Rebecca | Daphne Du Maurier

by - 17:35

Since being published in 1938, Rebecca has maintained the constant status of a firm favourite for many readers as well as the well-earnt title of an English classic. Whilst trying to expand what I read and include more literary novels, I came across Rebecca and immediately was intrigued by the synopses. The heroine of Rebecca, a very young naive girl, meets an older, handsome widow, Maxim, whilst abroad in France. Soon they are married and heading back to England to live in his infamous mansion, Manderley. However, once she reaches Manderley she discovers that everything and everyone is tainted with the memory of Maxim's first wife, the glamorous and greatly loved Rebecca.

In an article I read, Du Maurier always said Rebecca was not a story of romance but of jealousy. In fact, the whole plot stems from her own jealousy for her husband's first fianceé.

For me, this was a book which I started off liking and ended up loving. I love Du Maurier's beautiful descriptions which create such a vivid and realistic images of  Manderley, an integral element to the story. However, it was not the descriptions which led me to now call this one of my favourite books. The plot twists have to be some of the best I have read ever. I've mentioned before that I was pretty good and seeing where a story is going but with Rebecca, I was left just staring at the page for a few seconds, just to let what I had just read sink in as it was so unexpected. I remember I was on the train when I read the first major twist in the story and as soon as I did I arrived at my stop so, with a lot of reluctance on my part, had to put it to one side and wait until the end of the day to find out what happened next.

*In the following paragraph I talk about what I think of the main characters which aren't spoilers as such, but if you do want to read Rebecca I would skip ahead so that you can make up your own opinion. Then come back to compare to mine to see if we differ at all... 

Rebecca is filled with questionable characters and I found myself constantly changing my mind about whether or not I liked each one. I think I have settled on not really liking any of them. The heroine, who is never given a name, adding to the power Rebecca's name holds throughout the novel, begins as such a naive and timid girl. I kept wishing for her to stand up for herself against the horrid house keeper, Mrs Danvers, but she never could. However, I can't help but feel sorry for her for the situation she is in. She is trying so desperately to please everyone but constantly fails as she is trying to live up to this perfect and unattainable vision she has of Rebecca.

Maxim, on the other hand, I didn't trust from the beginning and that continued throughout the novel. I felt that he was taking advantage of the heroine as she was so young and naive and he knew she would love him no matter what.

Now, Rebecca. I feel as though my first impression of her would have been very different if someone hadn't hinted at what they thought her character was like and I think it would have really changed the way I read the book. So I don't think I am actually going to say anything about her and let you find out how her character develops through out the book as that definitely would have made the reading more exciting.

After finishing Rebecca, I was left with a mixture of feeling and emotions but my first thought was that I wanted to read it again. It is not one of those books that end all wrapped up in a nice bow but that only adds to the mystery and intrigue wound throughout the novel. A question I thought of when I was thinking about the ending was, what makes a good ending? Is it best for everything to be nicely finished with a cherry on top, or is an ending that keeps you guessing better? Or does it depend on the book? I would be really interested to see what peoples opinions are on this so if you have an idea, message below as I would love to discuss what you think. 

Filled with cliff hangers that will leave you in disbelief, Rebecca will keep you on the edge of your seat and desperate to keep reading to find out what's coming next. It is a classic for a reason and one I would say everyone has to read at least once in their lifetime, if not more.

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