|Purchase: Amazon | Chapters|
Start Date: April 22, 2011
Finished Date: May 4, 2011 (13 days)
Where Found: Borrowed from my mom
Why Read: It's my mom's favourite book and I wanted to see what it was like. It was also on my TBR list.
Summary: A young, impressionable woman is swept off her feet by a rich older man who brings her home to his estate, Manderley, where she feels compared to and less favourable than his dead first wife, Rebecca.
There is something charming about a story set in England, even if it is a mystery shrouded in deceit and deception like Rebecca. The language is so crisp and the characters so familiar that it feels as if you have known this book and are instantly drawn to its story. Nothing is ever quite what it seems and it becomes so complicated that trust is a slippery slope for the reader. Characters make decisions that are awkward, cringeworthy, even shocking. What is most fascinating about the plot is how little actually happens but what does occur is presented with such depth and analysis that you sometimes forget how isolated and small the story actually is.
The story moves along at a somewhat slow pace but very soon, things begin piling up and every occasion has a hint to consider in solving the mysteries of the Manderley household, both past and present. I especially enjoyed Beatrice and her down-to-earth wit. She cracked me up and really let the tension of the story subside when she visited. Of course, Max de Winter cannot help but be considered rather partriarchal and overprotective, but then again, the new Mrs. de Winter is quite naive and often completely unaware of what she got herself into. This may shock those of you who have read Rebecca or seen the Alfred Hitchcock movie (being a huge fan, I'm saddened to say that I haven't yet watched the movie, though I highly intend to), Mrs. Danvers was not quite as villainous as I expected her to be...at least from the onset. After a certain *ahem* wardrobe malfunction in the story is when I really loathed her. Now don't get me wrong...I didn't ever find her likeable, but she didn't come across as the essential villain either. I think the unconventionality of her as an antagonist was clever and added to the deception of the story. As for the title character, the first Mrs. de Winter was mysterious, powerful, and literally drop dead gorgeous...what could ever be wrong with her?! :D
I really enjoyed this book and would definitely re-read it to catch all of the subtle nuances that I missed prior to the very surprising twist (or two...or maybe it was three?). I would highly recommend it to mystery lovers and literature lovers alike. I've never really been able to say this about any other book I've reviewed (though not to say it isn't true about many other books), but it is universally appealing, timeless, and very few books have a literary style comparable to Daphne du Maurier.
If you have read du Maurier before, I would love some further recommendations. I'm interested in Jamaica Inn and My Cousin Rachel. Are they just as good? Better? Worse? Please advise!
Rank: (A)- Excellent, Highly Recommend