Author: Daphne du Maurier
Genre: fiction (suspense)
Length: 386 pages
Source: public library
Resolutions/Challenges: Readers Imbibing in Peril VI Challenge
Reason for Reading: I meant to read this last year for the RIP V Challenge, but didn’t have time to read more than I did.
Summary (from Goodreads):
“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 ther beeches, white and naked, to the isolated gray stone manse 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.
My Thoughts: I neither enjoyed or disliked this book. Therefore, it gets a 3/5 rating of “neutral”. Having watched the 1940 film last fall, I knew the story behind it. However, I forgot exactly how Maxim got out of the situation in the end, so I did get a little surprise out of reading the book. But I didn’t get interested in the story until what truly happened to Rebecca was revealed–which left me pretty uninterested in the majority of the story.
Turns out that I really didn’t like the character of the second Mrs. de Winter. Firstly, she was so very weak. Like she didn’t have a mind of her own. She consistently needed someone telling her what to do. And she always wondered what everyone else thought of her, comparing herself to Rebecca. She had no real identity, furthered only by the fact that her name was never mentioned once. She was only known as Mrs. de Winter–whatever Mrs. van Hopper called her was never actually said.
As mentioned above, I read this book for the RIP Challenge. As the challenge centers on all books creepy, one would expect to find creepy bits in stories read for the challenge. Such was not the case with Rebecca. Very little of the story was creepy. When Mrs. Danvers was trying to convince Mrs. de Winter to kill herself was a little creepy. But the strangest part of all was that Mrs. de Winter was completely okay, even happy, with finding out what Maxim did. I mean, listen to this:
There were no shadows between us anymore and when we were silent it was because the silence came to us of our own asking. I wondered how it was I could be so happy when our little world about us was so black. It was a strange sort of happiness. Not what I had dreamt about or expected. It was not the sort of happiness I had imagined in the lonely hours. (p293)
Most people wouldn’t expect a great amount of happiness to come from finding out your significant other hated someone so much they did…something.