'Rebecca' is a romantic gothic thriller by Daphne Du Maurier and makes a wonderful book club classic, whether it’s your first reading, a re-read or because you’ve heard about the new Netflix remake starring Lily James, Armie Hammer and Kristin Scott Thomas, out this autumn. An ideal summer read for a staycation at home or by the sea, 'Rebecca' is a fabulous fast paced novel that will keep you on your toes! Definitely a page-turner in the Den.
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BY DAPHNE DU MAURIER
‘Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.’
The first line of this romantic gothic thriller will hopefully excite the senses this summer. 'Rebecca' by Daphne Du Maurier is an exquisitely written classic and makes a wonderful book club novel, whether it’s your first reading, a re-read or because you’ve heard or seen the recent Netflix remake starring Lily James, Armie Hammer and Kristin Scott Thomas. 'Rebecca' is a delicious tonic that will keep you on your toes and provide lots of fizz and sparkle!
Written in 1938 'Rebecca' is a classic that captures the experience of first love written from the perspective of a young unnamed narrator. We never know her name but we certainly learn plenty about Rebecca, the book’s namesake. Whilst working as a lady’s companion the narrator has a chance meeting with the troubled and handsome widower Maxim de Winter in a grand hotel in Monte Carlo.
After a speedy marriage they return from the Riviera to de Winter’s Manderley, an English stately home by the Coast that lives and breathes the previous Mrs de Winter. The reader is introduced to Manderley’s household of staff each with their own relationship with Rebecca, including the sinister housekeeper, Mrs Danvers, ‘a madwoman, a fanatic’ who adores her Rebecca.
Through the story-telling we live out the narrator’s dreams, hopes and fears and because the protagonist is ‘young inexperienced and not of his (de Winter’s) world’ the narrative creeps around Manderley exploring the landscape and discovering its dark twisted secrets.
Nature is a strong force in the novel setting the tone and pace. It is also rich in drama and action with ship-wrecks, murder, jealousy and unrequited love.
We loved this novel in the Den and discovered many scenes to unpick and discuss. Definitely a novel that gets better with discussion.