From the Stash is just my way to denote when something is from before I had the blog. I have been reviewing books since January 2010 so I’d like to showcase some of that past work.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Published: January 30, 2003 (the edition I read) by Virago Press
Format/Source: Purchased paperback
Originally Published: January 31, 2011
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.
Working as a lady’s companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Her future looks bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Max de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamourous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding housekeeper, Mrs Danvers…
Not since Jane Eyre has a heroine faced such difficulty with the Other Woman. An international bestseller that has never gone out of print,Rebecca is the haunting story of a young girl consumed by love and the struggle to find her identity.
To describe this book in one word: haunting. The narrator, a shy and naive 21-year old girl who is never named, begins the story by starting at the end and then recounts the steps that land her in the beginning in exile in Europe with her husband is what appears to be a very hollow life. She is her husband’s second wife as his first wife mysteriously dies in the sea by their home, Manderly.
It is suspenseful, though I write this review after having read it a second time already knowing the plot twists. Given that, I am not sure if I found the narrator to be as annoying when I first read it as I did this time. I could not relate to her shyness to stand up for herself. Instead, she is passive for the majority of the text, which is true to the character but can be annoying to read.
The descriptions are very artful and really draw you into the story. Try avoiding skipping over the paragraphs of imagery–it’s worth taking the time. du Maurier was very skilled at making two entities characters without explicitly having them present–Rebecca (the first wife) and Manderly (the estate). She also gets the reader to begin rooting for people whom you would not normally support given what they’ve done…