Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
“It wouldn’t make for sanity would it, living with the devil.”
― Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca
From the moment I began this enigmatic story, I felt as if I were a naughty houseguest who had slipped into a closed room to peek at someone’s diary. It was wicked and forbidden, so of course, I couldn’t pull myself away. Glancing over my shoulder to make sure I hadn’t been found out, I wrapped myself up in the beautiful prose and fell in love with the widower Maxim de Winter and his young miss, the narrator of this sinfully delicious tale.
“I am glad it cannot happen twice, the fever of first love. For it is a fever, and a burden, too, whatever the poets may say.”
They met in Monte Carlo, the brooding Mr. de Winter master of Manderley, an English estate, and the young lady, a hired companion to Mrs. Van Hopper. A most unlikely pairing with him in his forties and her having just reached the tender age of twenty-one; but when Maxim de Winter showed interest, our narrator fell for him hook, line and sinker. In the space of three weeks, it was all done and dusted.
“Either you go to America with Mrs. Van Hopper or you come home to Manderley with me.”
“Do you mean you want a secretary or something?”
“No, I’m asking you to marry me, you little fool.”
Admittedly not the proposal of her dreams, but it did what it set out to do, and they were married immediately. The stage was set for a long and happy union.
What starry-eyed nonsense, you say. I was promised a thrill! Well, don’t hurry off too quickly, my fellow bibliophiles, for within this fairytale lurks an evil that will eat away at the de Winter’s peace with big slurping bites, and her name is Rebecca.
“Rebecca, always Rebecca. Wherever I walked in Manderley, wherever I sat, even in my thoughts and in my dreams, I met Rebecca.”
Written in the first person, we are only privy to the narrator’s narrow point of view. Each time the new Mrs. de Winter meets someone, we are offered only tiny snippets of the past, and these morsels of information spin a vile web in her mind that almost drove us both to the brink of insanity!
Rebecca is a haunting masterpiece replete with enchanting gloominess. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a tense Gothic thriller and scrumptious prose.