Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Julie's Review: Rebecca

(Rebecca (Special)) By du Maurier, Daphne (Author) Paperback on 01-Nov-1997 Summary: "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." Working as a lady's companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Life begins to look very bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Maxim 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 Mrs Danvers. ~goodreads.com

Review: I've been wanting to read Rebeccafor years, so thanks to Adam's TBR Challenge, I have finally tackled it. I only wish I was more satisfied. Now, that's not saying that it wasn't an interesting read and I loved the writing style of Ms. Du Maurier but the story plodded along for me. It wasn't until the last 100 pages that it picked up. Rebecca is an interesting read because the narrator never gives her first name; we only ever know her as Mrs. de Winter and prior to that since she was telling her story there was no need for it. At times I did find this to be distracting. I wanted something to call her other than Maxim's wife or Mrs. de Winter. I felt that it kept me from truly connecting with her throughout the book. I also vacillated between liking her and feeling compassion for her, to wanting to shake her and tell her to grow up.

She is haunted by the memories of Maxim's first wife Rebecca. She is haunted because she doesn't know anything. She is haunted because of what people have told her about Rebecca and Maxim. She is haunted because she is young and insecure. You see she and Maxim got married quickly after meeting in Monte Carlo and only knowing each other for a little time. I wouldn't call this a whirlwind romance at all. To me it was a convenience for both of them. It got her out of a situation that she wasn't to thrilled to be in and for him it was companionship. Does it grow into love? I was never really sold on that at the end of the book. I still think that it was about companionship for both of them. I think that Mrs. de Winter thought she was in love with her husband but having never been in love before, one can never be quite sure.

There are a few twists and turns towards the end of the book that definitely caught me off guard, but I suspect that I should have read the clues and been able to figure it out.

Mrs. Du Maurier is a gifted writer and I can see why this book has been a on many lists as a book not to be missed. I loved her description of Manderley. The way she brings it to life it is a character in and of itself. I could picture myself walking the acreage, walking the halls, running my hands over the wood and art work. It is the kind of place that you want to visit.

I expected a ghost story from Rebecca a real haunting. Not just the haunting of memories from people who knew her. I think that is what disappointed me the most, I wanted a ghost and I didn't get it. I kept expecting some part of the story to not be real, for this to have been a dream or a tale. I kept waiting for some more significant to happen.

The book reminded me a lot of Kate Morton's The House at Riverton in some respects. Although, I have to be honest I enjoyed The House at Riverton far more than Rebecca.

I also have the edition that has the original epilogue for the book. I read it and it left me more confused about the book than the ending did. For me, this is one epilogue that didn't add anything to the story. I would have been better off without it.

Perhaps at some point in the future I will read another one of Ms. Du Maurier's books because I did like her style of writing but Rebecca was a disappointment for me.

Final Take: 3.25/5



Casey (The Bookish Type) September 6, 2011 at 12:06 PM  

I think the fact that she does seem so insecure and young and naive is what makes the book so haunting. She's in this extremely creepy situation, and the disturbingness of their relationship just feeds into the Gothic atmosphere -- as does the fact that it's all real, not some figment of her imagination/a ghost. I adooooore this book -- I'm sorry it wasn't more enjoyable for you! I can see why you might be disappointed if you thought this was a ghost story and it turned out not to be, though. I don't think I've read the epilogue! Now I'm curious!

Julie September 6, 2011 at 1:02 PM  

I definitely found the book haunting and I can't imagine being in her situation but I think I would have forced facts from my new husband about Rebecca. Instead she just listened to everyone else and came to her own conclusions, which was very different than the truth.

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