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Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca (original 1938; edition 1971)

by Daphne du Maurier (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
11,397306240 (4.23)3 / 1107
Authors:Daphne du Maurier (Author)
Info:Avon Books (1971), Mass Market Paperback, 380 pages
Collections:Your library, Illinois library

Work details

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (1938)

1930s (5)
  1. 233
    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. 181
    My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier (Hollerama, EllieH)
    Hollerama: Daphne Du Maurier's My Cousin Rachel has a similar theme as Rebecca.
  3. 141
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (citygirl)
  4. 110
    Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier (katie4098)
  5. 100
    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (starfishian)
  6. 70
    The Scapegoat by Daphne du Maurier (lois1)
  7. 70
    Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (kiwiflowa, lahochstetler)
  8. 70
    Lorna Doone by Richard Doddridge Blackmore (Sylak)
    Sylak: Another saga set against a hauntingly beautiful landscape - but this time its in Exmoor.
  9. 60
    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. 94
    Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt (kraaivrouw, FutureMrsJoshGroban, nu-bibliophile)
  11. 62
    We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (teelgee)
  12. 40
    Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart (nu-bibliophile)
  13. 40
    Don't Look Now by Daphne du Maurier (Z-Ryan)
  14. 20
    Vanishing Cornwall by Daphne du Maurier (Z-Ryan)
  15. 20
    Vera by Elizabeth von Arnim (bell7)
  16. 20
    Yes, My Darling Daughter by Margaret Leroy (WildMaggie)
  17. 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
  18. 31
    The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (DaraBrooke)
  19. 32
    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.
  20. 21
    The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (Beezie)

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English (289)  Spanish (3)  French (3)  German (3)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (303)
Showing 1-5 of 289 (next | show all)
I’m trying to read older books on occasion, and I picked Rebecca because of the title and because I mistakenly thought it was published in 1939, which was last month’s pick for a classic crime meme hosted by Rich at Past Offences. While I’ve read/watched Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, somehow I’ve missed both the book and the movie of du Maurier’s well-known work. I was vaguely aware of a couple plot points before I started reading, and my copy’s cover is a bit too obvious about the plot, but that didn’t detract from the reading experience.

What struck me most about the reading experience was how incredibly slow the first 200 pages– roughly 2/3 of the book– went. The story in the first two thirds of the book is the story of Maxim de Winter meeting his second wife in Monte Carlo where she is a poor, young companion to a society maven. Another large chunk of the story is devoted to Manderley and de Winter’s first wife, who mysteriously drowned a year before the events of the book. It’s a story about idle rich people keeping up appearances for most of the story, and I found myself wondering when anything would happen in the book. I think the sense of claustrophobia is intentional: the new Mrs. de Winter is trapped at Manderley, married to someone she doesn’t know well, without a lot of options.

I’m not the biggest fan of gothic novels, but this one kept my interest. Jane Eyre did as well, but I didn’t love either of them. I think the writing is quite good, but I prefer stories with a bit of humor, and Rebecca seemed awfully serious to me.
  rkreish | Aug 8, 2014 |
Mystery/revenge type novel. Well written. Young woman swept off her feet and impetuously married to a wealthy landowner moves to his estate and encounters a housekeeper who despises her. Great read. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
A fantastic novel. I don't know how I missed reading this one years ago, but I'm glad I picked it up when I did. It was exactly the kind of book I needed this week - well written, engaging, at times dark and mysterious and at others a look at how lost a "silly" young girl can be when out of her element. I'd seen bits and pieces of the BBC version on TV, so while I knew the premise of the story going into this, I didn't know the twist - and it was a good one! And who knew a housekeeper could be so terribly creepy?

Although the narrator was naive, needy, and sometimes not the sharpest tool in the shed, I found myself sympathizing with her. She's thrown into a world she knows nothing about, knowing that she will always be compared to her beloved predecessor. Her main concern seems to be what others will think of her - she constantly imagines the conversations that the household staff or the town gossips will be having about her, and admits freely that it's one of these imagined conversations that push her to go downstairs to the fancy dress party. When she loses this towards the end of the novel, and gains some confidence in her position as mistress of Manderley, I think she lost a little personality as well; even Maxim bemoans the loss of her innocence and youth.

The way du Maurier can set a mood is wonderful, though. It could be supremely creepy, have an underlying sense of danger, or, as it did for the last few chapters, make me a nervous wreck, right along with the narrator. Loved it!
( )
  bookwormam | Jul 8, 2014 |
The narrator, a young woman who is only identified by her different stations (mainly as the second Mrs. de Winter), marries an older man - the master of a large English estate, Manderley. She finds it extremely difficult to fill the shoes of the former Mrs. de Winter, Rebecca, who drowned less than a year prior and was the glamorous sweetheart of the county. At first, I thought the storyline was leading towards her descent into madness. But then, twist. Would have preferred the former, but the latter was rather enjoyable (in a dark sort of manner). ( )
  dandelionroots | Jun 2, 2014 |
My edition (Doubleday & Co. Inc., Garden City, NY.) says copyright 1938 by Daphne du Mauier Browning. (It has a plain green cover, missing the dust jacket.)

Who can dispute this is one of the greatest stories of all time with a well known classic opening hook in the first line, “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” It is first book I ever read written in first person and is from the viewpoint of the 2nd Mrs. de Winter.

What makes this first person narrator unique is throughout the entire book we never find out her first name or her maiden name before she married Maxim de Winter.

Mrs. de Winter #2, is less refined than #1 (Rebecca) was, and #2 thinks she can’t measure up to Rebecca in Maxim’s eyes. Everything around Manderley has Rebecca’s imprint on it and the crazy housekeeper makes sure nothing is touched. Mrs. de Winter #2 finds out Maxim’s first wife dies in what we believe is a boating accident, until #1 literally resurfaces.

I won’t tell you what happens next. You will have to read it. It is by far my all time favorite adult book. And if the writing isn't your cup of tea, Alfred Hitchcock did an excellent (1940) film version.

It made my list of top five all time favorite books. http://historysleuth.org/2013/03/childhood-books-shape-your-life/ ( )
  CindyAmrhein | May 20, 2014 |
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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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First words
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.
'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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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

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)

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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)

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