The most popular of Daphne du Maurier's works, Rebecca remains one of the unforgettable stories I have read. It is as if Rebecca herself stretches her long arm from the grave unwilling for anyone to forget her.
It begins with our unnamed heroine who meets Mr. de Winter one day in Monte Carlo and after a whirlwind acquaintance and courtship, was swept back to his English home in Cornwall, Manderley. And this is where the mystery starts to unravel.
Manderley is a beautiful manor by the coast, surrounded by the scents of flowering gardens. One could imagine how grand it looks for the heroine. Little did she knows the manor itself is like a breathing thing, its walls tainted with memories and shadows. As time passes, old secrets were brought to light and always, always there's a remnant of Rebecca; a painting of a beautiful woman hanging on a wall, a room that is left as it was full of things engraved in the letter R, an old devotion by a lady's maid. In Mr. de Winter himself lies a tormented soul and for our innocent and naive heroine, everything is not what it seems.
The eerie atmosphere of the book heightened the drama in its breathless tension and before long the hair on your arms start to stand up. What interested me so much about this book is its beautifully written prose and du Maurier's style to keep us on the edge of our seat. The storyteller here remained anonymous until the end as if she's really not the point of this book. Well, the title couldn't be more obvious and here lies the brilliancy. Du Maurier gets us into thinking about the present hero/heroine arc until halfway when a reader realizes she is subtly luring her or him into another path, the revelation of the beautiful and incomparable Rebecca, then before the story ends, she dares to push us all out of our seats!
I cannot begin to comprehend the obsession and fawning of Mrs. Danvers, like a remaining shadow of Rebecca's soul, sweeping it around the house and the heroine's consciousness until it morphs into something akin to a nightmare. It seemed more chilling this way, what villainy soft words and gentle calculating gestures could havoc.
Still, even I can't help but fall in love with Manderley. The scents of the fragrant flowers in Happy Valley linger in my mind as du Maurier weave the words that invade the senses.
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again...
The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady's maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives -- presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.
Author: Daphne du Maurier
Genre: Mystery, Historical
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Rating: ♨♨♨♨♨ (5 cups - Hauntingly beautiful, this book will linger in your thoughts.)