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Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca (original 1938; edition 2002)

by Daphne du Maurier

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
11,574314233 (4.23)3 / 1142
Authors:Daphne du Maurier
Info:Perfection Learning (2002), Hardcover
Collections:Read, Your library, Read but unowned
Tags:1001 Books

Work details

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (1938)

1930s (6)
Unread books (1,285)
  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. 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
    Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (kiwiflowa, lahochstetler)
  7. 70
    The Scapegoat by Daphne du Maurier (lois1)
  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. 40
    Don't Look Now by Daphne du Maurier (Z-Ryan)
  12. 40
    Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart (nu-bibliophile)
  13. 62
    We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (teelgee)
  14. 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
  15. 20
    Vera by Elizabeth von Arnim (bell7)
  16. 20
    Vanishing Cornwall by Daphne du Maurier (Z-Ryan)
  17. 31
    The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (DaraBrooke)
  18. 20
    Yes, My Darling Daughter by Margaret Leroy (WildMaggie)
  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)

(see all 31 recommendations)


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English (298)  Spanish (3)  French (3)  German (3)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (312)
Showing 1-5 of 298 (next | show all)
A vivid nightmare. The imagery in Rebecca instantly envelops the reader in a shroud of apprehension. Even the author’s descriptions of the trees and shrubs speak of fear and treachery. She builds the tension so effectively that “when the telephone rang,” I jumped along with the second Mrs. de Winter. Rebecca is haunting, lyrical, sinister and beautifully written with each word chosen for maximum effect. Hitchcock made this book into a film, and it’s easy to see why. It lends itself to Hitchcock quite well. I highly recommend this book for fans of romantic suspense and mysteries. This book also won the Anthony Award for best novel of the century. ( )
1 vote TheLoopyLibrarian | Oct 20, 2014 |
My grandmother died when I was very young. I didn't know much about her. Years later, when my grandfather died and we had to go through their things, I found only two books belonging to my grandmother. Her Bible, and this edition of Rebecca. I had never heard of it, and I wondered what was so good about it to make her keep it all those years. It was completely falling apart, with a string tying it together. Well, maybe it was the photos of Sir Laurence Olivier, but when I read it, I fell in love with the haunting and mesmerizing tale that it is. I like to think that my grandmother found it so as well. I bought a replacement hardcover to read again and again, but I kept the cover and photos which were in this book because of grandma. ( )
  MrsLee | Oct 12, 2014 |
What a trip this novel was! I feel like I can barely talk about it without totally spoiling the book, but about two thirds of the way in everything twists and it becomes a totally different sort of story. Really compelling - I devoured this one in 2 days, unable to put it down. I enjoyed that there were so many disparate-seeming plot threads that all wound up tied together neatly with no loose ends, it was a very satisfying read in that regard. Also, kudos to du Maurier for doing the "bland clumsy awkward heroine" trope without making her narrator terrible and annoying the way many YA leads tend to be - I'm not sure I've seen anyone so successful in that regard! ( )
  okrysmastree | Oct 2, 2014 |
I picked up this book off of my shelf one day when I was feeling particularly guilty about my lack of progress in my classics sub-challenge, despite the eight or so books I was already reading at the time (including a library book currently maxed out on number of rechecks.) Then, once I picked it up, I could hardly put it down -- spending as much of my time as possible snuggled into blankets on the couch or in bed with this book.

This book is definitely a gothic novel, despite not having been written in the Victorian age. Young, near-penniless widow marries older, far richer widower, and moves to isolated seaside estate. The kind of house that has a name: Manderley. House has abandoned wings and is almost certainly haunted. Widower's first wife spoken of in reverent tones by all, still manages to come across as frighteningly sinister. Her death shrouded in mystery.

But something else makes it above the pulp thrillers of its day. Exactly what that something is is hard to define. It's just all so well-wrought, perhaps. Every page is so evocative, and over a fairly wide range of emotion. There's nothing one-note about this. And while the setup could easily be Mary Sue or class wish-fulfillment, it is much more complex than that.

Verdict: a classic that's definitely worth it. ( )
  greeniezona | Sep 20, 2014 |
The 2nd Mrs. de Winter meets her husband in Monte Carlo in the years just after World War I. She is a respectable, but penniless girl working as a paid companion to a vulgar American woman. Maxim de Winter is a wealthy Englishman on vacation, trying to come to terms with the drowning of his vibrant and beautiful wife, Rebecca. They marry quickly after their first meeting. Then they return to Maxim’s English estate, Manderly.

Pretty, but insecure, the new Mrs. de Winter rapidly becomes obsessed with her predecessor Rebecca. Rebecca was beautiful, charming, accomplished and loved by all. All the things that the 2nd nameless wife feels that she is not. Adding to her insecurity is the head housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers. Mrs. Danvers was with Rebecca from her childhood and clearly resents the idea that her precious Rebecca has been replaced. Rebecca was far more then what she seemed however. Her beautiful facade masked an ugly history, which haunts Manderly and threatens the 2nd de Winter marriage. ( )
  queencersei | Sep 15, 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
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)

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