Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again....
The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady's maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives - resenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.
First published in 1938, this classic gothic novel is such a compelling tale that it won the Anthony Award for Best Novel of the Century.
©2014 Daphne du Maurier (P)2014 Hachette Audio
"Rebecca is a work of immense intelligence and wit, elegantly written, thematically solid, suspenseful.." (Washington Post)
"Daphne du Maurier created a scale by which modern women can measure their feelings." (Stephen King)
Avid audible listener for over 10 years.
This is a good read for everyone, but it will be appreciated by women more. The new Mrs De Winter must live in the shadow of the late Mrs De Winter, Rebecca. It's slightly similar to Gone With the Wind in that the central character is actually a house. Instead of Tara we have Manderlay. This English manor is set on the coast of England and is similar to Downton Abbey with the dozens of house hold staff including the evil Mrs Danvers. The young naive new Mrs DeWinter tries to cope in an environment that overwhelms her. But all is not as it seems. Kind of slow at beginning but it picks up the pace about a third into the book. This was also a great movie with Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine directed by Alfred Hitchcock. (You can find on Utube)
This is a great novel, and considered to be one of the best crime/thriller novels ever written. That might be surprising to some, since it's not about the police or a detective, or even really about a criminal enterprise at all, but about a young girl who marries an older, wealthier man and becomes the mistress of a large, famous, classic English manor named Manderley in the early 20th century. She is haunted by concerns that she will not live up to the perfect perception that her husband's friends, family, and staff have of the now-deceased first wife, Rebecca. The struggle of the naive, young second wife against her dynamic and powerful older husband, as well as by the imprint of his first wife still left in their home are palpable. As for the crime and the mystery? Well, it involves Rebecca's death and why she seems to still haunt the memories of everyone who lives and works at Manderley.
Beautiful, suspenseful, surprising
I liked how the heroine told the story as a memory. I liked the mystery of it. I was surprised.
She had wonderful voices for the characters. I also liked how her narration voice of the heroine sounded a little older than when the young heroine was speaking in the story. The English accent was perfect for the characters. I really liked her performance.
Rebecca will keep you on the edge of your seat until the closing scene.
I think Daphne Du Maurier is a fantastic writer. Her descriptions are beautiful and compelling. Her plot was creative and full of twists. I didn't quite figure it all out until the end. Everything that happens in the beginning has ties to the surprise ending. I want to go back and read it again knowing how things turn out. It will be interesting from that angle too.
I enjoy listening to well-loved, often-read books in their audiobook version in order to experience them in a new way, and Anna Massey does not disappoint in this wonderful performance of the classic. However, I was surprised to notice an important conversation in Chapter 18 (Rebecca's phone conversation with Frank) has been truncated. Not sure if this was only a technical error or a deliberate decision.
This book falls into the category of TRULY GREAT READ. Du Maurier creates a fantastically sympathetic narrator. Much of the pleasure of the novel is seeing her come into her own as the story goes on. It also includes one of the great villains in literature--Mrs Danvers. And then there's the setting--Manderley--which is described in such lush, unforgettable detail, you feel as if you can smell the flowers and feel the wind. Ultimately, it's a thriller, and the suspense keeps ratcheting up with unexpected twists. It would also fall into the category of "guilty pleasure" but the descriptions are so well written and the characters have so much psychological depth, there's no need to feel guilty.
Anna Massey (who played Mrs Danvers in a TV adaptation) is superb. She has tremendous fun with every character, makes each one come to life, brings out the suspense and the (considerable) comedy, all without tipping into camp.
This book maintained a good pace as it introduced characters and lent hints about a dark past and the possible suspects. It's easy to relate to the main character as she struggles with being an outsider with the inherent insecurities. Revelations occur naturally. The narrator was excellent. Animated voice and easy to differentiate the characters.
The reader was fantastic for this book. She had the perfect diction and voice for this particular book.
I loved how kind of haunting this story was. It feels along the same vein as Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights but I liked it so much more.
I thought the fact that we never know the main character's name to be fascinating. We hear the name Rebecca endlessly, but never the current Mrs. de Winter.
Such a well-written and well-performed book.
Telecommuter living outside of San Francisco, CA. I listen to books while walking my dog, quilting, and doing chores around the house.
One of the best books I have listened to in a very long time. I enjoyed it so much that I started listening to it again from the beginning as soon as I finished it. Great story and excellent narration. A true classic!
I like the vividness of the writing. The book was written beautifully and I recommend to everyone. It was full of suspense to the end. Bravo!!!
I decided I want to experience more of the classics so I chose Rebecca for its mystery and reviews. It was slow for the first few chapters for me, but then picked up intensity as the puzzle of the title character was revealed in cunning fashion.
I was a tad frustrated with du Maurier's quirk of leaving the narrator unnamed. Letting that go was another good decision. I was utterly entranced with the evil characters our sweet narrator faced through Rebecca, her personal maid Mrs. Danvers and the horrid cousin.
It's worth every second of listening for the final chapters that pay off handsomely in twists and turns you do not expect. Well done Ms. du Maurier and Audible for immersing me in the intrigue of Rebecca and our narrator's world of Manderly!
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