A classical tale surround jealousy... Rebecca. A novel by Daphne du Maurier written in 1938 and one that I had not heard of until I saw the Netflix film trailer, I decided to check it out and go into it blindly.
The story centres around a young lady whose name is never revealed and is only ever known as the second "Mrs De Winter". She is a young lady who falls in love with an older man, Maxim, whilst she is abroad, working for an older lady as a companion. She and Maxim spend a few blissful days together where they form an obvious connection. Maxim asks the young lady to marry him and soon they go back to Manderley (his grand, country estate) together. There, she is confronted by Rebecca's ghost.
The new Mrs De Winter is haunted by Rebecca, who although no longer alive, still has some kind of hold over Manderley. Mrs Danvers (the housekeeper) tries her best to make the new Mrs De Winter as uncomfortable as possible, constantly reminding her that she will forever be inferior to Rebecca. In fact, everyone speaks so fondly of Rebecca, it almost drives the new Mrs De Winter to the point of madness.
Distance grows between her and Maxim, but a surprising revelation brings them closer than ever.
Honestly, I didn't know what to expect when I picked up this book. Was it a romance? A thriller? Perhaps even a horror story? I suppose it is almost all three. It's a book I will likely read again as I didn't take in as much detail at the beginning of the book.
It's a fantastic story that gets you thinking about how we can be our own worst enemy and how ghosts live on through our imagination and memories. There are characters who refuse to let Rebecca go because of their adoration for her. Others are fearful of her, even though she is no longer there. Throughout the majority of the book, Rebecca is an incredibly strong presence and as the reader, you can picture her so vividly but only because the narrator cannot leave her be.
One of my favourite takeaways from this book is how we often allow thoughts to cloud our judgements on what is reality. The narrator is constantly fearful that Maxim is still in love with Rebecca when the fact is, he never loved her.
The pace of the book is perfect as it keeps you reading on. There are no boring parts which is incredibly rare for a book of that size. It's unpredictability is something fascinating to me considering when it was written and how many thrillers are now in existence. It took me a moment to realise that the book had come full circle. The ending was powerful but a part of me would have liked a clearer ending.
It's wonderful that such a dark story has such a happy ending. There is a sadness in what is lost but ultimately, the main characters are extremely lucky and in a roundabout way, get a chance at true happiness, leaving everything that was holding them back.
It's a book I would highly recommend as it's a great story but also teaches us a lot about ourselves and warns us of how awful jealously can be.
My Rating - 9/10