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Daphne du Maurier

average rating is 5 out of 5

Classics, Romance, Gothic, Psychological, Thriller

R. Alex Jenkins

No exaggeration, Rebecca is one of the best books ever written and ever read, not always the most gripping, but for personal reasons that I can't express here, we all have them, it hits an emotional cord like a ton of bricks. The impact is astounding.

At the risk of sounding gushy, Rebecca is easily as good as anything I have read by Jane Austin or George Eliot.

You don't often get me tearing up after 60% because I know how you feel as a woman, even as a man, at the loss and hopelessness that nothing you do makes any difference. There are twists and turns at the end and it comes full circle in a beautiful and satisfying way, but the main showdown between Mrs. de Winter and Mrs. Danvers knocked me emotionally for six.

Rebecca is a masterpiece of gorgeously lovely sentiments and writing, an ability that only the most skillful authors have at expressing day-to-day events as essential reading.

You know those books where you're constantly looking at the 'time left in chapter' or 'percentage read', pushing yourself forward? In Rebecca I'd be happy to stay on the same page for an hour, rereading the sentences over and over again just to make sure of every word.

It's a wonderful experience and I can't imagine going through life and not having read this book. That would be a catastrophe!

If you've lost anyone, felt emotion or loved someone in any way, please read this book. I implore you. Please don't ignore Rebecca as soppy romance or dismissable classic literature. It's not. It's sinister, dark and psychological. If you still haven't read Rebecca, take a pause on your latest disposable reads, ARCs and Netgalley-type promotions, and treat yourself to this.

Apparently, bluebells don't make for good picking because they start to wilt almost immediately; on the other hand, roses look fresher than the real thing when cut and put in vases.

Classified in some circles as feminism (I don't think it is) there's an underlying dualism in Rebecca that properly comes to light once you've read it. It has transgender, anti-subservience and split personality overtones that are still relevant today. It's very intense and strangely autobiographical, with the main character called de Winter, as opposed to du Maurier.

Rebecca made me feel lonely, anxious and untethered like a kite without a string. Strangely, we never discover the name of the main protagonist, always referred to as Mrs. de Winter, suggesting that she's unimportant, controlled and dismissed as the little bride, whereas the dead wife, the dominating and free-spirited Rebecca, is still the master of the house. The genius is making the main character, the narrator, completely insignificant as she lives in the shadows, with no authority, fearful of the servants and what they think about her, becoming more paranoid, nervous and unaware of what she wants, whereas Rebecca - a year dead - is the focus of the story, which is perhaps du Maurier's scary way of stating that life isn't fair or balanced and rather messed up.

Everyone behaves in such a peculiar way. There's a big secret and you're kept guessing, incorrectly, until the end in this gothic, haunting and sinister book. It's mental illness, surely? Or a secret devil-worshipping cult in the background?

You'll have to read Rebecca and find out. Yes, it's romantic, dramatic and old-fashioned in places, but such a great story and so emotional.

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