Book: Rebecca – Author: Daphne Du Maurier
Genre: Fiction, Gothic Romance
Description from Amazon:
“Last Night I Dreamt I Went To Manderley Again.”
With these words, the reader is ushered into an isolated gray stone mansion on the windswept Cornish coast, as the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter recalls the chilling events that transpired as she began her new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew. For in every corner of every room were phantoms of a time dead but not forgotten—a past devotedly preserved by the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers: a suite immaculate and untouched, clothing laid out and ready to be worn, but not by any of the great house’s current occupants. With an eerie presentiment of evil tightening her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter walked in the shadow of her mysterious predecessor, determined to uncover the darkest secrets and shattering truths about Maxim’s first wife—the late and hauntingly beautiful Rebecca.
Let me preface this review by saying that I am not a fan of romance novels, so seeing that one of the categories for my Reading Challenge was “a classic romance” made me actually groan in dismay. The “classic” designation made it even worse, because the most obvious “classic” romances are all from the Victorian era, for which I have an unnatural hatred.
This being the case, I searched out a book that was fairly well known (but NOT from the Victorian era) and that seemed like something I could stomach. Knowing my penchant for spooky books, my romance-loving friends were quick to point out this novel to me.
I will be honest, the first 200 or so pages were extremely boring. The main character, who is never actually named, is one of the most self-conscious and neurotic characters I have ever come across (and I read a lot of young adult books). Maxim seemed alright, but distant enough that he wasn’t really in the book as much as it seemed he should have been. Conversely, Maxim’s friends were likable to the point where I actually found myself wishing the book had been about their life instead. And Mrs. Danvers, well…
There was not much to the plot at this point either. The lady marries Maxim, seemingly on a whim, and moves to his house, where she feels out of place. And that’s it. For 200+ pages.
The ending, though…that’s were I got sucked in. After having spent almost a week trying force myself to finish the book, I read the last 100 pages in a single night. I won’t give away the twist, but trust me, it’s worth waiting for. And just when I started to like the main character and was actually excited about reading the book…it ended. Right in the middle of the FINALLY interesting part! Grrr….
So I don’t know about this one. If you like romances or turn-of-the-century books, I’d say give it a try. If you are just in it for the “spookiness”, there are much better ways to spend your time.
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte