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Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca (original 1938; edition 2002)

by Daphne du Maurier

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
13,444397162 (4.22)3 / 1373
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)

  1. 304
    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. 172
    My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier (HollyMS, EllieH)
    HollyMS: Daphne Du Maurier's My Cousin Rachel has a similar theme as Rebecca.
  3. 143
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (citygirl)
  4. 100
    Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier (katie4098)
  5. 90
    The Woman in White (Penguin Classics) by Wilkie Collins (starfishian)
  6. 80
    The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier (lois1)
  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. 72
    We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (teelgee)
  11. 40
    Don't Look Now by Daphne Du Maurier (Z-Ryan, cometahalley)
  12. 40
    Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart (nu-bibliophile)
  13. 51
    The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (DaraBrooke)
  14. 84
    Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt (kraaivrouw, FutureMrsJoshGroban, nu-bibliophile)
  15. 31
    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.
  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
    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. 00
    The Great Impersonation by E. Phillips Oppenheim (chilirlw)

(see all 31 recommendations)

1930s (6)
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Showing 1-5 of 381 (next | show all)
"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." This book opens with a big prose hot fudge Sunday, a toasty warm and sweetly cool confection. Tasty little ts punctuate that first sentence, tripping along, drawing us into the book and into the painterly opening images of the hauntingly beautiful Manderley estate. We are drawn in to a plot that then smoothly pulls us along, slowly building the tension. The world of Manderley is a world that is too perfect seen through a narrator who is not perfect enough, and somewhere between the perfection and the failings, carefully laid out, we find the pace starts to quicken and the tension builds. Suddenly, with a quick twist, a volta if you will, that world changes, day becomes night, and we must rethink everything. The pacing is masterful, and one of the great pleasures of the book is just letting the words just take you along for the ride.

Rebecca is a classic to both readers and moviegoers, and reading the book one quickly sees what drew Hitchcock in: the perfect pacing, the near-purple (puce?) prose, the characters who appear so expected yet, perhaps, are not, and, most of all, the questions and mystery left. Rebecca never appears in the book yet haunts every page and thought. One might read her into the shrubbery or the room decor, or find her long-gone spirit animating the otherwise dour Danny, or see her just beyond the margins, somehow manipulating the actual characters of the novel from out there.

The whole thing is simply a great show. ( )
3 vote A_musing | May 21, 2017 |
Okay, I am not a male chauvinist and I do not intend to hurt the 'feminine' feelings but I am somewhat compelled to say this book is written in a very schoolgirlish manner! The tiresome description of the protagonist's passionate true love towards her husband Maximillian de Winter wore me off, literally. She is always insecure and brittle as a plastic toy. She has the purest of hearts. It's amazing how the good guys are good in an angelic way and the bad guys are infernally BAD. They are always lurking in darkness to catch you off guard. When the good guys do something bad, they do it for the sake of goodness in the long run and the bad guys in an inexplicable way, keep doing the bad things to make themselves even 'badder'! The so called Gothic tale appeared to me as a cheesy love story and I surmised that 'Rebecca' could be one of the 'foremothers' of modern days' chick lit.

I started reading this book with great expectation (specially after seeing a rating of 4.16 out of 5 on goodreads) but it disappointed me greatly. It's famous for the psychological challenges the central character faces but these challenges occurred due to the ever insecure nature of that character. Often, the twists were given away, the plot became predictable and I felt like the places of suspense were rather imposed. What I liked about this novel was its dark tone. Daphne du Maurier maintained this tone throughout the novel nicely and created another world of 'Manderley'. A rather good book for travelling with when there's nothing much to enjoy outside the window of your vessel. ( )
  Shaker07 | May 18, 2017 |
The audiobook of Rebecca was recommended on a book blog I contribute to, and when I learned the narrator was Anna Massey I had to try it. I haven't read Rebecca for years and years, but I read it first in my teens and then reread it a couple of times. Hearing it rather than reading it was a different experience, and the fact that I'm much older probably affected my responses as well.

It's still a great story, with wonderful twists and turns, and Du Maurier's descriptions and evocations of the settings are wonderful. Manderley is a character in its own right. I remembered almost all the revelations before they occurred, but I didn't remember everything about the story.

The characters are not likeable or relatable, but I don't think they were supposed to be. There's so much about the class system and class relations, and Maxim de Winter was as trapped in his privileged position (or at least constrained by it) as the Narrator was in hers. It's not a romance but I think it is, in the end, a love story.

Hearing the book read brought home how much description there is in the novel. It's very 19thC in that sense, and also in the sense that it is the 20thC version of a Sensation Novel. You can see how those spawned this kind of Gothic.

Massey was magnificent. All her character interpretations were excellent, and she changed her voice and accents as needed without overdoing anything. I could listen to her forever. ( )
  Sunita_p | Apr 24, 2017 |
Haunted by the memory of Rebecca, Maxim's previous wife, we are shown the impact it has on him and his new wife (the narrator) Mrs de Winter. Subtle and slow burning, very enjoyable. ( )
  kale.dyer | Apr 19, 2017 |
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. ( )
  MaraBlaise | Apr 14, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (134 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Maurier, Daphne duprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tarner, MargaretRetold bymain authorall editionsconfirmed
Beauman, SallyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burnett, VirgilCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Massey, AnnaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stibolt, HelenTranslatorsecondary 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.
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 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)

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