Rating: 5/5 Stars
Genre: Gothic Suspense
Release Date: First published 1938
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About the Book: The novel is told from the point of view of an unnamed narrator. From the beginning we get the sense that the story is a flashback and the narrator is reflecting on a time in her life that continues to haunt her. Her story starts when she is visiting Monte Carlo with Mrs. Van Hopper, who is her employer. The narrator works as a paid companion to the elderly woman who is always keen on gossip. One day while dining, Mrs. Van Hopper notices a man at a table nearby that she recognizes as Max de Winter, the owner of Manderley. His wife recently passed away in a boating accident and rumor is he can’t get over her death. Mrs. Van Hopper intrudes on the man’s meal and thus begins the relationship between the narrator and Maxim de Winter. After spending time together in Monte Carlo, the narrator begins to realize she loves Maxim, even though he is more than 20 years her senior. On the day she and Mrs. Van Hopper are supposed to leave, the narrator cries to Maxim that she will miss him very much and he proposes. After a whirlwind honeymoon, the pair return to Maxim’s home of Manderley. At Manderley, the new Mrs. de Winter is constantly haunted by the presence of Rebecca, Maxim’s first wife. The household staff don’t respect, the people in the community compare her to Rebecca, and Rebecca’s touch on Manderley echoes throughout the entire house. Secrets begin to unravel and the truth about Rebecca is slowly uncovered.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I had always wanted to read this book, so when I had the chance to for class I decided to finally read it. I loved it and am eager to read more of Du Maurier’s work now.
The writing is wonderful and really places the reader into the story. It’s easy to get caught up in the book and get lost in the story. The author puts the reader right into the narrator’s shoes and I felt as though I was upset and haunted by Rebecca just as the narrator is. There were lots of twists and they were surprises which I always like-I hate when I can figure out the story.
It is a chilling, psychological story and I even wish there had been a bit more to it-especially about Rebecca as she’s a fascinating character, especially for not even appearing in the novel! I wouldn’t say this book is the stuff of nightmares, but it is suspenseful and very creepy-the author does a fantastic job of setting up Manderley to be an odd, strange, creepy sort of place. I read the entire book with a sense of foreboding, especially since you never really know the truth or who to trust. I did think it was interesting how at first the author makes you not really sure about Maxim de Winter, but then switches things up and makes you like him at the exact moment you really shouldn’t be liking him!
(SPOILER ALERT) I mean, really, we discover the truth about Maxim and what happened to Rebecca and that he killed her, yet at this point, I didn’t find him creepy and strange anymore. I had been all annoyed at him for never telling the narrator he loved her, yet he confesses everything and says don’t you see, I really loved you all along. I wanted him and the narrator to make things work. How twisted is that? Props to the author for making me suspicious of Maxim and then when I find out the truth, I like him more!
A fantastic book that I'm so glad I finally read-highly recommended!!
Is There Teen Appeal?-Yes, I think this would be great for teens, especially teens who are fans of classics and gothic novels.
Book Pairings: Emily Bronte, The Blind Assasin by Margaret Atwood, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (this one is not my idea, but from a read alike list at my library and I thought it was perfect!)
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from copy I borrowed from my local library