This is absolutely one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I guess it just goes to show that a classic can beat out the new fad novel any day. (Ahem, Dan Brown!)
Rebecca is about a young woman who marries a widower whose late wife’s memory lingers a little too closely…
The neighbours, family, and even the servants all seem to prefer the vibrant and capable Rebecca, who died tragically in a boating accident a year before. The housekeeper Mrs. Danvers adored her and treats the new mistress as incompetent. The new wife, who remains unnamed throughout the whole novel, struggles to maintain the household and to save her marriage as she can’t seem to get rid of Rebecca.
Du Maurier’s writing style is impeccable! It’s lyrical and haunting and vivid all at the same time. And the descriptions of the Manderley estate remind me of Austen, while the unsettling Rebecca and Mrs. Danvers remind me of Poe or some other Gothic/horror writer. The main character is also so imaginative and descriptive that you can’t help but like her, or at least sympathize with her. She might seem naïve or immature but I think she represents all the feelings of incompetence and insecurity that we feel – especially in relationships and new situations. I might have had pretty bad timing in coming across this book because I’m planning my own wedding and marrying into a family that is somewhat more… well-off than mine. But I’m lucky we’re not inheriting a sprawling estate in the English country, nor do we have an evil Mrs. Danvers making me feel inferior!
I was so impressed and my mind still wanders back to that book even though I’ve finished it and begun another. I definitely want to read it again!