Okay everyone: If you’re looking for an accessible classic, this immersive, lyrical and suspenseful psychological thriller is the way to go!
About the Book
Author: Daphne du Maurier
Genre: classics, mystery/thriller, Gothic/horror
Rating: 5/5 stars
“It wouldn’t make for sanity would it, living with the devil.”
Before we begin: our main character has no name, so for convenience and grammatical flow I shall henceforth be referring to her as Sally.
Sally begins the book as a wallflower working for a socialite in Monte Carlo, when she happens to meet a rich and mysterious guy named Maxim whose wife, Rebecca, died the year before. They fall in love and get married, and he takes her away from her terrible job to live with him at his huge estate, Manderley.
At first, seduced by the idyllic whirlwind romance, Sally is happy… but something isn’t quite right at Manderley. Maxim is acting strange, the malevolent head housekeeper of Manderley seems to harbor nothing but ill will for Sally, and most of all, she can’t seem to shake the legacy of Rebecca…
“Rebecca, always Rebecca. Wherever I walked in Manderley, wherever I sat, even in my thoughts and in my dreams, I met Rebecca.“
First of all, I found it interesting that Sally has no name. I spent a lot of the book thinking about this unique stylistic choice, because I don’t think I’ve read a book where the main character wasn’t named. It had the effect of making Sally’s narration feel like your own. Like you, yourself, were monologuing about this creepy house and crazy story and brooding husband.
The writing in Rebecca is incredibly immersive, and I can’t wait to read more books by Daphne du Maurier. Even the most benign scenes in the book were laced with a vaguely unsettling atmosphere, and in the most suspenseful scenes the tension was palpable. This is what made the book so good: every time I opened my Kindle, I felt like I was re-entering the world of the story and got this intense feeling of foreboding at even the most innocuous details.
And as for details, there were lots. Du Maurier writes vividly about the scenery and surroundings of her story, so I could clearly visualize everything that was happening.
There were an underlying themes of jealousy, revenge, being haunted by the past, among others that I can’t really explain without straying into spoiler territory, but it was a really thought-provoking read that will stick with me.
If you’ve already read this book and want to check out my more spoiler-y thoughts on it, find my spoiler-tagged Goodreads review here!
I’d recommend this one to everyone who likes a good psychological thriller, and anyone who enjoys lyrical and descriptive prose.
I thought this was almost like a more exciting version of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, so that’s the read-alike I’ll choose for today’s review.