Daphne du Maurier – Rebecca


Generally I disagree with 90% of Booktubers opinions, however there are times when the majority of these YouTube critics actually praise something so much that I check out the book and understand why they like it so much. Rebecca is one of those books.

What can I say about this book? Daphne Du Maurier’s most famous novels needs a couple of books to dissect it properly! but here’s my meagre review.

An unnamed narrator is whisked away from her holiday as a companion by the recently widowed Maxim deWinter to his worldly mansion, Manderley. The problem is that the aura of his previous wife Rebecca still is present. This leads the narrator to believe that Rebecca was a superior human being and that she is just second place. Later on in the book we readers discover that things are not as they seem.

That’s the simple summary but oter questions arise. Like is Manderley a character in the novel? A LOT of importance is given to this house so it plays a central role in the novel.

Are the narrator and Rebecca alike?

Is Rebecca’s influence beyond the grave?

There are other inter-textual nuances: the color red, the question of male superiority? the ethics of certain actions? and more. This is a rich novel which requires more than one reading to grasp all the hidden meanings.

I can praise Rebecca in other ways. Du Maurier’s cinematic writing style has a contemporary feel, this novel could have been written last year instead of 1938. Out of the four protagonists: The narrator, Maxim, Rebecca and the house , two are not even living and Du Maurier makes them alive. Not to mention the secondary characters, who are believably written and merit importance as well.

Without hyperbole I can safely say that Rebecca is a classic to end them all

Daphne du Maurier – My Cousin Rachel


This year (2017) I read Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca for the first time and I thought it was absolutely fantastic. I also was curious as I wondered if du Maurier’s other works lived up to THAT novel. As you can see after reading Rebecca I rushed to my local bookstore to find another one of her novels but they only had the movie tie-in version of My Cousin Rachel, generally I don’t like movie tie-in covers but I was desperate to read more of du Maurier. 

Du Maurier is a master of suspense. She likes to build up, leave clues and end her chapters in a startling way, usually revealing a character trait. There are some of these elements in My Cousin Rachel but instead of thrilling, it just felt irritating and bogged the narrative. Essentially the plot focuses on a young man who’s cousin and benefactor dies under mysterious circumstances and then his widow comes over to visit.

The novel is about obsession and is a jab at small town mechanics: gossip, rumours , village celebrations, people saving face in order to avoid being shunned and so on. By the end of the novel, the main protagonist, Philip discovers Rebecca’s true intentions, which has its own consequences but this is a slow build up and by the time I reached the last chapter I stopped caring for Philip or Rachel.

The novel is not a total dud. I like du Maurier’s writing style, I liked how neither her characters are totally good or bad. I also enjoyed the ambiguous character of Rachel. Although there clues and red herrings, we readers are not entirely sure if Rachel is a murderess or a victim of circumstance. Du Maurier is a clever writer so she pulls this off well. Like I said earlier, the tortoise paced build up and Rachel’s constant yo yoing in her decision to leave Philip’s manor just bugged me.

A disappointment but not a major one. I will be trying Jamaica Inn and maybe a lesser known novel as I still like du Maurier’s writing style and want to explore more of what she has written.