©2002 Daphne Du Maurier; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
This was my first purchase from Audible and I selected this book because I kept seeing its title on lists of great novels. The first few minutes contained lots and lots of descriptions but I was still hooked. Every time I would walk my dog, ride in my car, clean the kitchen or iron I would listen and I must say I was never bored a minute. The reader was awesome!! She had so many different voices that it was like being at a play. If you like romance and mystery then you should give this a try. I did not like the way the book ended very much, but I love how hooked I became to the plot right up until the last minute. I just purchased my second book and the bar is set very high after "Rebecca", I hope it can measure up!
I first read Rebecca when I was in high school and was completely absorbed in the story. Now, over forty years later, I can still remember how fascinated I was reading the book. When I ran across the title while browsing Audible.com, I decided to purchase it to see if the book still held the same power and delights. It did. The story line is gripping - the personality and mystery of Rebecca creep over all like a heavy mist. The reader is excelleent - her tone is just right for the story and her expression is top notch. I can't imagine anyone doing a better job. One thing I still find interesting about this book is that the main "living" character (the narrator) is never given a name, which makes it difficult to refer to her. I believe the reason for this is to make Rebecca an even more overwhelming presence. Rebecca dominates the book, but the narrator is the person I love. If you like Jane Eyre, you will also like this book. The atmosphere created in both books is similar. Rebecca is truly a great book and this is truly a great audible version.
To me, "Rebecca" was one of those stories that, "I'd seen the movie" and just wasn't interested in reading the novel. Then, I saw the novel in one of those, "One hundred books that you should read" and that sparked an interest in me. I must say I was blown away not only by Du Maurier's story telling abilities, but also her beautiful writing prose.
The narration by Anna Massey is superb. She makes the story her own. I can't imagine anyone else narrating this novel.
Say something about yourself!
This type of book was exactly what I think audible.com was invented to provide. The traditionally trained british speaker made this classic absolutely delicious! I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Rebecca is a must read, a classic. I have watched the movie many times (directed by Alfred Hitchcock), and I finally decided to see if there was more to the story. I can honestly say that there isn't that much that the movie left out! The majority of the dialogue from the movie is word-for-word as written by Du Maurier.
Read, listen, watch...or do all three!
I can see why this creepy mystery is a classic: it combines the gothic atmosphere of Jane Eyre with the suspense of an Alfred Hitchcock thriller. The young bride of Maxim de Winter is brought back to his English estate, Manderley, after a whirlwind courtship, and finds the shadow of his first wife, Rebecca, lingering over everything. Young, insecure, unsure of herself, she is easily cowed by the domineering housekeeper Mrs. Danvers, who resents the woman usurping her mistress's place.
The mystery of Rebecca is nicely maintained throughout the book. Who was she, what kind of a woman was she, and how did she die? Even when the big revelations come, the story isn't over, as there are several more plot twists skillfully spun out right up to the end.
Two things made me enjoy it less. The first is the protagonist, who's basically a timid ingenue with barely any will of her own. She's completely dominated first by her employer, then by her older husband, and then by her catty, vindictive housekeeper Mrs. Danvers. She spends most of her time tormenting herself with what she imagines everyone else is thinking about her, and when she finally starts taking a tiny bit of initiative, she's still completely self-involved. As for Max de Winter, well, du Maurier is writing in the grand old Brontë tradition of creepy, abusive control-freaks being portrayed as romantic.
The second thing I didn't enjoy was the long, tedious descriptions of everything: Manderley, the cliffs, the furniture, the flowers and vases, the clothes, the meals, etc. A little descriptive detail is great; a little more can be described as "lush"; Rebecca is just plain wordy. Along with the narrator's long, tedious internal monologues, this book really seemed to drag in places. I was eager to get to the climax and the unveiling of all secrets, and relieved once it was over.
I enjoyed this book very much. It was a wonderful depiction of the times and influence of class on people’s lives. It kept my interest as the story unfolded and quite unexpected truths were revealed. I wished it continued so that I would know what happened to the characters. I felt like I wanted to wish the central characters well after all they had been through. Highly recommended.
I enjoyed listening to Rebecca. I was not familiar with the story before and I had heard many good things about it and was curious. I don't know if I would listen to this story again, however. After listening to the book I watched the movie and although they are not completely the same - I felt justice was done. I would suggest anyone who is curious about this story to watch the movie first and if they REALLY want to use a credit to get the audiobook go for it!
The wonderful Anna Massey does a fabulous job reading this book. Never mind that I'd read it before, and seen the movie and every miniseries the BBC has ever churned out using this story--including the one from the 70s starring Anna Massey. When Massey started reading, I was as captivated as if I'd never heard the story before. She captures all the characters perfectly and lends the story a depth I hadn't really picked up before. The elegiac first chapters resonate through the rest of the book. Another reviewer said that this is the kind of project that Audible was made for, and I agree. It's the perfect marriage of narrator and novel.
The night of the fancy dress ball
Neither. Just moments of mild irritation at how naive the main character was.
Not a bad book with an unexpected twist at the end
"The second Mrs de Winter tells her story"
Worrying manipulative uncomfortable
The cover up - I've listened to Rebecca several times over the years and always been on the side of Max and the second Mrs de Winter, but this time I found it harder to reconcile myself and justify the cover up. Had to remind myself it's a book of its time
Not in one sitting as it's too long for that, but I did listen to it over a short space of time.
Maybe it's my familiarity with the story, maybe it was the performance, but I didn't find Mrs Danvers as nasty as I've found her in previous versions I've listened to.
"Regarded as a classic for good reason"
I'm not wild about the period this story is set in, so it took me a while to get into the mood of the book. Anna Massey, who usually has the capacity to irritate me, turned out to be the perfect narrator on this occasion. Ostensibly a novel about social layers and complexities of the English class system, it soon turns into a brilliantly told crime story. Once you get used to De Maurier's stiff-upper-lip tone it's easy to appreciate the timelessness of the issues touched upon: The social awkwardness and the feeling of being out of her depth on the part of the heroine would be enough to remind most of their first days at a new school or job.
The characters were well drawn, though I had trouble completely believing the relationship between the heroine and the housekeeper (surely nobody can be that frightened of a servant?), and the build-up to THAT dress scene was so ridiculously out of proportion that the climax couldn't help but be a letdown. Having said that, I was truly hooked two thirds in and loved the ending and the many twists and unexpected turns the story took to get there. Elegantly plotted, and regarded as a classic for good reason.
Anna Massey has a lovely voice and style so you forget you are listening to someone reading and feel you are hearing the voice of the storyteller.
I love the film and the book so did I really need it to be read to me - answer, yes. This is a terrific story and read beautifully it would be equally as good for anyone who does not know the story as for those who already know and love it. Despite knowing how it ends you still feel the suspense and the awkwardness of the second Mrs de winter.
"a trip back in time"
I have not read the book - always meant to but this gripped me from the off
the story is gripping and if you listen to this you almost see the story in your mind's eye.
her tone is authentic and takes you back in time. clear formal diction, easy to listen to.
trust your instincts
loved this. don't want to read the book or to see the film as the audio version was so perfect
"A bit of work but gripping in the end"
I found the first half of the book a little trying. The lead character is such a wimp that if I was Mrs Danvers I would have 'decked' her. But the second half is gripping once the heroine decides to stand up for herself. Anna Massey is as good as you would expect. The book is also fascinating in providing the detail and atmosphere of life in the inter war years.
"My first favourite novel"
Rebecca is on its way to becoming a classic but is creaky at the edges to date. Set in the 30s, insufficient time has passed to see if the novel will endure. In particular, the 'heroine' is so unlike today's average woman one is often tempted to give her a good shake! That, however, would ruin the plot which hangs on her timid, often neurotic, mind-set. Indeed, as the novel progresses, she seems to be suffering from clinical depression, poor girl.
Anna Massey's reading of Maxim makes this hardly surprising because he comes across as a dreadful, bullying boor. I don't think he was written as such by du Maurier. It's Anna Massey's rendition of male voices that's to blame. Why couldn't she have narrated the story without these awful attempts? And the less said about her Mrs van Hopper's American accent the better.
Bearing in mind that Anna Massey played Mrs Danvers in a TV adaptation, this character's interpretation is fine as, on the whole, is her reading of the remainder of the female figures.
The main redemption of her narration, though, is her steady voice and accurate pace. That's something in her favour.
I think the novel could have been better presented. But maybe the novel itself is too flawed, as yet, for complete enjoyment.
Absolutely compelling, I had it on my ipod for a long journey and it made the time fly by. The only negative would be that Anna Massey's narration of the male characters is slightly panto, but it didn't impair my enjoyment of the story. Although the story is slightly dated - it appears no one can get in behind the wheel of a car without a stiff brandy - it is still gripping and this unabridged version provides hours of entertainment.
I'm not really sure how I got to the age of 45 without reading this or seeing any of the filmed versions, but I thought it was high time I got round to it. I must confess I wasn't overly impressed - all that stiff upper lip, old chap stuff drove me mad and some of the dialogue was terrible, I wanted to scream at Daphne du Maurier to find another word instead of 'said'. Here's an example:-
'We can sit together,' he said, 'driving up in the car.'
'Yes,' I said.
'Julyan won't mind.' he said.
'No,' I said.
'We shall have tomorrow night too,' he said. 'They won't do anything at once, not for twenty-four hours perhaps.'
'No,' I said.
'They aren't so strict now,' he said.
"Great narration, mediocre story"
At least, *I* was disappointed with the book; the character's were infuriatingly thick and mostly unsympathetic. The plot itself I enjoyed, but wasn't convinced it was deep enough to support an entire novel, instead of, say, a short story. But the narration is wonderful and what I found to be the saving grace of this audiobook more than once. It's worth making your own mind up, though, as the quality of the recording and the depiction of characters is exemplary, but the book itself is something of a 'marmite-er', love it or hate it.
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