Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
I've always meant to read this one, so thanks to Stephanie and Christina for suggesting it! I recall seeing a PBS miniseries about it when I was a kid, but don't recall much beyond Mrs. Danvers being really creepy. I don't think it told the back story of how Maxim met the narrator, so I was glad to find that out.
While I didn't race through it (it was my bus-reading book), I enjoyed it and the plot twist of Rebecca's death came as a surprise and then I found it really picked up. I liked all the descriptions of Manderley and wanted to live there. I can see why the narrator dreamt she went there again.
I spent a lot of time being annoyed with both Maxim and the narrator, too - he had no business marrying such a young, unsophisticated girl and dumping her at Manderley with all its baggage. He does nothing to help her settle in, just leaves her at the mercy of Mrs. Danvers and expects her to know how to run a huge house. And it really did seem as if any young girl he'd picked up in Monte Carlo would've done as the second Mrs. De Winter - for all the protestations of love in the novel, I didn't buy it. She loved him in a puppy-dog way, he loved her because he needed a new wife. After the circumstances of Rebecca's death came to light, they did seem to develop an actual relationship, but it was still sketchy to me.
Still, it's an excellent example of gothic suspense and I'm glad I finally read it.