Rebecca – reviewed by Maria Mercedes Bausela Herreras


by Daphne du Maurier

Reviewed by Maria Mercedes Bausela Herreras

I live in Alicante ( Spain) where there are a lot of English speakers. At this moment I am looking for a new job. More companies ask you to communicate in English. For this reason I have considered that a good way to improve different English skills would be reading for pleasure.

Rebecca was written by Dapne du Maurier (Lady Browning) 1907-1989 DBE 1969, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Dapne was born in 1907, grand-daughter of the brilliant artist and writer George du Maurier, daughter of Gerald, the most famous Actor Manager of his day, she came from a creative and successful family.

She began writing short stories in 1928, and in 1931 her first novel, “ The loving Spirit “ was published. It received rave reviews and further books followed. Then came her most famous three novels, “Jamaica Inn”, “ Frenchman’s Creek” and “Rebecca”. Each novel being inspired by her love of Cornwall, where she lived and wrote.

Rebecca is told by a woman whose name we never know. This novel can be divided into three parts.

First part happens at the hotel Côte d’Azur in Montecarlo where the narrator meets Maxim de Winter who is Rebecca’s widower. At that moment the narrator works for Mr Van Hopper but she hates this kind of life and she decides to leave her life and marry with Maxim. He does not love her. The truth is he is lonely by himself at Manderley. He can not live in that empty house without Rebecca. He is marrying her because he can not go on living there alone.

The second part happens at Manderley when the narrator is the second wife of Mr de Winter, she has several servants and a housekeeper called Mrs Danvers who is very jealous of her because she adored Rebecca. You can see this, in the chapter of the ball. Traditionally a fancy dress ball is held at Manderley every year, the narrator cannot make up her mind what to wear. For that reason Mrs Danvers suggests that she copies the costume from a painting of Caroline de Winter, one of Maxim’s ancestors. The narrator keeps her costume a secret. When she appears with her costume nobody laughed. Nobody clapped and Maxim was completely angry. Soon afterwards Maxim’s sister explains her that it was exactly what Rebecca wore at the last ball.

The third part happens out of Manderley where we discover the truth about Rebecca’s death. Here Maxim and the narrator are free of Rebecca and can begin their lives together at last but when they approach Manderley they see the sky lighting up. But this is not the sunrise it is flames and Manderley is burning. From my point of view this is the symbol of the real love.

The author shows us a continual fight between Rebecca and the narrator. He has mixed love into mystery very well during all novel. At the beginning Mrs de Winter was very young and shy but as time goes up Mrs de Winter grows up meanwhile Mr de Winter is not already so self-confident and he explains us the truth about Rebecca ( did she drown in the sea near Manderley or was she killed? I invited you to discover it ,you can not lose it.

The part I enjoyed best was the chapter whose title is The China Cupid because She broke down one of Rebecca’s wedding presents. The ornament broke into many pieces. She found an envelope in a drawer and carefully put the pieces of China in it. At the end she confessed it to Mrs Danvers that it was her fault. From my point of view, this represents her breakup with the past.

My favourite character was the narrator because she felt in love with Maxim since she met him in spite of Mrs Danvers’ drawbacks.

Read Rebecca as soon as possible and recommend it. It is an unforgettable novel!