Book - 1939
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At the great Cornwall estate of Manderley, Maxim de Winter and his frightened new wife try to live with the haunting legacy of Maxim's first wife, the beautiful and cold Rebecca, who died in a sailing accident.
Publisher: London : Gollancz, 1939.
Branch Call Number: FICTION
Characteristics: 446 p ;,21 cm.


From Library Staff

(1938). In the suspense romance style, this is a classic gothic tale of mystery and love. At the great Cornwall estate of Manderley, Maxim de Winter and his frightened new wife try to live with the haunting legacy of Maxim's first wife, the beautiful and cold Rebecca, who died in a sailing accide... Read More »

If you like your romances dark, full of mystery with a touch of crime then this Gothic classic is for you! A naïve young woman is whisked away to a mysterious country estate by an even more mysterious male suitor, she hastily marries him but soon discovers that things aren't all as they seem. A p... Read More »

A classic in the realms of gothic literature, certain editions of this book also join the ranks of gothic novels where the cover features a woman in a nightgown lost out in the dark while looking back over her shoulder at an ominous mansion with a single lit window. (seriously, Google it, it’s a ... Read More »

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May 16, 2021

I saw the 1940 movie as a child and watched it again lately, after watching the latest version with Lily James. Then I decided I had to finally read the book, that for some reason I had not read yet. Well, I had high expectations, but overall I was slightly disappointed. Some sections are long and frankly boring and I could not like the protagonist, the unnamed narrator. Her self-doubting and constant desire to emulate and at the same time erase Rebecca were not for me. The narrator seems to me to be highly unreliable, because she doesn't seem to be able to make up her mind: does she want to be herself, someone who is not Rebecca and who cannot and should not imitate her, or does she rather aspire to identify with Rebecca, to be Rebecca incarnate again? And, above all, I cannot comprehend how she can so easily forgive Maxim, a murderous and hypocrite privileged member of patriarchy. I suppose she doesn't have much of a choice: what is she going to do, should she leave Maxim? Of course, some of my criticism is simply due to the different times I was raised in. In conclusion, I found this novel interesting but definitely overrated.

May 01, 2021

The beginning of this book is extremely slow and not much happens for the first half or so; the rest of it is much better, but whether or not it's worth sitting through the beginning is up to personal opinion. I will say to its credit that I ended up enjoying this book more than I expected at the outset.

Apr 08, 2021

It was an ok read; the suspense was slow to come and fast to go.

JCLHelenH Mar 17, 2021

The Original Gone Girl.

Mar 15, 2021

Rebecca, according to her husband Max, who murdered her, was a monster. A sexual monster, just as Rochester in "Jane Eyre" reported his first wife to be.
Jane Eyre and the unnamed heroine of "Rebecca" both believe the men, and both the maligned wives end up dead.
Max de Winter (though not Rochester) could have divorced his wife, if only he hadn't been a social coward as well as a murderer: he was afraid of what people would say!
Not a very convincing justification for murder, but Mrs Nameless Second Wife was convinced. All that was important to her, we're asked to believe, is that Max never loved Rebecca! A little murder is nothing in comparison! Surely we all agree on that!
After that comes the incredible, fortuitous story of Rebecca's terminal cancer, and her taunting Max into killing her - way out of character for a woman who wanted to do everything HER way, not to mention that imminent death might have shocked even Rebecca into different ways of thinking and behaving.
But no - Rebecca was a monster, end of story.
All turns out to Max's and his second wife's benefit, except that the frightening Mrs Danvers, the housekeeper who idolized Rebecca, apparently burned down Max's family home Manderley before fleeing, leaving the happy couple to a peripatetic life of second-rate hotels in nameless cities. (Why???)
Oh well, no explanation necessary! Max in a good mood is all Mrs Nameless wants, and all Max wants is endless cricket matches.
It seems even more of an anticlimax than "Reader, I married him."

Dec 10, 2020

I'm not sure whom to contact, but the Kindle version appears to not be downloadable (Amazon gives me an error regardless of which device I've tried to download the Kindle version from).

Nov 22, 2020

I enjoyed the book but it took a little while to get in to it. The movie is a good copy of the story but the endings are different.

Nov 13, 2020

This is another 'classic' that I just don't get...
The people are boring. B O R I N G. "Yes."
Then again, I do like adoring puppies. A lot.
It's England in its final spasm of feudalism/classism.

Aug 11, 2020

First few chapters made me want to put the book down and never want to pick it up again but I am glad I forced myself to read it because it picks up and made me not want to put it down. I found my heart pounding Anticipating what was to happen next with Maxim. Worth the read.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Aug 06, 2020

While I don't think the "stand by your man" elements of this novel stand up, the ripples from this gothic tale are far reaching canonically. Lots of possible re-interest in this book with the ascendency of the twisty mystery genre. Glad I reread.

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Jun 25, 2020

shudson118 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

May 05, 2010

mbazal thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


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EPLPicks_Teen Apr 07, 2010

The second Mrs. Maxim de Winter enters the home of her mysterious and enigmatic new husband and learns the story of the house's first mistress, to whom the sinister housekeeper is unnaturally devoted.

May 20, 2009

The story concerns a woman who marries an English nobleman and returns with him to Manderley, his country estate. There, she finds herself haunted by reminders of his first wife, Rebecca, who died in a boating accident less than a year earlier. In this case, the haunting is psychological, not physical: Rebecca does not appear as a ghost, but her spirit affects nearly everything that takes place at Manderley. The narrator, whose name is never divulged, is left with a growing sense of distrust toward those who loved Rebecca, wondering just how much they resent her for taking Rebecca's place. In the final chapters, the book turns into a detective story, as the principal characters try to reveal or conceal what really happened on the night Rebecca died.


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Sep 02, 2011

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.

May 05, 2010

"They were all fitting into place, the jig-saw pieces. The odd strained shapes that I had tried to piece together with my fumbling fingers and they had never fitted. Frank's odd manner when I spoke about Rebecca. Beatrice and her rather diffident negative attitude. The silence that I had always taken for sympathy and regret was a silence born of shame and embarrassment. It seemed incredible to me now that I had never understood. I wondered how many people there were in the world who suffered, and continued to suffer, because they could not break out from their own web of shyness and reserve, and in their blindness and folly built up a great wall in front of them that hid the truth. This was what I had done. I had built up false pictures in my mind and sat before them. I had never had the courage to demand the truth. Had I made one step forward out of my own shyness Maxim would have told these things four months, five months ago."


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