Kate does some amazing work as a volunteer at Portsmouth Library. Luckily for us, she also reads plenty of good books and writes insightful and interesting reviews of them! Here's her review of Daphne Du Maurier's 1938 novel Rebecca.
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier tells the story of a young, unnamed protagonist who meets a handsome, older gentleman, Maxim de Winter, in Monte Carlo. It is well-known that Maxim's widely adored wife Rebecca, has recently drowned at sea and the local people of Maxim's home county are devastated. The main character quickly falls in love with Maxim and the couple enter into a whirlwind marriage despite Maxim's troubled past. On arriving home to Maxim's West Country estate 'Manderley' after their honeymoon, the unnamed protagonist faces a painful struggle against the 'other woman' Rebecca, whose presence at Manderley remains overbearing even from beyond the grave. Maxim's new wife is constantly compared to Rebecca, who was loved and admired by all, and faces cruelty from the malevolent Mrs Danvers, Rebecca's old maid. As the new lady of the house, the main character struggles to adjust to Maxim's more privileged way of life and to find her own identity amongst Rebecca's legacy. However, as the story unfolds it becomes clear that Rebecca was not as angelic as people had believed her to be and her death is not as tragically accidental as it would seem...
Rebecca is an absolutely gripping and powerful novel to which any teenage girl can relate as the themes of identity crisis and competition with another woman will undoubtedly have resonance for many readers. Manderley is brilliantly depicted as the hellish gothic mansion to which the protagonist cannot adjust and it is almost a character in itself as it seems to breathe and tremble with Rebecca's haunting presence. Mrs Danvers too is a delightfully menacing character, whose devilish antics and abnormal obsession with Rebecca intensifies the gloomy atmosphere. Rebecca has something for everyone: Romance, Horror, Crime and Mystery and its delicious turn of events will leave readers astonished.
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