“I could fight the living but I could not fight the dead. If there was some woman in London that Maxim loved, someone he wrote to, visited, dined with, slept with, I could fight with her. We would stand on common ground. I should not be afraid. Anger and jealousy were things that could be conquered. One day the woman would grow old or tired or different, and Maxim would not love her anymore. But Rebecca would never grow old. Rebecca would always be the same. And her I could not fight. She was too strong for me.”Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca
Author: Daphne Du Maurier
Genres: Classics, Gothic, Suspense
Pages: 410 (Paperback)
Published: August 1938
My Rating: ★★★★★
Read: 6/26/2022 – 7/21/2022
For some reason, I never wrote a review for this book when I first read it in 2016… not uncommon at this point in my life but I’ve been regarding it as one of my all-time favorite books since then. Nothing has changed the second time around. I opted to listen to the audiobook this time. Initially, I just wanted a comfort read to help me fall asleep. That didn’t work so much. I was only reminded how much I love this story. There’s so much I identify with and the suspense is unmatched.
What gets me most with the book is the narration. We never learn the second Mrs. de Winter’s name, and yet, it’s so intimate with her every thought and emotion surrounding each event. We watch from grow from a shy and timid companion to a strong and unabashed wife of a tormented widow. Then of course there’s Mrs. Danvers who is perhaps my favorite antagonist of all-time — book, stage, or screen. Her presence is as haunting as Rebecca’s memory, and yet there is something so human about her that you can’t help but sympathize.
Between the original film and the two subsequent mini-series (as well as a musical), I have almost every bit of this story memorized and still the twists hold up. The tension continues to build up to the very end. Listening to it on audiobook made it a new experience with an old friend.
Likes & Dislikes:
What I liked:
- The fact the narrator’s name is never revealed.
- The complexity of the characters, especially Mrs. Danvers.
- The character growth. It’s especially strong with the second Mrs. de Winter.
- The flow of the story. It relies a lot on the setting which is captured spectacularly.
- Frank. He’s the MVP of the story if you ask me.
What I didn’t like:
- Some moments trail off quite a bit from the plot. However, this is part of the narrator’s character.
I could gush forever about this book. It just strikes a chord with me. I’ve seen nearly every adaption. I’ve yet to watch Netflix’s take because the trailer disappointed me and I’ve heard so many people say it’s not true to the book. It looks gorgeous though. I might watch it at some point just so I can do a full comparison. This is definitely my favorite classic read. I’ll take any excuse to devote attention to it.
Side note: The narrator of the audiobook did such a great job. Her voice was soothing and into the character.