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Rebecca (Virago Modern Classics) by Daphne…

Rebecca (Virago Modern Classics) (original 1938; edition 2003)

by Daphne Du Maurier (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
17,532533218 (4.22)3 / 1631
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again... Working as a lady's companion, the heroine of REBECCA 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 proposal 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. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding housekeeper, Mrs Danvers... Not since Jane Eyre has a heroine faced such difficulty with the Other Woman. An international bestseller that has never gone out of print, REBECCA is the haunting story of a young girl consumed by love and the struggle to find her identity.… (more)
Title:Rebecca (Virago Modern Classics)
Authors:Daphne Du Maurier (Author)
Info:Virago (2003), Edition: New Ed, 448 pages
Collections:Your library, Fiction
Tags:1001 Books

Work Information

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (1938)

  1. 366
    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. 100
    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (starfishian)
  6. 90
    Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (kiwiflowa, lahochstetler)
  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 and Other Stories 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. 20
    Vera by Elizabeth von Arnim (bell7)
  17. 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.
  18. 10
    Bal masque by Elia Barceló (spiphany)
  19. 10
    Yes, My Darling Daughter by Margaret Leroy (WildMaggie)
  20. 10
    La voce della pietra by Silvio Raffo (Lapsus_Linguae)
    Lapsus_Linguae: Another Gothic story with an old mansion and a ghost of the beautiful previous mistress.

(see all 35 recommendations)

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My TBR (4)
1930s (5)

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Showing 1-5 of 514 (next | show all)
This was quite a slow burn. I would guess that more than a few people have read the first couple chapters and abandoned it. But it got more intriguing as it went. I didn't actually 'like' the characters as people, and not all that much even happens, lol, but by the end I was definitely invested in finding out where the story would go. The area where it really succeeds, in my opinion, is that it's told in a way that invites the reader to mull it over. I pondered different plot points, and character motivations, and the subtext of scenes, and what characters might have done differently, and what might happen in the end, all throughout the book. For this reason I highly recommend reading it in conjunction with another, so you have someone to talk it over with. Many times my impressions of events differed drastically from my reading parter's, and it was interesting to compare 'evidence' for each case. There's plenty of room for multiple interpretations of pretty much every aspect of the story. ( )
  JorgeousJotts | Dec 3, 2021 |
Re-read after watching the rather simplified Netflix adaptation... A classic, of repression and twisted love. I couldn't help thinking that this could only be written about English people, who dare not speak of their emotions. Told from the first person, almonst entirely as an interior monologue, by the young, unnamed, heroine who, when we meet her is employed as a companion and who spends her time imagining stories about those around her. Her marriage to widower Maxim de Winter catapaults her into a world of wealth and tradition and she struggles to cope, expecially with the ever present memory of the first Mrs De Winter - Rebecca. The consequeces of repression, love for place over person, and the wrong kind of love play out slowy, with each revelation a shock, even on a re-read. Well deseved classic status. ( )
  Figgles | Nov 8, 2021 |
After seeing the Hitchcock film of this book years ago, I was interested to read the book...despite a few misgivings about the front-cover tag declaring it "romantic suspense." I really enjoyed the book...though it's one of the least romantic things I've ever read.

In terms of romance, Maxim and the narrator's relationship reminded me a bit of [b:Twilight|41865|Twilight (Twilight, #1)|Stephenie Meyer|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1361039443s/41865.jpg|3212258]: creepy, obsessive, infantalizing, and rather conveniently ratcheted up only when Maxim needs his wife to keep his secret. In other words, not romantic at all. With the clarity of feminism, I was able to appreciate how psychologically messed up the whole situation was and watch this magnificent train wreck...and it was, indeed magnificent. The narrator's alternating enjoyment of and discomfort with her new life, and her desperation to make her husband love her, felt so real that I sympathized rather than being impatient (a very tricky feat indeed, though I'm sure I was more forgiving given that the book was written in the 1930s).

The descriptions of the house were beautifully done, if occationally repetitive (the image of the tree branches forming a chapel-like ceiling was used twice), and I have a very vivid image of Manderly, especially Rebecca's beautiful but distant morning room. I'd like to watch the film again later this week, but I want to give time for the house to sink in--hopefully the movie won't overwrite my imagination.

This particular edition also had a note from the author about how she came to write the book, a short story about a neglected old house, and the original epilogue (a variant of which became the first two chapters). I particularly enjoyed the last, since it gave a view of the writing process...and made me appreciate the rather abrupt end of the book. "Henry's" disability smacked a bit too much of Mr. Rochester for a book that already had overtones of [b:Jane Eyre|11019|Jane Eyre|Charlotte Brontë|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1207621830s/11019.jpg|2977639] and the main character's development was too overtly given away.

I'll close on one of the points that interested me most about the book: the narrator's name is never revealed, though Maxim does comment that it is "a lovely and unusual name" (24). Similarly, very little of her extended back story is given beyond the fact that she is an orphan. But it doesn't feel forced or awkward, perhaps because she is so reflective and responsive.

And imaginative. All right, I can't actually close without praising her little flights of fancy. I can appreciate all too well the ups and downs that come with an ability to visualize scenes of what might happen--whether that's the good things that might come to be or a terrible accident. Maybe I felt a bit closer to the narrator for that reason. Not exactly objective, but then, when is reading ever objective?

Quote Roundup

After going overboard on [b:The Night Circus|9361589|The Night Circus|Erin Morgenstern|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1387124618s/9361589.jpg|14245059] and [b:Fahrenheit 451|119787|Fahrenheit 451|Ray Bradbury|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1368648054s/119787.jpg|1272463], I tried to be good and limit myself.

154) If Maxim had been there I should not be lying as I was now, chewing a piece of grass, my eyes shut. I should have been watching him, watching his eyes, his expression. Wondering if he liked it, if he was bored. Wondering what he was thinking. Now I could relax, none of those things mattered. Maxim was in London. How lovely it was to be alone again. No, I did not mean that. It was disloyal, wicket. It was not what I meant. Maxim was my life and my world.
If you're not at least a little bit disturbed by this kind of thinking, these signs of emotional abuse, we probably don't get along very well.

276) The jig-saw pieces came together piece by piece, and the real Rebecca took shape and form before me, stepping from her shadow world like a living figure from a picture frame. Rebecca slashing at her horse; Rebecca seizing life with her two hands; Rebecca, triumphant, leaning down from the minstrels' gallery with a smile on her lips.
The only reason I backed down from being convinced that Maxim was completely making up Rebecca's villainy was the hints of it along the way: cruelty to the horse, to Ben. I'm still not entirely swayed. Whipping a horse into shape wasn't unheard of, and it's possible that Favell was the one who told Ben he'd be put in an asylum. Some reading of criticism is in order, I think. Wonder if Norton has a Critical Edition?

388, Author’s Note) I continue to receive letters from all over the world asking me … why did I never give the heroine a Christian name? The answer…is simple: I could not think of one, and it became a challenge to technique, the easier because I was writing in the first person.
I remember the days when I would have accepted this as the end of the story. Ah, the death of the author… Interpretation will not be hemmed in!

396, “The House of Secrets”) Here was a block of stone, even as the desert Sphinx, made by man for his own purpose—yet she had a personality that was hers alone, without the touch of human hand. One family only had lived within her walls. One family who had given her life. They had been born there, they had loved, they had quarreled, they had suffered, they had died. And out of those emotions she had woven a personality for herself, she had become what their thoughts and their desires had made her. ( )
  books-n-pickles | Oct 29, 2021 |
Impulsively downloaded this audiobook after seeing the trailer for the forthcoming Netflix adaptation. (My physical copy is at my parent's house.) I'm a little over halfway through so far...and good lord, I can't believe romance is associated with this title in any way. I am, once again, astonished by how terrible and patronizing Maxim is to our narrator. He's just awful...and if I were inclind to "ship" characters, I'd say that the Manderley estate manager, Frank Crawley (sp?) would be a far better match for our narrator.

Speaking of narrators, Anna Massey is superb. I haven't listend to an audiobook since 2011 (on a road trip by myself) aside from a couple Tor.com short stories, and this one is so much better than those two over-the-top dramatic readings were. Massey can differentiate the characters speaking without resorting to ridiculous voices. Her pauses are perfectly placed for tension and her delivery of our shy, hesitant narrator is spot-on.

I can't say this audiobook has converted me to the format. It's one thing to see that you've got about a 14 hour commitment, it's quite another to have to sit through it, especially when I read so much faster. The tasks I try to multitask are either too noisy for me to hear over or require too much thought for me to absorb what's being said. Plus it feels so rude to have earphones in all the time, and it's annoying to have to wake up my phone to pause and play just for quick comments. (These are NOT things that will influence my eventual star rating.)

That said, I am impressed by the metadata markup that seems to be underlying this audiobook. Whenever I hit play after pausing, the audio resumes from the beginning of the sentence I was listening to, rather than in the middle of it. Big step up from the books on tape and CDs I used to listen to in the car! (I am already a technological mastadon at the age of 30, aiyah...) ( )
  books-n-pickles | Oct 29, 2021 |
Well, I feel as though I've missed something crucial, as everyone has raved about this novel and how amazing it is. I can't say that I agree. I enjoyed it, to an extent, and the prose was quite lovely, but I don't see myself ever turning to re-read it, unlike books that I love, such as Jane Eyre (and I think the comparison with that book is thin, personally.) Yes, they were twists that I didn't see coming, but there were a few that I predicted as well (and no: I haven't seen the Hitchcock film.) A good book? Sure. The quintessential romantic suspense novel? Perhaps to some... I'm just not sold. ( )
  bookwyrmqueen | Oct 25, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 514 (next | show all)
"Rebecca is a lowbrow story with a middlebrow finish,” announced The Times Literary Supplement when Daphne du Maurier’s bestselling novel was first issued in 1938. Critic V.S. Pritchett was even more dismissive in his review, announcing that Rebecca "would be here today, gone tomorrow." The novel did generate positive coverage in Good Housekeeping and Ladies Home Journal, but that kind of praise did more harm than good in elite literary circles.... [the] novel has slowly climbed the path from lowbrow to highbrow in the eight decades since its initial publication, and is now more likely encountered on a college syllabus than at a supermarket checkout counter. You will now find Rebecca on the assigned reading lists of classes on gender politics, British fiction, Gothic style and other academic subjects.... Rebecca ranks among the most acute literary explorations of jealousy.... In truth, plot plays only a small part in the lasting success of this novel. The story itself is simple, and even the supposedly surprising twists are often telegraphed long in advance. What sets Rebecca apart from its peers is its author’s mastery of tone and mood, emotion and psychology.

» Add other authors (50 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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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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Wikipedia in English (1)

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again... Working as a lady's companion, the heroine of REBECCA 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 proposal 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. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding housekeeper, Mrs Danvers... Not since Jane Eyre has a heroine faced such difficulty with the Other Woman. An international bestseller that has never gone out of print, REBECCA is the haunting story of a young girl consumed by love and the struggle to find her identity.

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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.

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