Daphne du Maurier
4 / 5
I’ve wanted to read this 1938 classic for years, so I must thank @tackling_tbr for putting a buddy read together. It was the motivation I needed.
This book has quite an iconic first line: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” But for me, the line that summarizes this book well is: “She’s the real Mrs. de Winter, not you.”
Maddening! That’s how I would describe this book.
Maxim de Winter’s new, young bride arrives at the grand estate of Manderley built along the English coast. But she is only welcomed by accolades and praise of Rebecca, the first Mrs. de Winter. She finds that even Rebecca’s suite has been untouched and well-preserved. Everywhere she turns, everything she touches reminds her of the adored Rebecca. Can she possibly live in the shadow of Rebecca? But when a ship runs aground in the bay, a disturbing secret is unearthed about the beloved Rebecca who has been haunting her.
As I told our group, it took me a bit to get into this story; du Maurier’s writing is quite descriptive. But once I met all the staff and other characters, I was invested. I could not stand the housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, what a witch! Anyway, I think this book is a precursor to the hardcore psychological thrillers of today. I would go crazy with everyone telling me how wonderful and loved my husband’s first wife was! How she did everything perfectly, ugh. The only thing I felt lacking was that the ending wasn’t as fulfilling as I felt it could have been.
So once again, I found myself among the Author’s Notes. It was here that Mrs. du Maurier gives insight into why the second Mrs. de Winter is never given a first name and to why she made the epilogue into chapters 1-3. I am so thankful for authors that let us peek into their brilliance.