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Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
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Rebecca (original 1938; edition 2002)

by Daphne du Maurier

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
12,387363200 (4.22)3 / 1305
Member:JonnySaunders
Title:Rebecca
Authors:Daphne du Maurier
Info:Perfection Learning (2002), Hardcover
Collections:Read, Your library, Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:1001 Books

Work details

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (1938)

  1. 274
    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. 132
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (citygirl)
  4. 100
    Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier (katie4098)
  5. 80
    The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier (lois1)
  6. 81
    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (starfishian)
  7. 60
    Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (kiwiflowa, lahochstetler)
  8. 60
    Lorna Doone by R. D. 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. 40
    Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart (nu-bibliophile)
  11. 62
    We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (teelgee)
  12. 84
    Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt (kraaivrouw, FutureMrsJoshGroban, nu-bibliophile)
  13. 30
    Don't Look Now by Daphne Du Maurier (Z-Ryan, cometahalley)
  14. 41
    The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (DaraBrooke)
  15. 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.
  16. 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
  17. 10
    Vanishing Cornwall by Daphne Du Maurier (Z-Ryan)
  18. 10
    Yes, My Darling Daughter by Margaret Leroy (WildMaggie)
  19. 10
    Vera by Elizabeth von Arnim (bell7)
  20. 00
    The Secrets Between Us by Louise Douglas (generalkala)

(see all 31 recommendations)

1930s (6)
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English (346)  French (3)  Spanish (3)  German (3)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (360)
Showing 1-5 of 346 (next | show all)
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, Maxims 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 no more. ( )
  DariaZav | Feb 9, 2016 |
While I enjoyed the story and the murky figure of Rebecca hovering ghost like around Manderley, I found the two main characters rather appalling. The narrator is a spineless snivelling child most of the time and Maxim is patronising and aloof in his treatment of her. Of course they redeem themselves in the end (thank goodness). The plot was addictive though, even though, lets be honest, somebody got away with murder. CSI would have solved that in 1 hour. 3.5 stars. ( )
  tashlyn88 | Feb 5, 2016 |
I read the book and simultaneously listened to the audio performed by Anna Massey

Wow! Why hadn’t I read this before? Classic psychological thriller and the epitome of the gothic novel.

Our narrator begins her life as companion-in-training to the insufferable Mrs Van Hopper, who is spending the season in Monte (Carlo, that is). There they come across Mr Maxim de Winter in the resort restaurant. He is a well-known widower who “can’t seem to get over the loss of his wife.” Events lead the young narrator to spend additional time with the owner of the Manderley estate, and romance blossoms.

When Maxim brings his new bride to his ancestral home, however, things begin to go badly. The staff, in particular the housekeeper Mrs Danvers, were devoted to the first Mrs de Winter and our timid narrator is unprepared to assert her own tastes and preferences. Everyone, it seems, is comparing her – unfavorably, at that – to her predecessor, Rebecca. A gala costume ball is the perfect opportunity to introduce her to the community, and also the perfect chance for Mrs Danvers to sabotage her efforts to be accepted. She soldiers on despite a bad start and the novel picks up steam as she learns the truth about Rebecca, and develops the confidence to face her enemies.

Anna Massey gives life to the cast of characters with her perfect combination of proper British attitude, malevolence, malice, and temerity. Her performance is just chilling (in a good way). ( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 25, 2016 |
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - Very Good

Atmospheric, claustrophobic, chilling. No wonder this book has such a high standing.

I suspect we all know (or think we know) the story and that wonderful opening line: "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again... " Maxim de Winter, a brooding widower meets a naive young girl whilst travelling in Europe, and they marry in haste. He brings her back to Manderley and the stern Mrs Danvers: housekeeper and keeper of the flame of Rebecca - the first Mrs de Winter.

She is a fabulously horrible character, scary and manipulative. She intimidates the new bride as the story unfolds of Rebecca's life and what became of her until we reach the denuouement.

Some of the story was familiar from the film (in fact I hit a brick wall at one point as I knew what was coming at the costume ball and cringed to read it) but the subtle details that only the book can give were worth the read.

Listed in the BBC's Bigread top 100
http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/bigread/top100.shtml

Listed in the 1001 books you must read before you die http://www.listology.com/list/1001-books-you-must-read-you-die

Listed in The Guardian's 1000 best novels http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/jan/23/bestbooks-fiction

Listed in the BBC Meme: How Many of These 100 Books Have YOU Read?
http://www.librarything.com/topic/61828

Listed in the 102 Greatest Books by Women:
http://www.buzzfeed.com/ariannarebolini/how-many-of-the-greatest-books-by-women-...
( )
  Cassandra2020 | Jan 24, 2016 |
A fascinating read, wonderfully written and spellbinding from beginning to end! ( )
  SabinaE | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 346 (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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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 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 21 descriptions

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