warner | Feb 8, 2015 |
Rebecca is one of my favorite novels because of it's re-readability. The reader is invited into the head of its mousy heroine and asked to tread the halls of Manderley, a place where the new Mrs De Winter feels out of place and lost. She sees signs of her predecessor everywhere and she feels inferior to the more accomplished and beautiful woman that came before her.

She is made even more unwelcome by the forbidding housekeeper Mrs Danvers, who doted on the original Rebecca and brings more trouble to the unnamed new wife.

Brilliantly written, a wonderful tale of passion and jealousy. On each reading, I see more of the book and my feelings change with each retelling. I highly recommend it. ( )
  Claire.Warner | Feb 8, 2015 |
A suspenseful thriller mystery which explores the themes of identity and jealousy stemming from low self-esteem, the novel creates an atmosphere of formidable presence with its antagonists and its open, lush yet oppressive setting of Manderley which is arguably a character itself. The novel glides along with quiet melancholy and subtle gradual reveals, peppers the plot with clues and believable, developing relationships, and finishes with a logical turn of events where nobody escapes unscathed.

The diverse cast of women here needs to be applauded. We have the eponymous character who livedand died!the way she wanted regardless of convention but still knew how to play the social game. We have Mrs Danvers, one of the creepiest villains ever written, who is good at her housekeeping job and also her hobby of psychological manipulation. We have Beatrice who speaks her mind and is largely independent. Antithetical to all these strong women, the novel also deftly captures the naïvety of youth with the narrator's daydreams, her imagined self-transformations, her frivolities, her insecurities and her need to belong.

Some trivial things that I enjoyed include: Maxim's brusqueness to Jasper you idiot! and the narrator, how much the lead up to thecostume dress debaclewas like watching a horror movie where the protagonist is going to investigate a noise in the basement during a blackout caused by a massive storm and you just know it is not going to end well, the fighting scene between Maxim and the narrator which so resembles real-life arguments where you go around in circles, the idle chitchat at the lunch afterraising Rebecca's boatwhich was not afraid to really be four pages of idle chitchat. I also appreciated how the novel illustrated the importance of communication in any relationships, which any reader of the Dear Prudence advice column would know.

This is a novel best read without any preconceived notions: if you are expecting a re-hash of Jane Eyre, you'll be sorely disappointed, romance is not a focus here, nor is a confident, self-possessed young woman. If your only preconception of the novel is Mrs Danvers thanks to Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next novels, continue to pass go. ( )
  kitzyl | Jan 27, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 304 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (47 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Maurier, Daphne duprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beauman, SallyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burnett, VirgilCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Massey, AnnaNarratorsecondary 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.
Frank knew, but Maxim did not know that he knew. And Frank did not want Maxim to know that he knew. And we all stood there, looking at one another, keeping up these little barriers between us.
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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Wikipedia in English (3)

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:52 -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 21 descriptions

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