Friday, January 3, 2014

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Margaret Forster wrote in tribute to Daphne Du Maurier after she died in 1989, that "No other popular writer has so triumphantly defied classification...she satisfied all the questionable criteria of popular fiction, and yet satisfied too the exacting requirements of "real literature", something very few novelists ever do."

I must admit, I am later than most coming to this story of REBECCA, but it was no less a joy because of this. In fact, I can visualize my young teenage self reading it, and coming away with the same heartfelt delight. 

The novel tells the story of a young girl, (we are never told her name) who whilst working as a companion in Monte Carlo, meets the widow Max De Winters, who proposes marriage, and after a brief honeymoon on the continent, whisks her off to his isolated ancestral home, Manderley. We are introduced briefly to the character of Rebecca initially by way of a note in a book, but it is on arriving at Manderley, that the ominous late wife, Rebecca, is brought back to life through the stories and beliefs of others, not least of which is the dark and disturbing Mrs Danvers, Rebecca's maid and close companion.

Rebecca, an International best seller which has never gone out of print is a haunting tale that everyone should read, whether you are 15, or 115.  

It is a dark Gothic mystery that will have you captivated from beginning to end. A curl up in front of the fire book, one that kept me up to the early hours of the morning reading, and one which I looked forward to picking up each day, the way you only can, when you find a great book. I find myself disappointed now that it is over. 

So what had me hooked? Great storytelling for sure, an almost magical enthralling read, without a doubt. A good dash of darkness and spice and secrets, alongside the fragility of the human spirit,some good plot twists, even if one or two were a bit of a stretch, a layered story, opening the window for the reader into another time and place, the wonderful location of Manderley, the dark west wing and Mrs Danvers, and the ability of the author to brings this world to life and to do so with a firm, delicate, mesmerising hand.

I highly recommend it, but I will leave you with a quote from the opening page in a dream like description of Manderlay and the drive - "Nature has come into her own again and, little by little, in her stealthy, insidious way had encroached upon the drive with long, tenacious fingers. The woods, always a menace even in the past, had triumphed in the end. They crowded, dark and uncontrolled, to the borders of the drive. The beeches with white, naked limbs leant close to one another, their branches intermingled in a strange embrace..."


  1. The old B/W film version was on the telly the other day. So bad it's good!
    Great story.

    1. Ah blast - sorry I missed that! But a great story and novel!

  2. One of my favourites!


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