Guys, if you’ve been around for a minute you know I tend to have a hard time with classics. By hard time I mean I hate them. I try, I really do, but more often than not they leave me with a bad time-wasted taste in my mouth. So when my book club decided on Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier I was slightly hesitant. I hate being the person who doesn’t read the book club book. I had bailed on a couple in the past few months because we have been remodeling our kitchen and I legitimately had no extra time. However, the remodel is [mainly] done, so I knew I just had to buckle down and do it.
That is one thing that I love about book clubs. Without mine, I never would have read this book. If by the off chance that I had picked it up on my own, I wouldn’t have made it past the first three chapters.
The beginning is very dry. A lot of explanation of things that don’t exactly matter, so I did a fair bit of skimming for the first quarter. If you are a fan of pretty sentences that are there just for the sake of being pretty sentences, you will probably really enjoy this part. If you are like me and need some meat and bones to a story before you get really hooked, hang in there. I promise it is worth it.
What is this meat you are speaking of, you ask? I give to you, the worlds most confusing and surprising love triangle in novel form. Love triangles are played out you say? What if I told you a member of this love triangle was dead? Yeah. Thought so.
Also, what if I told you that Daphne Du Maurier has succeeded in doing something to my brain that only that great and powerful Gaiman has ever done before? An entire book in which we never learn the narrators name and I didn’t even notice.
Let me set the scene for you. This story takes place in I am going to assume 1940-50ish? Dates are never given, but given context I think that is a fitting time frame. Our narrator marries the widower of a famous estate known as Manderley, Mr. De Winter. His first wife perished at sea. The house keeping staff, as well as the majority of the townspeople in the surrounding area, adored the first Mrs. De Winter, Rebecca. Most notably, the head house keeper Mrs. Danvers. Without giving too much away, that bitch be crazy.
Essentially, our narrator, who comes from a very modest upbringing and is very young, is thrust quickly into the life of a stranger, in an extravagant estate that she is expected to run. Which was ran previously by a woman whom everyone adored and did everything perfectly. She is married to a man around 25 years older than her, who can’t seem to figure out if he should treat her like a child or his wife, but mainly is just an ass most of the time.
Everywhere she turns, Rebecca is lurking. Rebecca was a better wife. Rebecca was adored by the estate. Rebecca was prettier. Rebecca, was more.
How is she supposed to compete with someone who isn’t even there anymore?
The twists and turns in the last quarter of this story are phenomenal. It absolutely makes up for the first quarter. They come out of nowhere and then they just unfold in the most brilliant way.
If you love a thriller, you will love this. Look past the 1940’s English countryside facade and see it for what it really is, a ghost story.