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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
13,410397163 (4.22)3 / 1369
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. 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 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 380 (next | show all)
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 |
My librarian warned me I'd like this book. How uncannily accurate she can be about these things. I sometimes have a secret ambition to become a librarian.

Oh, wait, I'm supposed to be reviewing the book here? Right.

I have to say the relationship between the narrator and Maxim de Winter was really aggravating for a time, what with him treating her like a child or pet, and her only ever desiring to please him. But after that The Truth came out, it became a little more satisfactory, and I liked the character of Maxim a little more.

But really, though the prose could be seen as purple at times, it suits the story. It is in accordance with the persepective of our narrator, who does take time to look at all the flowers and really draw in all she sees of the setting.

And the mystery of what happened to Rebecca (promise not to reveal it) is so intriguing and well-contrived. You're sure it was no accident but you have no clue who did it. It feels as if it's a theme that is somewhat overused, but I have to wonder if it seems so because of this book. That is to say, I'm not sure how popular it was as a theme before this. I'm more inclined to believe that du Maurier has been a large enough influence on the scene of modern crime that some aspects of the plot would begin to seem overused.

Chilling opening and ending. Loved it! ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
My favorite book of all time. I love it!! ( )
  Crystal423 | Mar 10, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 380 (next | show all)
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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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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.
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 (1)

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 19 descriptions

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