Author: Daphne Du Maurier
“I am glad it cannot happen twice, the fever of first love. For it is a fever, and a burden, too, whatever the poets may say.”
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” The book opens up with this line where the protagonist, the second Mrs. De Winter is reminiscing about her beautiful palatial estate. Manderley had been the home of her dreams, with the big house and the gardens, the boathouse, the valley and the sloping lawns. Yet the place gave her nightmares. For in every part of it was Rebecca’s uncanny presence.
It starts by telling the story of a young girl who meets a handsome, older gentleman, Mr. Maxim de Winter, in Monte Carlo. Maxim’s former wife Rebecca, who was much-loved by everyone around her, had recently drowned at sea and the people back at West Country were heartbroken by this incident. The unnamed protagonist falls in love with Maxim and they get married despite his troubled past. On arriving home to ‘Manderley’ after their honeymoon, the second Mrs De Winter faces an aching struggle against the first Mrs. De Winter Rebecca, whose presence at Manderley remains even from beyond the grave. The new Mrs. De Winter is constantly compared to Rebecca, who was loved and admired by all and faces unkindness from Mrs Danvers, Rebecca’s old maid. As the new lady of the house, she struggles to adjust to this new way of life and find her own identity. It gets clearer as the story unfolds that Rebecca was not the angel that everyone thought her to be and neither did she die in what was referred to as a tragic accident.
Rebecca is a gripping and power-packed novel with themes of identity crisis and competition with another woman. Manderley is brilliantly depicted as the hellish mansion to which Mrs. De Winter cannot adjust and it is almost a character in itself as it seems to breathe and tremble with Rebecca’s haunting presence. Mrs Danvers is a delightfully ominous character, whose devilish tricks and abnormal obsession with Rebecca intensify the gloomy atmosphere.
The book offers its readers romance, mystery, crime, suspense and thriller and we are left in awe and astonishment by the end of it.
“But luxury has never appealed to me, I like simple things, books, being alone, or with somebody who understands.”
Goodreads Rating: 4.23/5
Amazon Rating: 4.5/5