Published by Little Brown and Company on December 17, 2013 (first published August 1938)
Genres: Classic, Gothic
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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--presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.
Rebecca was a re-read for me, but the last time I read it I was probably in high school. I had a basic idea of the storyline, but didn’t remember a lot of the details. I honestly expected to love it, but instead I felt like I was slogging through it.
The heroine is unnamed through the entire novel and it is told in the first person. I think part of the reason I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought was her. For the whole first half/two-thirds of the book, I wanted her to take charge of her life. Yes, she was in awe of Maxim, her new husband, and of her estate, but she was so timid and afraid and just rather annoying.
That being said, it is an intense book and Rebecca is an incredibly memorable character, especially for being someone we know only through others’ memories and impressions. The descriptions are detailed and atmospheric. I can appreciate the novel, but this time around I can’t say I enjoyed it.