Author: Daphne Du Maurier
Published by: Avon Books-An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
Synopsis: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” So the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter remembered the chilling events that led her down the turning drive past the beeches, white and naked, to the isolated gray stone manse (mansion) on the windswept Cornish coast. With a husband she barely knew, the young bride arrived at this immense estate, only to be inexorably drawn into the life of the first Mrs. de Winter, the beautiful Rebecca, dead but never forgotten…her suite of rooms never touched, her clothes ready to be worn, her servant-the sinister Mrs. Danvers- still loyal. And as an eerie presentiment of evil tightened around her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter began her search for the real fate of Rebecca…for the secrets of Manderley.
Excerpt: “Why is the buoy there in the little harbor place?” I asked.
“The boat used to be moored there,” he said.
“What boat?” I asked.
“Her boat,” he said. A strange sort of excitement was upon me. I had to go on with my questions. He did not want to talk about it, I knew that, but although I was sorry for him and shocked at my own self I had to continue, I could not be silent.
“What happened to it?” I asked. “Was that the boat she was sailing when she was drowned?” “Yes,” he said quietly, “It capsized and sank. She was washed overboard.”
“What sort of size boat was it?” I asked.
“About three tons. It had a little cabin.”
“What made it capsize?” I said.
“It can be squally in the bay,” he said.
I thought of that green sea, foam-flecked, that ran down channel beyond the headland. Did the wind come suddenly, I wondered, in a funnel from the beacon on the hill, and did the little boat heel to it, shivering the white sail flat against a breaking sea.
My review: This is the story of a young girl working as a companion to an old, quite bossy, lady. She meets the charming Mr. De winter in Monte Carlo, who is just out of grieving for his lost first wife. She falls in love and they get married in haste…he never voices his own feelings aloud. Going to his beloved estate ‘Manderley’ she finds that Rebecca, his first wife, still has an eerie hold over the household. Everybody she meets compares her with the vivacious, beautiful and generous Rebecca until she can take it no more. This is when the mystery of Rebecca’s death resurfaces and her world is thrown into chaos. She learns of the true nature of the much-revered Rebecca, her relationship with her husband and much more. Will she finally learn her husbands true feelings? Is he really the person she fell in love with? Do read the book to find out J
This story is written in the old English style with names and characters to suit! Typical long winding sentences, subtle romances, lengthy descriptions-you have it all! One might get bored somehow, of long descriptions of sceneries. But when I voiced my opinion about this, my mom quietly explained, “Since they had no TV or internet at that time, writers gave long and detailed descriptions of characters, scenery and clothing to fuel the reader’s imagination.”
The story is slow to start but catches pace quickly, gripping the reader’s attention. You will nearly be as curious as the lead character to know the mystery of Rebecca. The story is also mysterious in a way that the female lead’s name is never disclosed throughout the book. Remarks are passed about how it is so unusual and beautiful, that I had this urge to call up the author and ask her what name she had in her mind!
This book is a complete must read. One of the best books the author wrote.
The book also has a movie based on it. But I haven't seen it so I can't comment on it.
Price: U.S. $7.99