Saturday, 29 February 2020

Rebecca


"I'm afraid it does not concern me very much what Mrs de Winter used to do ... I am Mrs de Winter now you know."

My favourite moment in Rebecca is when the second Mrs de Winter finally decides to call the shots at Manderley ordering the morning room windows to be opened, the dead flowers to be taken away and crossing out Mrs Danvers' cold menu and demanding hot food in the dining room.

From that moment she rises in power and the novel is no longer a 'study in jealousy' as Daphne Du Maurier called it.  Whether Maxim de Winter is worth it is another question.  He is difficult to like and how much of his account is true?  In fact, one of the most perceptive characters in the novel, the deeply unpleasant Jack Favell, Rebecca's cousin, is much more convincing that Maxim and gets some of the best dialogue, too.

I rather like this overblown cover featuring the red rhododendrons which grow at Manderley and symbolise danger.  Interesting too, that the azaleas which also feature in the novel as Rebecca's favourite flower are highly toxic.

However many times you reread Rebecca the novel never loses its power and Manderley never loses its charm with the sloping lawns that lead down to the sea, the 'safe' west wing overlooking the rose garden and the ominous east wing showing glimpses of the sea from the landing and bedrooms. 

Any recommendations for a really good biography of Daphne Du Maurier?

6 comments:

Cath said...

I read Rebecca as a teenager and have not reread it since. I really must as I can hardly remember a thing about it and that's a real shame. Plus, I *know* I would get a lot more out of it now that I'm (much) older.

Nicola said...

I think you would like it particularly because it has a strong element of crime and detection in it and it leaves you guessing.

Cosy Books said...

I was interested to see how you got on with this book, Nicola. My Cousin Rachel drove me crazy and caused far too much eye-rolling. One day a copy of Rebecca showed up on the discard bookshelf at the library. I decided to bring it home because it's a favourite with so many but it's been languishing for years. One of these days.....

A Bookish Way of Life said...

I've never read Rebecca, but I have heard so many wonderful things about it. I'm thinking perhaps this will be the year to finally tackle it. Sounds like such an interesting story. I'm glad you posted about it and that cover of your copy was so vivid. Thanks :)

Vintage Reading said...

Cosy Books, I used to love My Cousin Rachel when I was younger, but less so nowadays. The magic of Rebecca never fades, though. I think you would love it as you read a lot of 1930's novels. Do post, if you do read it!

Bookish, you must! It twists and turns and keeps you hooked. Yes, I usually prefer a subtle cover but with Rebecca, gothic works!

Lark said...

Rebecca is my favorite Daphne du Maurier book. There's just something about it that pulls me in every time. :)