Author: Daphne du Maurier
Genre: Classics, Mystery, Gothic, Suspense, Literature, Thriller, Historical Fiction
Publisher: (Republished by Little, Brown and Company)
Published: 1938 (Republished December 17, 2013)
Page Amount: 393 pages
Blurb From Goodreads: The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.
Why Read: I have to admit that I did not have totally pure motivations in reading this book. A friend has been telling me to read this for quite a while now, because of the musical. Yes. There is a musical in German, of course, that I’m absolutely dying to see. It seems almost shameful though to see it without reading the original gothic novel.
Review: If you know me, then you know I’m not always one for classics. That’s not to say that I don’t love a good Jane Austen or Sir Arthur Canon Doyle every once in awhile, but usually – it’s something I’m comfortable with (because I’ve read it before). It’s not something I’m particularly proud of, but classics are not my strong point.
Rebecca may have changed that. It was my first gothic novel that I’ve read since leveling up to adulthood – and I’m fond of it for that reason. The characters have the same problems that most older classical books have – weak women treated that way, overly masculine men, and plots that seem overly simplistic to us now… but which were the turn of the century back in the early 20th century.
Beyond those issues, which really plague most older books – it was a great novel to read for just as many, if not more, reasons. The ambience of the novel was perfectly creepy, and it reminded me of that new movie Crimson Peak with the halloween aesthetic. Of course I also read this during Halloween… so that may have something to do with it. The writing style reflected this and made me both uncomfortably aware of my surroundings in real life and for the new Mrs. de Winter.
The characters of Mrs. and Mr. de Winter were intriguing. I can’t really describe how I ADORED every second of Max’s development from start to finish without spoiling the novel, but rest assured if you read this book, you will love it too. Rebecca exists as this presence that is not supernatural but somehow is. The supporting cast floats in and out of the plot as needed, but somehow don’t seem too disposable (I’m not sure how Daphne du Maurier does it).
I really did like this book. It combines the creeping gothic ambiance with a love story disrupted by the past, which is and isn’t there simultaneously. Gah, I’m almost speechless because I want to blurt everything out and word-vomit all over about how much this book shocked me and then kept me on the edge of my train seat and I’m sure made some other passengers think I was having a stroke. Point being: Read it. You will like it, and if you don’t… well, let’s not go there, shall we?
Rating: 4.8/5 Stars