I've just started reading this again. I always thought I loved this book, but this time around I'm not so sure. I don't think I like Maxim - he doesn't seem to have many redeeming features. And the narrator seems even more of a drip this time around, which is quite possibly the point.
Do you love Rebecca or hate it?
And what do you imagine the narrator's name to be? I used to think it was something like Amelia or Emilia, but I suspect that was because Emilia Fox played her the adaptation that I saw . But reading again I can't help but think it is something related to flowers, given the preponderance of flower imagery in the book.
Love love love this book. But I agree with you about the characters. I like your flower name idea. How about Primmie, short for Primrose? She is indeed a prim rose to Rebecca's wild rhododendron.
I could never get past the first couple of chapters without being bored rigid.
I have however read Rebecca's Tale by Sally Beuman with great enjoyment. I know that probably means that I should be be hung drawn and quartered from a literary standpoint but I just cannot help the fact I found it a much more engaging book!
I love it, but not unconditionally.
Maxim is a bit of a twerp, isn't he? He certainly wouldn't have won me over with his car shenanigans at the beginning. YY to the narrator being a drip; even when she grow a spine she didn't get rid of Mrs Danvers? I find the short sentences a little annoying as well.
Nevertheless, its a rattling good read and, first and foremost, Daphne Du Maurier deserves admiration for telling a fine story with a tight, gripping plot.
*I always think of the narrator as being called Barbary - I was 9 when I first read it and thought that would be a lovely, exotic name
I must add Rebecca to my re-read list. I read it as a teenager and loved it. I don't know whether I still will.
Have you read The Secrets Between Us by Louise Douglas? It's in my tbr pile. Apparently it's very similar in plot to Rebecca (intentionally, according to her interview with Richard & Judy).
I read it a couple of years ago for the first time - I liked it but didn't quite understand why it was a desert-island read for so many women. I think the attraction of the story is sod all to do with Maxim (I wouldn't even have been able to tell you his name), he's kind of incidental to the whole thing and their relationship seems paper thin: it's all about Mrs Danvers's passion for Rebecca, almost Heathcliffe-like in its intensity and destruction.
I'm sure the narrator had a name that would have screamed out her petit-bourgeois origins for the whole of the Cornish set to sneer at and made it impossible for her be accepted as the rightful Mrs de Winter: Joyce perhaps? Marjorie?
I can't get over how scared she is about doing anything she wants to do. I mean, I know it was a different time and everything but for god's sake, woman, you married the man, this is your house now, stop creeping around like a servant!
Thanks for the recommendation, duchess, I'll look it up.
Princess, I loved Rebecca's Tale as well, and I started Rebecca yesterday knowing full well I'd read both books!
Maybe it's a book that suits a certain age. In your late teens, early twenties you might lack the life experience to really question the narrator, you just go along with her behaviour. But the older you get, the less you relate to her?
Oh yes, Rebecca far more interesting than the new Mrs de winter and the emotionally defunct maxim.
I want a cabin on the beach with lovers who come and go in the moonlight.
Loved Rebecca's tale too, especially the super bonkers Danny in London. Mrs de winter still a drip though.
I love Rebecca - read it first at 18 and still love it at 36!
Don't like Maxim especially, but I do love how you can be totally rooting for a murderer (on her behalf, if you see what i mean). In any normal circumstances, I'd be horrified by him not wanting him to escape justice!
Wasn't over-fond of Rebecca's Tale, but then I don't like books, on the whole, that piggy-back off others - I could just about tolerate Wide Sargasso Sea but mostly I think "Oh, for goodness sake, get your own idea and let me imagine for myself where Rebecca came from. Don't take away the mystery of her."
Oh there was a Jane Eyre thread somewhere on mumsnet recently which turned in to a bitch about Maxim de Winter.
When I was a teenager and young 20-something I loved this book and felt that I could really relate to the heroine. However, as a "more mature" woman I re-read it and found myself very out of sympathy with Maxim - in fact I wanted to slap him around the head! He is so insensitve, self-absorbed and unimaginitive. Of course the heroine is a bit wet but hell she is only a very young girl and very gauche and insecure.
As to her name - well I had always imagined it to be Daphne du Maurier! The edition I had said on the title page:
by Daphne du Maurier
That "Her novel" always made me wonder if she had put herself in the place of the heroine.Oh and the first time she has dinner with Maxim he says her name is "beautiful and unusual" and she says her father was "beautiful and unusual" - or something like that. This led me to assume that it was the surname he was talking about not the Christian name and du Maurier is quite a beautiful and unusual name.
I don't want to re-read it now; I loved it so as a young teen.
I always thought of the narrator as a bit of a wimp. I imagined her to called Joan, perhaps because Joan Fontaine played her in that fab b&w film with Laurence Olivier.
I loved My Cousin Rachel back then too; I wonder if I would now?
I read it again recently and I still love it. It's not without its faults, Maxim is insensitive, the narrator is drippy. I still didn't want it to end though.
I love this book, haven't re read for a couple of years, must dig it out.
princess I loved Rebecca tale to! Also can't remember what the title is but Sally B wrote that book about Constance and that girl another house book, argh can't remember but I love love love that story.
When I read it as a teenager, I loved it - but purely because I adored Rebecca. I hated all other characters, but desperately wanted to marry Rebecca.
I've never heard of Rebecca's Tale but I'm now going to read it.
Technically Rebecca is amazing. I'm writing in the first person at the moment, and re-read it every time I'm stuck on a section of my work which is too "tell" and I need to "show" more. It's so hard to do this really well in the 1st person through a drippy pov like she manages!
Oh, and I've always imagined the second Mrs de Winter as a Daphne too!
Didn't the narrator say something in the book about having a very unusual name? Or am I imagining that?
I first read this in my thirties, and a good friend of mine saw me with it and said 'Oh, I love that book! Let me know what you think!' (he'd read it in his late teens). When I'd finished, I said 'It was a great read but why the hell did they not just tell Mrs Danvers to sling 'er hook?' Much deflated he said 'I never thought about that..'
I re-read Rebecca a few years ago after having loved the film. It was not as I remembered, much more subtle, but I did not enjoy The Second Mrs De Winter by Susan Hill, though my DSIL heard the adaptation on R4 and loved it. I've got a set of other Daphne Du Maurier books and enjoyed them though.
I hated Maxim and felt even more sorry for the narrator of Rebecca as you realise everyone is horrid.
I love Rebecca, I also loved My Cousin Rachel and Frenchman's Creek.
Easy to read, great plots and wonderfully written.
I'd love to see the film of My Cousin Rachel.
Her name is Daphne, I've always been sure of that. She mentions that it's hard to spell which is another clue. I loved it at 23 but haven't read it since.
I loved this book when I was at school ( many moons ago). Thanks for reminding me I shall have to re-read it.
Another one who loved Rebecca as a teen! I could really identify with the narrator, and not at all with Rebecca. I reread it last year while stuck on the sofa bfing DD1 and found I identified with the characters the other way round! I could completely see how Rebecca was suffocated by her marriage to the miserable Maxim, and thought the narrator was a bit of a drip and should have developed a backbone!
Love it. Her name is Demelza. No idea why but its what I always imagined.
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