After completing my Weekly Reads post on Monday, I quickly got to work finishing Rebecca. It was over much quicker than expected. It was a bittersweet moment when I realized the last 30 or so pages were the Author’s Note. Of course, I excitedly read the Author’s Note, and, while I appreciated the ending of Rebecca, it was just over a quicker than planned.
As I reflected on the book today, I also started the short We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. It made me think about the length of a story and its depth. I’m not far enough into Castle to know if it’s too short or not deep enough, but I’ve definitely read books that were too short and some that were too long with writing that should have been cut to tell a better story. I don’t believe a single word should be cut from Rebecca. At almost 400 pages, I believe there’s still an economy of words that tells a thoroughly intriguing story. Without the extra bits, the story wouldn’t have the suspense or the creepiness it has.
With all that said, it probably goes without saying that I loved this book. But let me tell you more about my love. I was riveted; I wanted nothing more than to have a few spare minutes to read this book. A 12-hour round trip to my parent’s house this weekend provided plenty of time to read. One aspect of the book that kept my attention was the general iciness that lent a creepy air. I could just picture Mrs. Danvers’ and Mrs. de Winter’s confrontations with a sharp chill between the two.
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” – Page 1
“A new confidence had been born in me when I burnt that page and scattered the fragments. The past would not exist for either of us, we were starting afresh, he and I.” – Page 61
“I had an uneasy feeling we might be asked to spend the approaching Christmas with Beatrice. Perhaps I could have influenza.” – Page 181
“Sometimes I wonder if she comes back here to Manderley and watches you and Mr. de Winter together.” – Page 176
Writing 5 out of 5 stars
As I said above, there wasn’t a word wasted in creating an icy atmosphere that also really fit the period.
Character Development 5 out of 5 stars
A character that grows, changes or shows his/her faults is a realistic character. du Maurier excellently developed her characters throughout the story.
Plot Structure 5 out of 5 stars
Starting at the end, the main portion of the book is a flashback to a matter of months in the narrator’s life. I always think that using this format is in and of itself interesting. The story also builds to a climax that’s relatively unexpected.
Storytelling 5 out of 5 stars
du Maurier proves herself to be an excellent storyteller with this book. The story itself is intriguing, but it’s also told in a fascinating way.
Total 5 out of 5 stars
Have you read Rebecca? What were your thoughts?
6 thoughts on “Book Review: Rebecca”
I read both Rebecca and We Have Always Lived in the Castle over the summer, and I adored both. Jackson is a master of the novella and DuMaurier was certainly a master of the novel. I thought both works were “just right” in length. Can’t wait to find out what you think of Castle!
Yes! They are just the right length. So far I’m enjoying Castle.
I can’t rave about Rebecca quite as much as you and Andi, although I did enjoy it. There was something about it that kept me at arm’s length – maybe I couldn’t believe enough of it? Or care enough?
But Du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel was another matter entirely! I devoured it. I adored it! It made me rage and fume and feel so many contradictory feelings that it will take several re-readings to process properly 🙂
I wonder if it was the iciness of the book that held you at arm’s length. Oh, well. One of the fun things about books is the fact that we don’t have to all agree and like the same one.
I’m going to add My Cousin Rachel to my to read list. You make it sound like it could be a winner!
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