Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier – Book Review


Featured among one of the top 10 Fictions of the Millennium(1901 – 2000), Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier is one my most favourite novels. It tells the story of a young, unnamed protagonist who works as a companion with a rich American lady and comes to Monte Carlo with her, where she meets Maxim de Winter, a handsome, older gentleman. She marries Maxim de Winter and comes to ‘Manderley’ as the second Mrs. De Winter with him.

It is well known that Maxim’s widely adored wife Rebecca, had recently drowned at sea and he loved his wife very much and after her death, is shattered completely. The protagonist, due to the circumstances in her life, lacks self-confidence and after coming to Manderley after her marriage, finds it very difficult to cope with the new life style and the expectations that the people have from Mrs. De Winter. She also faces a painful struggle against the aura of Rebecca, Maxim’s first wife, that still prevails at each and every corner of the house and the country. Maxim’s new wife is constantly compared to Rebecca, who was loved and admired by all.

As the new lady of the house, the main character struggles to adjust to Maxim’s more privileged way of life and to find her own identity amongst Rebecca’s legacy. Manderley is filled with memories of the elegant and flamboyant Rebecca, the first Mrs. De Winter; with the obsessive love of her housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, who observes the young, shy second Mrs. De Winter with poor temper; and with the overbearing silences of a secretive husband, Maxim. Rebecca may be physically dead, but she is a force to contend with, and her presence may be felt everywhere in every particle of the place.

However, as the story proceeds with several twists and turns, many mysteries unfold. The tension builds as the new Mrs. De Winter comes to know about the real Rebecca and slowly grows and asserts herself, surviving the wicked deceptions of Mrs. Danvers and the silent deceits of her husband, to emerge triumphant in the midst of a surprise ending that leaves the reader with a sense of haunting justice.

Book Review:

Rebecca is a novel of mystery and passion, a tale of secrets and betrayal, dead loves and an estate called Manderley. Rebecca is an absolutely gripping and powerful novel where a dead person drives the central characters and the story. Manderley is brilliantly depicted as the gothic mansion to which the protagonist cannot adjust and feels the haunting presence of Rebecca.

The novel is an absolute masterpiece. The way Daphne Du Maurier has written the novel is immensely commendable and very uncommon, which is the beauty of the story. Her storytelling skills are ingenious and the way she describes the scenery will create the perfect imagery for you. As the story unfolds, the suspense grows bigger. By the end, the curiosity and desperation mixed with awe and admiration gave me chills.

Rebecca was written ages ago but it still continues to be one of the most thrilling novels of all times.

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