“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”
Daphne du Maurier’s twisted and mysterious novel, Rebecca, has been a favourite read for many years and has been adapted many times, not only in film but also on stage.
Max de Winter re-marries, and the new Mrs de Winter finds herself in Manderley, a massive country estate. Despite landing herself in what should be paradise for the new bride, there is a darkness over Manderley and Mrs de Winter feels that the late Mrs de Winter (Rebecca) is watching her.
A novel full of strong and complex female characters, a refreshing change to some of the usual females depicted in literature. Rebecca has two very different sides, the sweet perfect wife or the scary and manipulative woman. Each side of Rebecca is told through different characters, but which is the real her? The other main female character; the new Mrs de Winter, grows and matures, becoming a more complex personality as the novel progresses. The novel also has a range of other characters all with unique personalities, the secretive Mr de Winter, the mysterious and cold Mrs Danvers, the outspoken Bea and the timid, but all seeing, Ben.
This intense and suspense filled novel never lets you off the hook and keeps you on the edge of you seat throughout each chapter once the characters have arrived at Manderley. Even as the story appears to be drawing to an end, the author continues to shock the reader with new revellations and plot twists that the reader never saw coming. Unlike many of the obvious and somewhat dull mysteries on the market now, du Maurier continued to surprise me right to the end.
Combined with the characters and mystery, du Maurier’s beautifully descriptive writing makes you feel as though you are living with the protagonists at Manderley, and thus makes an even more compelling read. A definite must read for lovers of the mystery genre, or readers who have enjoyed other novels by Daphne de Maurier such as Jamaica Inn.