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This story follows the main character as she spontaneously finds herself becoming the second Mrs. De Winter, her experiences as she uncovers the dark secrets of her new husband's past, and the presence of his first wife, who continues to haunt them beyond the grave.
I was nervous when I started this book. So many other readers and reviewers who I greatly respect have sung the many praises of this book. Like every hyped-up book I read, I was afraid that I would get my hopes up too high and become extremely disappointed if it didn't live up to them. However, I'm very pleased to say that Rebecca most definitely lived up to every bit of the hype and then some.
I was also afraid this was going to turn out to be a ghost story. I have a hard time enjoying scary types of books, but this book surprised me. It turned out to be more of a mystery thriller than a creepy ghost story. From the moment you meet Maximilian De Winter, you're trying to piece together what truly happened to Rebecca.
I really liked the fact that the main character, the second Mrs. De Winter, remained anonymous throughout the whole book. The narration was told in her point of view, and since you never find out her real name or who she really is, it makes you feel like you are her as you're reading. You relate with her and feel what she feels as you're figuring out the mystery of Manderley with her.
The other characters were intriguing as well. You never know exactly who to trust or who to like. Some of my favorite scenes were those with Mrs. Danvers, she was shady and untrustworthy, but she was passionate. When she would get angry I could practically see her going on her tirades. Frank and Bee were some of my other favorites.
The pacing of the book was nice. Daphne Du Maurier's writing is so fluid and smooth, you don't care at all if the story goes slowly or not. However, once the ending hits and secrets start slipping out, the plot quickly becomes a speeding rollercoaster of crazy emotions. There were many plot twists I didn't even see coming, and I'm usually shockingly good at guessing plot twists.
This was truly a curl-up-with-a-cup-of-tea-and-a-mountain-of-pillows-on-a-rainy-day kind of read. It's suspenseful, and moody, and dark, and Daphne Du Maurier's descriptions of Manderley are drop dead gorgeous! It's a beautiful gothic novel that I will most definitely be picking this one up again someday soon.
I suppose sooner or later in the life of everyone comes a moment of trial. We all of us have our particular devil who rides us and torments us, and we must give battle in the end. --Daphne Du Maurier