Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

20 Sep

rebecca.jpg I’m going to experiment with something here on my blog and see how it goes. I recently heard from a  friend who used to be in my book club but has since moved to another state. She hasn’t been able to garner enough interest to start a book club in her area and misses having intellectual conversations about books. So for her sake (and for anyone else who would like to participate,) I’m going to post what I’m currently reading with my book club. Feel free to read along with us and post insightful comments here.  Rebecca is the read for September so if you have any thoughts on it, I’d love to hear them. (And just to give you a head’s up–The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova is the read for October.)


5 Responses to “Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier”

  1. DianaB September 22, 2007 at 10:35 am #

    I read Rebecca more than 10 years ago (probably closer to 15) and haven’t yet had a chance to re-read or skim through it again. My mother-in-law “stole” it the last time she was here so my copy isn’t even in the state right now. Anyway, what I remember from that first read is that I didn’t want to put the book down and that my heart was beating at an increased pace almost through the entire read. If I recall correctly, although nothing overtly scary or bad happens, I was scared, and scared for the protagonist until the conclusion. So, I thought that Ms. Du Maurier did well creating an atmosphere of fear and tension, allowing the reader feel the fear that the character was feeling without using any horror-movieesque scenes.

  2. shelb September 27, 2007 at 8:11 am #

    I was sad I missed the discussion.
    I found the first half of the book held a much slower pace than the second half (I think the first half took me two weeks to read and the second half a day). There were several times I wanted to pull the mc and her husband into a room and just say “Talk. When you have this resolved you can come out.” 🙂 Their lack of communication frustrated me.
    The second half of the book really built in suspense for me. But again I was troubled. Several times I found myself rooting for the murderer and having to stop and say. “Wait, what’s right?” She did a great job of characterization…making the reader (or this one) want the husband to find happiness and building several antagonists that seemed the greater of the two evils (Rebecca especially). Again, this was a moral debate for me that I struggled with.
    I ended up going back to reread the first two chapters after I’d finished the book. At the beginning, Daphne created the setting so well with her visual imagery, however I didn’t catch that the description of Manderley as a shell because it had been burned but rather a shell because it had been abandoned by those who loved it. I thought that it was interesting to reread that part and see where I’d allowed myself to be misdirected. Was it just me?
    Anyway, I enjoyed the book and wish I could have participated in the discussion. Let me know what I missed and if my thoughts were different than the rest of the groups.
    Also, after I began reading this, I came across a website about some of her work throughout her life. I found it an interesting coincidence.
    🙂 See you next month for The Historian.

  3. brainymama September 27, 2007 at 10:04 am #


    We missed you at book club Tuesday night. I had to leave early so I missed out on the full discussion. (But I got a piece of Kerry’s delicous apple/pear crisp with vanilla ice cream! Yum!) As I was leaving, Julianne was reading her “want list” (based on the book). It started with a morning room and ended with a back stairway leading up into the kitchen. I asked her to post her list here on my blog.

    I’m still only halfway through the book. I got bogged down with school work, I guess (and maybe the pace of the first half, too.) I love the book so far and I’m definately planning to finish it before the end of September. I’ll post my thoughts here soon.

  4. shelb September 27, 2007 at 10:39 am #

    Hope I didn’t give too many spoilers here. I didn’t realize you hadn’t finished reading it. Enjoy it!

  5. brainymama October 9, 2007 at 2:02 pm #

    I finished Rebecca on the 2nd of October and absolutely loved it! I thought the book was well written and I’m still thinking about it! I couldn’t figure out why I was rooting for Maxim either or why I wasn’t worried more for the protagonist. I just wanted the two of them to be happy! The author really does a good job of making you sympathize with both characters.

    I have two Rebecca movies I’m watching right now–the 1940 Alfred Hitchcock version with Laurence Oliver and Joan Fontaine and the 2003 Exxon Mobil Masterpiece Theatre version. I couldn’t help cracking up in places in the 1940 version because of the overdramatic music but overall, I thought it was pretty well done. I find it interesting that the costume and period details feel more authentic to me in the 2003 version even though the 1940’s version was made closer to the actual time period of the book. The actors in the 1940’s version are better looking and the actress that played Ms. Danvers was particularly convincing.

    The 2003 version is better in the sense that the age difference between Maxim and the second Mrs. De Winter is more apparent. The actress that plays the second Mrs. De Winter is perfect for the role. Unfortunately, the actor that plays Maxim is not that attractive. He’s got freckles (or maybe they’re age spots), a big nose, faded blue eyes, and thinning hair–not exactly how I visualized Maxim but oh well!

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