Even though I consider myself an avid reader, I had never read anything by Daphne du Maurier, nor had I seen Alfred Hitchcock’s version of “Rebecca”. I picked up the book on audio - a fantastic listen - and almost couldn’t get out of my car because I needed to know what happened.
From the opening sentence: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again,” I was hooked. All at once I was there, in this dream-like place, with this somewhat forlorn woman. Who was she? Why could she only dream of Manderley? And what was Manderley? As the story went on I learned Manderley was a house; a mansion, a strange, beautiful, creepy place.
The title character, Rebecca is dead when the novel opens, and yet she’s a vivid and terrifying presence throughout. Rebecca was stunningly beautiful, willful and strong; her death was mysterious. According to the evil housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, and Rebecca’s too-close cousin, Jack, the second Mrs. de Winter can’t ever measure up. Her husband Maxim’s strange aloofness does nothing to ease her fears. She is so consumed with the question of her desirability that when she finally finds out what really happened to Rebecca, her reaction is shocking.
The novel is told from the point of view of the second Mrs. de Winter who, unlike her predecessor, is never named. She is madly (maybe certifiably madly) in love with her new husband, and so she agrees to live in the house where Rebecca lived, to virtually live the life she lived. In the end, she comes to love Manderley. However, as the opening line suggests, she can never go back again.
While you’re at the library, join us on August 23 from 1 to 3 p.m. for our “Build a Better World” Carnival. Games and activities galore will be on the back lawn (weather permitting) or in the meeting room if it rains.