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Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

>> Friday, July 3, 2009

Genre: Fiction/ Gothic Suspense
Publication Date: 1938
Pages: 410
Support Your Local Library Challenge #31

I’ve had this book on my TBR list for what seems like forever. Thanks to My Friend Amy and the Summer of Hitchcock. I had to finally get it from the library and read it before we watch the movie in early August.

Oh I’m so glad I finally read this. It’s gothic, it’s suspenseful, it’s fabulous. All the great elements are there: big old family house, potentially dangerous sea, possibly evil housekeeper, more secrets than you can shake a stick at. Fun, danger, mystery and just a great read.

Rebecca is dead, but her presence is the constant throughout the book. Her successor as the second Mrs. De Winter doesn’t even get a first name. When she meets and marries the much older Maxim de Winter, our narrator knows his first wife is dead, but she also knows he keeps his past tightly wrapped and hidden. When she arrives at his ancestral family home, the beautiful and imposing Manderly she soon finds that the memory of the first Mrs. de Winter is a constant and possibly malevolent presence. Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper and longtime maid for Rebecca is a great character. She’s scary, devious and potentially evil.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and was pleasantly surprised that the plot twists were truly surprises to me. It’s not like one of those classics where I knew the twists even before I started. I almost wish a sequel was hiding out there somewhere, though. There were a lot of storylines I felt were kind of dropped. I keep asking myself ‘but whatever happened to ----------?”

Rating 4.5/5


Amy 7/03/2009 8:52 PM  

Ah, yes, this is a good one, currently on my short TBR list as a re-read for 5 Minutes for Books!

Calon Lan 7/03/2009 9:15 PM  

One of my all-time favorite suspense stories. I think I need to read it again now :)

farmlanebooks 7/04/2009 1:35 AM  

I plan to read this one soon, but I thought I'd let you know that there are a few sequels out there which are supposed to be good. Unfortunately they aren't written by Daphne du Maurier. Rebecca's Tale by Sally Beauman was sanctioned by the du Maurier esate and is supposed to be very good. The is also Mrs De Winter by Susan Hill. I hope I enjoy Rebecca as much as you did.

Eva 7/04/2009 6:18 AM  

I loved this one too! And the twists. :D Now you have to watch the movie with Laurence Olivier.

Framed 7/04/2009 8:17 AM  

This one has been on my list for ages as well. I may have to move it up and get it read. It sound like I would really like it.

SuziQoregon 7/05/2009 8:22 AM  

Amy: I was glad I finally read it.

Calon Lan: I really enjoyed it. I can understand why folks would want to re-read.

FarmLaneBooks: Thanks so much for the info. I knew DuMaurier herself hadn't written any sequels, but knowing which is the sanctioned one is a great tip. I hope you like it when you get a chance to read this one.

Eva: I was shocked that I hadn't heard about the plot twists. Yes the movie is on the Summer of Hitchcock schedule for early August. I'm definitely looking forward to watching it now.

Framed: Oh - you should definitely move it up. It's good.

Rebecca :) 7/05/2009 12:53 PM  

This is one of those books I ignored for a long time because it had my name. Stupid, I know. But when you grow up being called Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms all the time, you learn to not even care about reading a book with your name on it. Now that I am over this literary defiance, I have it on my to-read list. :)

Les 7/06/2009 4:09 AM  

I've seen the movie several times, but have never read the book. I wonder if they're identical. The only du Maurier book I've read is a collection of short stories entitled Don't Look Now. I thought it was wonderful! Reviewed here.

mlhliterarylounge 7/06/2009 6:37 AM  

This is one of my favorites! I read it in anticipation of watching the movie as well. And of course, Hitchcock doesn't disappoint!

dolcebellezza 7/06/2009 12:43 PM  

This is one of my favorite reads EVER! I've actually gone back and reread it a few times, something I only do with the ones I truly love. Can't you just see Mrs. Danvers and her subterfuge? Weren't you just shocked at the ending? (Interestingly enough, Tina Brown alludes to this book in her biography of Diana, as if there were Mrs. Danvers' occupying the recesses of the castle. And, the comment you left on my blog was spot on!)

Bookfool 7/06/2009 5:40 PM  

I'm so glad you finally got to this one!! Rebecca is one of my all-time favorite books. I've probably told you that, a few times.

Wendy 7/06/2009 6:04 PM  

Awesome to hear you loved this one, Suzi! I loved it is so wonderful!

SuziQoregon 7/06/2009 6:37 PM  

Rebecca: Oh I get the avoiding it because of your name. There are several songs from my teenage years that I despise because they were sung to me far too much. I hope you read it, it really is good.

Les: I'm really looking forward to the movie. I also want to read more of her books, I've been seeing some good reviews of her other books on blogs recently. I'll definitely be looking for that short story book too.

milliterarylounge: Oh thanks for stopping by!! Aren't you glad you read it before seeing the movie?

Bellezza: I can see the possibility of re-reading this someday. I hadn't caught the comment in the Diana Chronicles so thanks for mentioning it. I'm glad I read the book first - I like to have my own images of the characters rather than having actors imposed on me by watching the movie first. I definitely have a vivid Mrs. Danvers in my head.

Bookfool: LOL - you were good encouragement to read it soon!

Wendy: Clearly it's one of those that is well liked and remembered. It would be great to encourage folks to read for either a classics or a RIP challenge, wouldn't it?

Miri 7/25/2009 11:08 AM  

This is a great of the best suspense books ever! You'll like the movie but its not as good as the book--of course!

SuziQoregon 7/28/2009 1:32 PM  

Miri: Oh the book is ALWAYS better ;-) I'm hoping to get the movie from the library in time to watch next week.

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