Author: Daphne du Maurier
Genre: Classic Mystery
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Caution: May contain spoilers
"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again",
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.
~synopsis from Goodreads
A friend of mine one time at the book store was looking for this book. She said she really liked the movie and wanted to read the book. I heard from her, and then read online, about the book and movie. It sounded very enticing, and since I try really hard to read books before watching movies, I thought I would go for it. It’s not a Jane Austen era classic, but a classic nonetheless, and definitely out of my regular reading range. Yet, I found this novel fascinating.
As I sat down to type up a review, I realized that I couldn’t for the life of me remember what our heroine’s name was. She was basically referred to as Mrs. de Winter throughout the majority of the book. Turns out, the author never gave her one. Which makes this all the more strange, to be honest. In any case, the story is told from Mrs. de Winter’s perspective and it was enjoyable to see this world through her. She was so innocent and peculiar, I couldn’t help but like her. And I could see a little bit of myself in her too. Her husband, Maxim, was a sometimes charming, sometimes mysterious gentleman.
The book takes place mostly at Manderley, the beautiful mansion full of secrets. Upon reading the first chapter, you’re swept away in the loveliness of the place. That’s one thing I really enjoyed, the descriptions of everything down to the detail. Sometimes detail can be too much, but there was an air of mystery throughout that it kept you interested. Once Mrs. de Winter arrives at this place with Maxim, there is an unending atmosphere of an eerie nature flowing through the hallways and rooms. The first Mrs. de Winter, Rebecca, was someone that everyone knew and everyone loved. For the current Mrs. de Winter, it is impossible for her to fill those shoes. She can’t help but wonder what happened to Rebecca, this woman that nobody could find fault with, and why everything associated to Manderley seems to be surrounded by secrets of a disturbing kind.
There are so many others in this story, members of the staff and family and friends, I don’t think I could list them all. I do have to make note of Mrs. Danvers. Oh my goodness, that woman. As I read her words, the things she dared say to Mrs. de Winter, I was in disbelief at her. I expected as much, seeing how their first encounters started, and by the end, everything she did was not shocking anymore.
The ending, however, did not go remotely as I expected. The mystery, when discovered, was more like… really? And as the time passed by after this discovery, I was thinking, NOW how will this end? How CAN it end? I was baffled. Maybe I’m just so used to being completely surprised by things. This wasn’t a complete surprise.
One thing I can say is that Rebecca did keep me wondering throughout what was going to happen. One minute you’re lead in one direction, then you’re lead in a different direction. You never know what is what, or who is trustworthy, or if the words uttered can even be believed as fact or fiction. It will definitely keep you on your toes. Daphne du Maurier wove a tale so mysterious and remarkable. I would recommend this for sure. And now, for me to see the movie.
Very Good: Stay up late