Two weeks ago the participants in my Rebecca Readalong posted their thoughts over the first half of this remarkable novel. And after a slow first couple chapters, I was hooked on this gloomy, mysterious, and creepy novel. So hooked, in fact, that I finished the last half of this book in one sitting (and that was on January 2, if that tells you anything).
This book awed me. I shut it and immediately wanted to begin again. Du Maurier succeeds in crafting a tale that haunted me from the moment I began reading. She does it in a way that strings it along ever so carefully. You wander with the narrator in search of answers to questions you didn't even know you had to begin with.
In the first half, we watched as our narrator came to Manderley and suffered through the first few days in terror. She was young, naive and scared that she would never live up to image of Rebecca. In every place she turned, she sensed the ghost of her husband's deceased first wife;
"She was in the house still as Mrs. Danvers said, she was in that room in the west wing, she was in the library, in the morning-room, in the gallery above the hall. Even in the little flower-room, where her macintosh still hung. And in the garden, and in the woods, and down in the stone cottage on the beach. her footsteps sounded in the corridors, her scent lingered on the stairs. The servants obeyed her orders still, the food we ate was the food she liked. Her favorite flowers filled the rooms. Her clothes were in the wardrobes in her room, her brushes were on the table, her shoes beneath the chair, her nightdress on the bed. Rebecca was still mistress of Manderley. Rebecca was still Mrs. de Winter," (233).
We can only watch as disaster seems imminent, that Rebecca will win and our narrator will leave Manderley in shame. And as events unfolded, all I could do was keep reading. Our narrator begins to grow up and mature before our eyes as the depths of the mystery of Rebecca continue to unfold. her change might even be more fascinating than the events that take place, as she finds within her the strength to confront what is being thrown her way.
Don't worry, I won't give away what happens, or the powerful ending that took my breath away.
I give myself credit for figuring out plot twists and turns well in advance, but Du Maurier crafted this so well that I never saw it coming. The final blow hit and I gasped. And that was it.
I am still thinking about this novel, days after I set it aside. I can tell that it is a novel that will continue to haunt me. I will think about it until I read it again. And I know that I will read more by this suspense genius. This was a beautiful introduction into the long fiction of Du Maurier (I have read and taught "The Birds" before). I cannot wait to read more of her work in the future, and I hope you do too!
For those of you who participated in the readalong, leave a link here so I can get your post up for us to come visit and comment! For those of you who have read Rebecca, what did you think of this novel? Did it grab you as much as it did me?
Lit Addicted Brit