Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Publication Date: August 1938

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Genre: Gothic Romance

Pages: 449

Rating: 1.5 stars

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Synopsis

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.

“But luxury has never appealed to me, I like simple things, books, being alone, or with somebody who understands.”

“Women want love to be a novel. Men, a short story.”

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Review

Rebecca is a strange yet fascinating and surprising read. I expected less from it, but was pleased with the quality of writing and plot that the novel gave me. It is a story about a young, unnamed girl who unexpectedly marries a wealthy older man. She arrives at his home and is confronted by the impact that his dead wife has had on the employees of the Manderley mansion. The readers question what more there is to the husband’s previous wife, Rebecca, who drowned a year ago.

The main character, who I’ll refer to as the heroine, really spoke to me. Her lack of a name is odd but makes sense as she struggles to find her own identity. She is very relatable due to her awkwardness and introversion. She constantly gets compared to Rebecca, even by the maids, which affects the relationship with her husband. The character progression of the heroine is really great to read about, and I loved how she acts towards the end. She clearly changes throughout the text, though her changes are rather situational.

As this novel is a gothic romance, it has elements of both genres. I could really get a sense of the gothic elements, even though I have barely read any gothic novels! It reminded me of the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, which I have not read, but have seen the television series. It has many of the same tropes, such as a big mansion, a young girl and an older guy, and something to do with a previous wife. There is also a sinister and paranormal feel to the book, and the heroine gets manipulated by others. As for the romance aspects, I was slightly surprised by how much it reads like a romance, especially in the beginning. The set-up of the relationship really makes the reader want the romance to work out. Although Maxim, the husband, is unlikeable at times, there is an attractive quality about him.

I was not expecting the ending at all. The twist is much better than what I thought was going to happen. There are a few things that are laughable due to it being published almost 100 years ago, as reactions would have certainly changed, but even so, I still think the ending is a plausible solution. The ending made the novel worth it for me, as it takes a complete 180 compared to the kind of mundane and slow events that happen for two thirds of the novel. I read the last third of the novel in a day, whereas the rest took almost a week.

The writing is eloquent and not so difficult to read, though still has an air of sophistication about it due to the time period in which it was published. I thought the novel is well-written, but occasionally there are slabs of information or description that makes it uninteresting to read. Aside from that, I cannot fault the style of writing because it is a classic and was released so long ago.

I have rated Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier four stars because it kept my interest and made me question the characters. I would recommend this novel to those who enjoy gothic romances, or genres like mystery, thriller, classics, or romance.


  • Have you read Rebecca?
  • Would you recommend watching the film, or should I skip it?

13 thoughts on “Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

  1. I’ve read Rebecca and listened to it on audiobook! The girl drove me crazy listening to her… she rambled so long I’d loose track of what started her whole long stream of thought ramble… I didn’t notice that problem as much reading the book! An odd experience… still I give it 4 stars ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha sometimes I got a bit fed up with her rambling too 😂 There were a few long paragraphs that made me a bit bored. But yeah that’s odd, the audiobook version must be pretty long. Glad you agreed with the 4 stars ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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