Classic Gothic Tale to Give-away

It is thanks to Jo at The Book Jotter that I have now read Rebecca, after she offered copies to readers on World Book Night, one of the conditions being to pass the book on, so what better reason to offer the book as a give-away  If you would like to enter the draw, just make a comment and leave an email address so I can contact you after the draw on Wednesday November 7. You can also assist in selecting the books that will be offered free in the US and the UK for World Book Night 2013 by clicking on the link and nominating your favourite book(s).

View from the Musée d’Oceanographie, Monaco

As a quiet companion to a wealthy dowager in Monte Carlo, it was hard to imagine how this young woman, who remains unnamed throughout the novel, was going to elevate her station in life by any other means than some chance encounter – and indeed Mrs Van Hopper’s convenient two-week malady provides exactly the opportunity that would likely otherwise never have occurred.

There was nothing for it but to sit in my usual place beside Mrs Van Hopper while she,  like a large,complacent spider, spun her  wide net of tedium about the stranger’s person.

And with the change of location from the calm, sun-filled vistas of Monaco and Italy, we arrive at Manderley, the grand estate of many rooms, corridors, wings, ritual, tradition and an established staff, all haunted by memories, both real and imagined of the previous Mrs de Winter, Rebecca.

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.

In Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier has created an extraordinary character who though never physically present, seems to affect everyone from the dog to the most loyal and disturbing housekeeper, Mrs Danvers to the slightly demented grandmother.

The new bride quickly comes to realise how different she is to her predecessor and perhaps being so young is therefore prone to exaggerated imaginings which add to her feeling of insecurity. All of which does make one wish someone would sit her down for a moment and explain exactly what is what, her sister-in-law comes close, but never quite stays long enough to enlighten her young sister-in-law – although that vivid imagination and neurotic behaviour do add to the suspense and excruciating discomfort of someone who feels most out of place in her new world.

Daphne du Maurier

Du Maurier herself was living in Alexandria at the time she wrote Rebecca and was said to have felt uncomfortable with her life and obligations as the wife of a commanding officer, entertaining other wives while surviving the fierce heat of an Egyptian summer.

Both woman in the novel reflect aspects of du Maurier’s own complex character and the duality of her natural inward inclination versus the more extrovert role she was required to play. No doubt these experiences she was living through on a daily basis continued to feed her imagination and enrich the two female characters who really did seem to have little in common, the author giving away few clues as to why Maxim could have married two such opposite types of women.

Intrigue, tradition, a grand estate, a young naïve protagonist with an over active imagination, all contribute to a fascinating and compelling read – a classic that continues to enthrall readers as much today as it did in 1938 when it was first published, not to mention a Hitchcock film!

Don’t forget to leave a comment and your email address if you would like to enter the draw to receive this copy.

Do you have a Daphne du Maurier favourite?

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18 thoughts on “Classic Gothic Tale to Give-away

  1. Oh Rebecca has long been my favourite Daphne de Maurier novel, though I do remember enjoying My Cousin Rachel and Frenchman’s Creek also. It would be lovely to re-read Rebecca, and since I have already passed on my own copy many years ago, what a lovely prize this would be! Excellent review as usual, picking up and highlighting many of the novel’s nuances often otherwise missed.

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  2. Helas I haven’t read anything by Daphne du Maurier! Bad girl am I but my TBR list has been frowing thanks to you Claire among other people. Really I really would like to finally read Rebecca and even more now after reading your thorough and intriguing review. 🙂

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  3. I love Rebecca — can’t believe you haven’t read it before now! Another one of hers that I like is Don’t Look Now, a chilling story set in Venice and made into an atmospheric movie starring Donald Sutherland. Don’t enter me in the draw for Rebecca because I have a copy.

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  4. I first read Rebecca about fifteen years ago, when I was in a real classic Gothic phase. I loved it and read other classic Gothic novels including Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Northanger Abbey. These days, when the wind blusters around me and I feel in the mood for a Gothic novel, I’ve turned towards the contemporary ones, but I do think it’s time for a classic reread. Please enter me in the contest! Thanks! My email is theteatimereader@gmail.com.

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  5. I have yet to have the pleasure of reading Du Maurier. That said, you have whetted my curiosity! I think a good Gothic novel is perfect for a night like tonight when the wind is whipping furiously and I can hear the rain pelting against the windows! 🙂

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  6. I have read 5 of Du Maurier and I count Frenchman Creek as my favourite. I love the notion of being free and swept away without a care in the world and sail!

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  7. Pingback: and the winner is … « Word by Word

  8. Rebecca is on my TBR pile for the Classcis Club Challenge. I have read so many wonderful reviews of the novel that I just have to read it. What I find striking from the reviews is that this nameless second wife of Maxim could not fill the shoes of Rebecca. And indeed, as I commented on one or two posts, in Management the name Rebecca has become synonymous with the organisational and management style of managers or superiors who are not able to delegate duties to their subordinats so that in their absence the subordinates are found wanting and cannot put on Rebecca’s Apparell. I studied organisatinal beahviour at one time and had always wondered about this term Rebecca’s Apparell. Now I know. 🙂

    Great review, Claire. 🙂

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  9. Pingback: Book Review | ‘The Doll and Other Stories’ by Daphne Du Maurier « Wordly Obsessions

  10. Pingback: Top Reads 2012 | Word by Word

  11. Rebecca is one of my favorite. I loved as well “the doll and other short stories” where I thought sometimes after some stories “du maurier, what a genius this woman” and I am currently reading other short stories that are equally good. She was a really great author for me and not read enough!!

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      • Great!Which short stories are you you going to read? I am looking forward to read your reviews on it!!!!

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      • From the one I know there is “the doll and other short stories” (read it), the bird and other stories (did’t read it) and the breaking point, published also as the blue lenses and other short stories (that I am reading now). I don’t know if there are others.

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      • I will let you know when I find out. Am excited to know now, oh I am envious of your commute. I only get to read at night, but occasionally during the day I steal a half hour here and there to hand write reviews and always take the kindle with me just in case I have a little free time – on between rdv’s my time is my own 🙂

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      • ha ha yes my commute helps a lot for reading and now that I have my licence, things might change in the next few months (not ready for the motorway yet). But think of the fact that it is time not spent at home as well. Good luck for finding the time 🙂

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