My rating: 3 of 5 stars
My comments on this book are going to be very few, and hardly satisfactory for fans of Rebecca. However, while I found myself admiring and appreciating the plot devices and story itself, I could not attach myself to the whole. Throughout my experience of this gothic novel I felt detached. I doubt, really, that it’s any fault of the book itself. Perhaps it has more to do with my pregnancy and exhausted state of mind at this point in time.
I can honestly say, however, that I was not much taken in with either the narrator or Maxim de Winter. Neither of them had my sympathy. In fact, I found the former rather annoying with her missish ways and the latter put me off with his off-hand treatment of his second wife. Even when he drops the bombshell about his first wife on her, I could feel no stirring of sympathy or even pity. I simply couldn’t help wondering how perfect they seemed for each other — both superbly conscious of what other people would say about them.
I’ve noticed how some folk, in their reviews, have mentioned how much they’ve been drawn to Rebecca herself. I can’t say that I was. The very first description we have of her from Mrs Danvers was enough to put me off her completely — such an evil creature! Some might say she was simply spoilt, but I doubt there’s anything simple about the manner of woman she was! I will admit however, that du Maurier does a fantastic job in making you curious about this ghost. Like the narrator you really really really want to know all you can about the first Mrs de Winter.
For some reason the red rhododendrons along the drives strike forcefully in my mind’s eye as I think of that novel even now.That’s how intrusive and formidable a character Rebecca strikes me in spite of her absence. Mannerly also stands out as a most impressive character. Everything revolves around Manderley, and as though it were a living, breathing person, it takes on the hue and colours and characteristics of the development of the story. I think it absolutely fitting that Manderley is destroyed at the end. If it were Rebecca who made it what it was then it was bound to fall. After all, Maxim de Winter agrees to this sham of a marriage only because he loves his property and can’t stand a scandal that involves it.
Speaking of which, did anyone find Maxim de Winter weak? Everything for the love of propriety and property. And at the end (which is at the beginning) he can’t even bare the mention of Manderley or aching connected to it. His young wife must shoulder the burden on her own, and help shield him from his memories. Quite pathetic.
I like that the nameless narrator gains some back bone at the end.
I also like how du Maurier actually makes the second Mrs de Winter the shadow of the first Mrs de Winter, when it is the first that is actually the ghost. It was done superbly.
My copy of the novel has an article by a Sally Beauman that I read before beginning the story. In it Shea talks of Rebecca being in a cage much like the narrator, but the two women deal with it all differently….Maxim de Winter being the monster. Towards the end of the novel I found myself thinking “what utter rubbish!” Rebecca was in no cage. She knew exactly what she wanted and she got it. Simple. Too much false analysis is what I call that article.
Hmmm….this post has turned out to be longer than I thought it would. Really, I so sure I’d be writing a maximum of five lines on this because when I think of Rebecca my mind comes up rather blank.
I’d started out by giving this novel four stars but ended it with three for the immediate above reason.
What was your opinion of Rebecca?