Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier

Title: Rebecca
Author: Daphne du Maurier

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the Iron Gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me. There was a padlock and chain upon the gate. I called in my dream to the lodge-keeper, and had no answer, and peering closer through the rusted spokes of the gate I saw that the lodge was uninhabited.
No smoke came from the chimney, and the little lattice windows gaped forlorn. Then, like all dreamers, I was possessed of a sudden with supernatural powers and passed like a spirit through the barrier before me. The drive wound away in front of me, twisting and turning as it had always done, but as I advanced I was aware that a change had come upon it; it was narrow and unkempt, not the drive that we had known.”
 The book opens with a haunting dream: a beach, a burned-down mansion, ghostly scenery. This story somehow is similar to Jane Eyre with the haunting Thornfield, mad wife, dark secrets and a young innocent girl’s narrative voice. Unlike Jane Eyre, we’ll never know how the narrator looks like, she’s innocent, she’s strong but she’s faceless – just like a dream.

Something has happened to Max de Winter, master of Manderley (a big mansion and estate on
a beautiful beach), so that he has to run away to Europe where he meets a young innocent girl (the narrator) whom he marries and brings back to Manderley. There, the girl will have to face a terrible past with dark secret and a strange manipulating servant. What are hidden in the store room? Who was Max’s beautiful ex-wife? What happened to her? Was she drown as people said? Let’s follow the narrator’s story to uncover the truth.

I like the way Du Maurier describe the beautiful grand mansion and the surrounding beach scenery. It’s haunting, as a nightmarish dream in disguish of a sweet dream.

Readers who love this story can also see the 1940 Oscar-winner movie based on the book, starred Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier.

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