Book Review: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

rebeccaWhat’s it about?

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.

 

My thoughts

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”

My initial thoughts are that I’ve totally missed something with this book! I’ve seen such high praise for this book historically and recently when I’ve updated my Goodreads feed to Twitter and people have commented that it’s their favourite book (you know who you are!). Guys, I’m really sorry but I didn’t get what all the fuss is about. It’s one of those where, for me, if this had been published now, would have been over-hyped.

One of the first things I noticed was that the second Mrs De Winter is never actually referred to by her christian name; not even by her employer or later her husband. I found this a little strange and found myself wondering at what point will we learn our narrator’s name?

From very early on there’s this obsession with Manderley; its lifestyle and what it can offer. But all it presents is an old house, with an aging staff and a haunting without a ghost.

Our narrator, the second Mrs De Winter is young, naive and doesn’t quite fit in at Manderley however I felt this was somewhat her own fault as she let Mrs Danvers walk all over her and almost allowed her to continue with the mind games. She also has an overactive imagination, always imagining the worst case scenarios and conversations.

The book has such a dark, brooding atmospheric cover that that is what I expected from the content, unfortunately, for me, I wasn’t feeling it. I found the first 300 pages incredibly slow and a bit dull. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. However, once Maxim had made his revelation the pace and the tension picked up a lot more and I then raced through the last 130 pages.

Cleo from Cleopatra Loves Books absolutely hit the nail on the head with her comment on my WWW post  “it doesn’t give the instant twists that more modern psychological novels tend to”. But overall, I’m glad I persevered and got through it.

If you want to give it a go, here are the links: Paperback | Kindle

Learn more about the life and books of Daphne du Maurier here

WWW Wednesday (April 22nd)

This weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open to all to participate. Why not join in and let us know what you’re reading this week…

WWW Wednesday

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?

• What did you recently finish reading?

• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Theodore Boone The ActivistTheodore Boone: The Activist by John Grisham

This is the 4th book in the Theodore Boone series. I’ve read the first three but they can be read as standalone. It’s predominantly targeted at younger readers; as an adult reader I’ve found in this book the narrative somewhat condescending. I think this maybe one case where it’s not one for everybody.

The blurb

Theodore Boone, young lawyer, has had a lot to deal with in his thirteen years, everything from kidnapping to murder.

But he’s come through it all and, with the law on his side, justice has always prevailed.

Sometimes, though, the law doesn’t seem so just. His friend Hardie Quinn is about to have his family home bulldozed to make way for a bypass. Hardie is not the only one affected: other homes, businesses and schools lie in the path of the road. Theo has to tell his friend the bad news: for once, the law isn’t on his side, and there’s very little anyone can do to end the destruction.

Theo joins the campaign to stop the road. But when he stumbles on a terrible secret about the corrupt men behind the plan – a secret it is illegal for him to know – Theo must figure out how to keep the developers from breaking the law… without breaking it himself.

What did you recently finish reading?

rebeccaRebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Well I persevered with this one and got throught it. I have to admit I found the first 300 pages incredibly slow and a bit dull. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. However, once Maxim had made his revelation the pace and the tension picked up a lot more and I then raced through the last 130 pages.

The blurb

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.

What do you think you’ll read next?

The Dead Wife's HandbookThe Dead Wife’s Handbook by Hannah Beckerman

I’ve been meaning to get a copy of this for ages and just never got round to it so I’ve borrowed a copy from the library. I hope it lives up to the hype and my expectations.

The blurb

‘Today is my death anniversary. A year ago today I was still alive.’

Rachel, Max and their daughter Ellie had the perfect life – until the night Rachel’s heart stopped beating.

Now Max and Ellie are doing their best to adapt to life without Rachel, and just as her family can’t forget her, Rachel can’t quite let go of them either. Caught in a place between worlds, Rachel watches helplessly as she begins to fade from their lives. And when Max is persuaded by family and friends to start dating again, Rachel starts to understand that dying was just the beginning of her problems.

As Rachel grieves for the life she’s lost and the life she’ll never lead, she learns that sometimes the thing that breaks your heart might be the very thing you hope for.

What’s on your reading list this week?

WWW Wednesday (April 15th)

This weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open to all to participate. Why not join in and let us know what you’re reading this week…

WWW Wednesday

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?

• What did you recently finish reading?

• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

rebeccaRebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

This book has been on my TBR pile for ages and am reading as part of #paperbackmonth. It took a couple of chapters to get into; the writing is very of its time and descriptive. I’m about 150 pages in and I have to say, as much as I’m desperate to enjoy, which I am in a way, I’m finding it terribly slow. Nothing’s really happened in terms of the dark psychological side. Maybe I’m just being too impatient – we’ll see.

The blurb

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.

What did you recently finish reading?

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell Eleanor & Park

Although YA isn’t a genre I read that often I quite liked this book. There were a lot of deeper social issues at hand here other than just first love. I felt desperately sorry for Eleanor for like 95% of this book. Surprising!

The blurb

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she’s never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried.

Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and – in Eleanor’s eyes – impossibly cool, Park’s worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re 16, and you have nothing and everything to lose.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Theodore Boone The ActivistTheodore Boone: The Activist by John Grisham

Next up in my #paperbackmonth challenge is the fourth in this YA series. I’ve read the other 3 so it makes sense to continue.

The blurb

Theodore Boone, young lawyer, has had a lot to deal with in his thirteen years, everything from kidnapping to murder.

But he’s come through it all and, with the law on his side, justice has always prevailed.

Sometimes, though, the law doesn’t seem so just. His friend Hardie Quinn is about to have his family home bulldozed to make way for a bypass. Hardie is not the only one affected: other homes, businesses and schools lie in the path of the road. Theo has to tell his friend the bad news: for once, the law isn’t on his side, and there’s very little anyone can do to end the destruction.

Theo joins the campaign to stop the road. But when he stumbles on a terrible secret about the corrupt men behind the plan – a secret it is illegal for him to know – Theo must figure out how to keep the developers from breaking the law… without breaking it himself.

What’s on your reading list this week?

WWW Wednesday (April 8th)

This weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open to all to participate. Why not join in and let us know what you’re reading this week…

WWW Wednesday

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?

• What did you recently finish reading?

• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell Eleanor & Park

YA isn’t my preferred genre but I won this signed copy in a Twitter comp so thought I’d give it a go; albeit a tad sceptical that I’d enjoy it. Well I got a third way through the book in one sitting; partly because it’s very easy to get on with and secondly because I got wrapped in their story – more so Eleanor’s! 🙂

The blurb

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she’s never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried.

Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and – in Eleanor’s eyes – impossibly cool, Park’s worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re 16, and you have nothing and everything to lose.

What did you recently finish reading?

breakfast_at_tiffanysBreakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

This is one of all my time favourite movies so reading the book after I’ve seen the movie so many times was going to be a tough challenge. I hadn’t realised it was only a short story so at 87 pages it’s a quick read; I just didn’t love it as much as the movie. Review to follow shortly.

The blurb

It’s New York in the 1940s, where the martinis flow from cocktail hour till breakfast at Tiffany’s. And nice girls don’t, except, of course, for Holly Golightly: glittering socialite traveller, generally upwards, sometimes sideways and once in a while – down. Pursued by to Salvatore ‘Sally’ Tomato, the Mafia sugar-daddy doing life in Sing Sing and ‘Rusty’ Trawler, the blue-chinned, cuff-shooting millionaire man about women about town, Holly is a fragile eyeful of tawny hair and turned-up nose, a heart-breaker, a perplexer, a traveller, a tease. She is irrepressibly ‘top banana in the shock deparment’, and one of the shining flowers of American fiction.

What do you think you’ll read next?

rebeccaRebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

This month is about taking part in the Paperback Month reading challenge so I tried to pick books that I’ve been meaning to read for a long time – this is one of those. I just hope I’ll be able to get through the language.

The blurb

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.

What’s on your reading list this week?