“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”
A young woman, a paid companion, is in Monte Carlo with her rich, American employer. It is here she meets Maxim de Winter, a handsome widower not impressed with the frivolities of the French Riviera. Drawn to her unpretentious character and attractive inexperience, the two spend all their spare time together. Somber Mr. de Winter was married before. A mystery surrounds the death of his wife. They say he just can’t get over Rebecca. Our heroine seems to melt Maxim’s chilly exterior and soothe his wounded heart.
After a whirlwind romance the new Mrs. de Winter arrives home at Manderley, a picture postcard perfect estate on the Cornish coast of England. The young bride (who remains nameless throughout the story) is in for a shock. Along with the estate comes a litany of servants and responsibilities. Mrs. Danvers rules Manderley with her steely façade and grim presence. Danny loved Rebecca and takes every opportunity to remind the new Mrs. de Winter she’ll never fill the void left by her predecessor.
Feeling like an outsider, not belonging to the world of landed gentry into which she has been dropped, the new bride hopes she hasn’t made a mistake. Inept at every turn, the second Mrs. de Winter is haunted by the past perfection that was Rebecca.
Maxim’s first wife was the epitome of elegance and beauty. Her shadow hovers over Manderley, casting doubt into the heart of her successor.
Maxim never speaks of Rebecca, never mentions her death. She drowned off the coast while boating alone one night. Haunted by her memory, happiness evades Maxim. Our young protagonist is the antithesis of glamorous Rebecca. Can she fill the shoes that trampled over Maxim and all of Manderley?
Since publication in 1938, Rebecca has stood the test of time. A classic tale of romance and suspense, it will satisfy lovers of both. Famous for introducing readers to the windy Cornish coast, dashing Maxim de Winter, and insidiously creepy Mrs. Danvers, Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca is worth reading and re-reading…and re-reading.