Hi, friends. Today’s classic is an eerie drama perfect for cozying up to a fire and indulging in these last few winter months.
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Published in 1938, Rebecca is a drama shrouded in darkness and mystery–a tortured love story with a supernatural vibe. In the first couple chapters, our narrator speaks enigmatically of a past that feels both close and long ago. She has vivid dreams about a place called Manderley.
Around the third chapter, the narrator starts the story from the beginning when she is a young adult working for a wealthy woman of society. By happenstance, the two meet Maxim De Winter, a recent widower and a mysterious, brooding man. He is instantly attracted to the narrator’s youthful naiveté–a stark contrast to his jaded perspective–and the two embark on an odd friendship. Within almost no time, he asks her to marry him, and in the blink of an eye, she’s moving to his house, Manderley, as the new Mrs. De Winter.
Our narrator soon learns that she has big shoes to fill. Rebecca, the old Mrs. De Winter, was beautiful, charming, and universally loved; some at Manderley aren’t ready to see her replaced. An inexplicable darkness envelops the house and everyone there. The new Mrs. De Winter must peel back secrets buried in the past like layers of an onion to piece together what all has happened there.
This one was a slow burner, but especially towards the last half, the book was hard to put down. The narrator is also relatable in her “ordinariness” and insecurities, so reading the story from her perspective is enjoyable.
Rebecca was initially met with lukewarm reviews, but it sold over 2 million copies in its first thirty years and is now considered a classic by many. Rebecca has never gone out of print.
The novel falls under the Gothic genre and has been compared to Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.
The novel has been adapted for film and television several times. Alfred Hitchcock released a well-received version in 1940. Unfortunately, the film changes a major plot point from the book because, at that time, the plot point went against the Hollywood Production Code. Netflix announced they were making a new film version in 2018. (Yay!)
Thanks for reading! Have you read this novel? Let me know in the comments.