Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Book Review: Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier

For one of my books clubs last month I got to read a book I've been looking forward to for a long time, Daphne Du Maurier's 1938 novel Rebecca.

I saw Alfred Hitchcock's 1940 adaptation of the book a few years ago when working my way back through all the winners of the Best Picture Oscar and absolutely loved it.  The film was haunting, captivating and included Judith Anderson as the villainous Mrs. Danvers, a character which still sits quite high on my list of most terrifying movie villains.

The book (which has never been out of print since its publication), focuses on a young woman who marries a considerably older man and finds herself at in charge of a large manor house, Manderley, where her husbands last wife, Rebecca ruled until her untimely death.

The novel focuses on how our narrator and unnamed heroine (often referred to as either "Dear" or "The Second Mrs. De Winter") attempts to deal with a household and environment still held under the sway of her husbands dead wife.

The book does have a lot in common with Bronte's Jane Eyre; young girl marries older man, mysterious goings on in the house, a tragic secret, etc., but is well worth reading on its own as Du Maurier has created one of the most thrilling reads about a young bride I've ever come across.

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