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Rebecca (1938)

by Daphne du Maurier

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
17,064519218 (4.22)3 / 1603
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.… (more)
  1. 356
    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (chrisharpe, fannyprice, ladybug74, HollyMS, lottpoet)
    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.
    lottpoet: I can see the bones of Jane Eyre in Rebecca
  2. 212
    My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier (HollyMS, EllieH)
    HollyMS: Daphne Du Maurier's My Cousin Rachel has a similar theme as Rebecca.
  3. 131
    Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier (katie4098)
  4. 143
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (citygirl)
  5. 90
    Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (kiwiflowa, lahochstetler)
  6. 90
    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (starfishian)
  7. 91
    The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier (lois1)
  8. 70
    Lorna Doone by R. D. Blackmore (Sylak)
    Sylak: Another saga set against a hauntingly beautiful landscape - but this time its in Exmoor.
  9. 82
    We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (teelgee)
  10. 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.
  11. 51
    Don't Look Now by Daphne Du Maurier (Z-Ryan, cometahalley)
  12. 51
    The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (DaraBrooke)
  13. 84
    Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt (kraaivrouw, FutureMrsJoshGroban, Headinherbooks_27)
  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. 30
    Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart (Headinherbooks_27)
  16. 42
    A Sucessora by Carolina Nabuco (HollyMS, Anonymous user)
    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.
  17. 20
    Vera by Elizabeth von Arnim (bell7)
  18. 10
    Bal masque by Elia Barceló (spiphany)
  19. 10
    Alena by Rachel Pastan (TheLittlePhrase)
  20. 21
    Vanishing Cornwall by Daphne du Maurier (Z-Ryan)

(see all 34 recommendations)

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English (499)  Spanish (5)  French (4)  Italian (3)  German (3)  Swedish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (518)
Showing 1-5 of 499 (next | show all)
I'll admit that for the first hundred pages or so I wasn't extremely impressed with this book. The awkward conversations between the narrator and Maxim were okay but nothing special and that seemed to be all that the novel was. I reconciled myself to the idea that this was a slightly creepy character study. Then Mrs. Danvers started to try and ruin the narrator and then the plot went crazy-awesome melodramatic and I realized that this was the very finest of soap operas in book form. I can't wait to watch the movie. ( )
  jobinsonlis | May 11, 2021 |
Excellent. Suspense plus wonderful writing makes This a perfect short read. ( )
  dugmel | Apr 24, 2021 |
Originally I decided to read this based on a YT recommendation for Halloween reads. I barely got through the first 1/3 of the book because I felt it was as slow as molasses to start off. However, based on recent updates and movie releases that have intrigued me further, I will be trying this book again.

If you enjoyed this book, great! Please continue to support the author in any way you can! ( )
  The_Literary_Jedi | Apr 20, 2021 |
Wow! Lots of detail. Really suspenseful. Interesting plot twists. I was invested all the way to the end. But I can't believe du Maurier concluded the novel like that. I was like,"What, that's it? But...but..." I mean, what happened next? Man. ( )
  Trisarey | Apr 18, 2021 |
I finished Rebecca a couple of days ago and had since been thinking of it as I intended to write a review in here. Then, this morning I opened a book at random - [b:Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy|748862|Simple Abundance A Daybook of Comfort and Joy|Sarah Breathnach|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1177997799s/748862.jpg|276238] by Sarah Ban Breathnach – and there, under the entry for May 26 (I did open this at random), I found this quote from Rebecca:

This was a woman’s room, graceful, fragile, the room of someone who had chosen every particle of furniture with great care, so that each chair, each vase, each small infinitesimal thing should be in harmony with one another and with her own personality. It was as though she who had arranged this room has said: “This I will have, and this, and this,’ taking piece by piece from the treasures in Manderley each object that pleased her best, ignoring the second-rate, the mediocre, laying her hand with sure and certain instinct only upon the best.


I love when I experience such moments of literary serendipity. It was almost uncanny that I had found this specific quote, as I remember it well from when I heard it (oh yes, I listened to it in audio). The young Mrs. De Winter was describing the previous Mrs. De Winter’s morning room, and I remember thinking what great power of description Daphne Du Maurie had: while bringing this room to life she was also telling us so much about the deceased Rebecca.

The book is a long monologue by young Mrs. DeWinter, of whom we never learn her first name, only that it was unusual. But through her narration we are enveloped by the beauty of Manderley, a place that is as much a character in this book as the people in it, and we started to learn of all of the other characters. Here again Daphne Du Maurier surprised me. The characters are multi-dimensional, full of flaws, but through their shortcomings: Maxim’s pride, Mrs. Danver’s revengefulness and grief, and even Rebecca’s egocentricity ‘ they became more human in our eyes.

I should say that I had trouble finding sympathy for young Mrs. De Winter though. I realize she was young, naïve and in love, and that she was put into a completely dysfunctional situation yet I wanted to shake her a few times. Maybe my lack of kindness comes not from lack of familiarity with her situation, but because I do see myself in the mirror here. No, I never married a widower with an overbearing housekeeper, but I have been in situations where I was the new arrival, the new kid in the block, the junior employee in the office, the new member of the board, the new bride, the young mother, the new person joining an internet group… and I blundered. I hesitated because of fear or because I wanted to be accepted and I only made things worst.

This is getting long, but I have more to say about this book. I liked that it defies genre. It was a romance, but had such gothic elements to it, then it veered very close into mystery terrain. More than anything it was a very sharp commentary into class relation and British society of the period. I dare say that Du Maurier is as discriminating as Jane Austen in social commentary. The difference being that in Austen’s writing the social commentary is at the center of her stories, where Daphne Du Maurier puts it at the background, almost part of the scenery she describes so well.

I don’t know why it took me so long to read Daphne Du Maurier, but I am very glad I finally did.

( )
  RosanaDR | Apr 15, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 499 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (51 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
du Maurier, Daphneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beauman, SallyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burnett, VirgilCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dietsch, J.N.C. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoffman, H. LawrenceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kortemeier, S.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Massey, AnnaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Metcalf, JordanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scalero, AlessandraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schab, Karin vonÜbersetzersecondary 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.
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)

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.

No library descriptions found.

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.

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