Thursday, March 3, 2011

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

*My copy
Genre: Modern classic, Jane Eyre-inspired, mystery
FTC Disclosure: bought second-hand.
Published: 1938
Pages: 380
Content: PG for mild violence. Nothing really offensive.

Mrs. de Winter lives in the shadow of the former Mrs. de Winter, Rebecca. She thinks everyone loved her more, especially her new husband Maxim. But she soon learns that all is not what it seems, especially Rebecca and her housekeeper Mrs. Danvers.

Pros: The mystery was excellent. Who was Rebecca? What really happened to her? Mrs. Danvers? Yup, it was good. I definitely saw the Jane Eyre influences throughout the book, which was also fun. Du Maurier really had a way of describing the setting. I could see the big house they live in, the garden and ocean, etc.

The main thing I enjoyed was her moral ambiguity at the end...SPOILER ALERT....................................................................................................................................................................

Maxim is not a very likable guy either. He's mean and brutish and moody and demanding but he seems like a decent enough person....and then you find out he really did kill his wife. I kept thinking it would be some sort of accidental death by him or Rebecca was so devious she convinced him that he had done it when she really had just killed herself...but, nope, he did it and he wasn't really sorry about it.  In order to avoid the awful controversy of divorce with his sociopathic wife, he'd rather just kill her instead. Granted, it wasn't premeditated murder but he still brought the gun and shot her dead. So I was left to ponder some things. Was what he did really justified? No. He should definitely have gone to prison for what he did. But you kind of feel for him and his new wife and they painted such a horrible picture of Rebecca so you don't feel too bad she died....but still. Anyway, good stuff.


The ending was just kind of left in the air...what happened? She never wrote a sequel...sigh. Good stuff.

Cons: I just had a hard time caring about our protagonist Mrs. de Winter...she was just so timid and shy and didn't seem to have much of a backbone. She was always whining about trying to please her husband all the time...would he like this, is he mad about this, etc. I understand why she was like this...but this didn't make her sympathetic. Maxim wasn't likable, either. I kept thinking he was kind of a pedophile, I mean, he kept referring to her as a child and treating her as one...petting her head, making her feel stupid, etc. She was half his age, but still....kind of creepy.

But overall, a great classic mystery! And is definitely worth a read!

Rating: 4 stars

Other Covers:
I wish I had gotten my hands on one of these editions! I really like them both but the blue R-ed one really stands out to me.

*Image Source from Yet Another Wordpress Blog.
+Image Source from Book Stains.
=Image Source from The Bookish Type.


  1. I read Rebecca at the end of last summer and absolutely loved it. No, the main character isn't all that likable, but I loved how the tension builds throughout the book.

    My edition has the last cover you posted, the one with the blue R - I purposely picked something other than the bright red one. That one is a little too Romance-ish for me.

  2. Love this book! Read it long ago and would enjoy revisiting Manderley.

  3. Daphne du Maurier is definitely a wiz at the psychological thriller--I read that she challenged herself to create a hero who does something horrific and write it in such a way that readers would forgive him his heinous act. I would say she succeeded.

    You didn't care for Maxim that much, but I think most readers, especially when the book was published, adore him in the way they adore Jane Eyre's Mr. Rochester.

  4. Jane, I think that's what Daphne du Maurier was going for...a sort of Rochester-type romantic hero. One who has committed some sins and yet is able to come out on top, which is why I still enjoyed the book despite not liking the main characters tremendously. Du Maurier just did such a great job.

  5. such a classic. what got me with the book is how rebecca was so alive in the book despite being dead. and the movie version is just as good. although du maurier did not write a sequel, there is one out there, mrs dewinter by susan hill. it is an okay read. she still is a bit timid but starts to break out of her shell.

  6. I had loved the movie version of this for years before I finally read the book and found the ending clarified so many things for me. But you never do really know what happens after they return from London.

  7. Love this book! The Hitchcock film is worth checking out, too.

  8. So many people love this one but I didn't really care one way or the other when I listened to the audio years ago. Wonder if I'd feel differently now...

  9. I really like the blue R cover too -- it captures the gothic tone of the novel, whereas the red one is kind of Harlequin-y lol. We talked about this in class when we read the book lol.


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