by Daphne Du Maurier
- Date finished: May 2
- Genre: Fiction
- Year: 1938
- Project: n/a
- Reading List: Spring 2013, 25 Books to Read Before You’re 25
- Grade: A
- Thoughts upon reading:
You know, no offense to the other books I’ve read recently, but it’s been awhile since I was simply engrossed in a book, and I have to say, it happened with Rebecca.
I figured this might happen. Rebecca tells the story of a naive young women who falls in love with a rich widower while in Monte Carlo, where she’s serving as a ladies companion. He takes her back to Manderlay, his dramatic English estate by the sea. However our unnamed heroine finds everything haunted by her husband’s first wife, Rebecca, who died in a sailing accident only a year before. And let’s not forget the creepy servant, Mrs. Danvers, who’s intent on making our heroine’s life hell.
First, even before I read up on Rebecca, this book put me in the mood of Jane Eyre and thus, I imagined the narrator and Maxim de Winter as Mia Wasikowska and the steamy Michael Fassbender. Upon further research after finishing, I learned that the Jane Eyre comparison has been made before (young woman + rich guy + dead/ish wife + creepy house), and in fact, Daphne du Maurier was particularly fascinated with the Brontes. This is never a bad thing since I’m a huge fan of Jane Eyre, and I now want to re-watch the 2011 film…
Anyway, the book is described as a “masterpiece of romantic suspense,” and usually I’m not a fan of either genres. And Rebecca does have its moments of sweeping sentimentalism. Plus, it doesn’t bode well when the heroine of Fifty Shades of Gray says its her favorite book (ugh). However, Rebecca is genuinely well-written and has all the best elements of high-quality escapism. Plus, when you read a lot – and you tend to read a lot of difficult texts, whether that’s Dostoevsky or Betty Friedan – there is nothing wrong with indulging in a little “romantic suspense.” This was a book I literally did not want to put down, and stayed up far too late reading. In fact, I woke up at 6 a.m. on my day off just to finish. I’m glad I really knew nothing about the book, or its story, before reading because I had to know how it ended. I probably did my fair share of gasping and chest-grabbing as well. I haven’t done that in awhile – it felt good.
Now, on a semi-unrelated note, let’s all look at Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester: