Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier, Sally Beauman

Though this has been on my TBR for years, I was not expecting to read it any time soon. Honestly, Rebecca never called to me. I assumed it would be a stuffy, near-insufferable romance filled with stiff, unlikable creatures. Oh, I was wrong.


This classic 1938 is a titan of the gothic genre, and rightfully so. Daphne du Maurier is quite apparently a master of mood, setting, and pacing. Not once did I want to put this down — that iconic first line (“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again...”) grabs the reader and never, ever lets go. How is it possible to make an unnamed narrator so empathetic? How is it she, Maxim de Winter’s second wife, walks in the shadow of Rebecca, his first wife, and yet stand on her own? It is no small writing skill, that.


Because art is so subjective, I am hesitant to call any book ‘perfect,’ but I believe Rebecca is as close as it gets . . . for me. I might just have a new all-time favorite novel. Really. Shame on me for not reading this sooner. Shame, shame, shame.


Stuffed with quotable lines (try the whole friggin story) and memorable characters and delightful twists, this is a classic novel that retains all its original power; in fact, it could be argued this mighty tale has only gained stature over time. My highest recommendation.