For those who aren’t familiar with Rebecca, the novel was written by Daphne du Maurier and was first published in 1938. The story is narrated by the second Mrs de Winter (you never find out her first name) and tells the story of how she meets Maxim de Winter on a holiday in Monte Carlo. A romance blossoms and when it looks like she will have to leave to return to America, Maxim proposes and she becomes the next Mrs de Winter. When the newly married couple return home to Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter is haunted by Rebecca, Maxim’s first wife who died in a boating accident a year before. The new Mrs de Winter is thrust into a household that seems to emanate Rebecca everywhere, and soon some startling discoveries are made about Rebecca and her death.
I won’t reveal too much more of the plot, as I want you to be able to go away and discover it just like I did. For me, there was a constant tussle in the novel as to who the leading female protagonist was- the story is narrated by the second Mrs de Winter and is told from her perspective, and yet Rebecca is such a force that she more often than not steals the show. I found this fascinating in the novel as all you ever hear of Rebecca is other people reminiscing about her and yet you feel you know her better than you do the narrator. I think Daphne du Maurier made a conscious effort to make it like this- you never find out the first name of the narrator and she is so often referred to as ‘the second Mrs de Winter’ that she starts to take a secondary role in a story that she is supposed to take a lead in.
After listening to Rebecca on audio book in about two days because I couldn’t get enough of it, Rebecca has firmly cemented itself as one of my favourite novels of all time. I think I’ll even go back and read the novel for myself next time to see if I pick up on other elements of the story that I maybe missed when I listened to it. For those of you who are wary about delving back into the classic (especially the ones you had to analyse in your school days much to your disgust) I highly recommend giving this one a go. It’s inspired me to try some classics, and next on my list is Frankenstein.
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