This month Read or Die read Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. This book is considered a classic. I haven’t read a ton of classics to be honest. Mostly because I prefer my sci-fi/fantasy books. This book starts out very slowly. I didn’t give myself a ton of time to read it, and I was a little concerned when it took me 5 minutes to get through 2 pages. Then things picked up rather quickly and this book proved that it is a classic for a reason. It has suspense, drama, intrigue, and warped love. What more do you want?
It starts with our heroine (her name is never used) reflecting on her youth. We cut to her as a young woman working for an old gossipy lady as her companion for $90/year. A simpler time. This lady kind of makes a fool of herself all over, but she is still respected with other socialites. They are staying at a hotel in Monte Carlo, and our heroine is embarrassed by her companions behavior. Then everything changes when Maxim de Winter comes to stay at Monte Carlo. Despite being twice her age they still hit it off quickly and have a bit of a whirlwind romance. When her employer wants to leave rather suddenly to go back to New York to be with her daughter our heroine is faced with a choice, go with her employer or stay with Max. She being quite young and having very low self esteem doesn’t realize that Max is interested in her, even though in her mind she is already in Love with him. She goes to say goodbye and then he proposes to her and she says yes. In a rather quick turn of events he marries her and then whisks her away to his mansion called Manderley.
After they get to Manderley is when things get interesting. This big creepy house is now her home, and she has no idea what she is doing. Max who seemed like an attentive husband while they are abroad, now is kind of withdrawn and distant. Our heroine, who grew up rather poor, now has to figure out how to run an old english mansion without much help. Also some of the staff are actively working against her. The house is presented as a character in the novel itself which is really interesting. Some of my favorite parts of the book were when the author was describing the house and the rooms within it. While at Manderley there are a couple of twists during the book. I won’t spoil them for you, because I genuinely think this is a classic worth reading, and i was totally taken off guard by the twists.
While none of the characters were really likable, they were definitely interesting. Which are my favorite kind of characters anyway. What I really enjoyed the authors depiction of our heroine being in her own head. Often our heroine is in her own head and creating this delusional scenarios and instances that are pretty far away from the actual real world. I can totally relate to this, because I am pretty much always imagining scenarios that will never happen in real life. I thought it was a pretty accurate depiction about how that is in my own life. Everyone in the book club enjoyed this book despite its rather slow start, we all thought it picked up and was interesting until the end.
As always at our book club Rachel at By the Pounds totally spoiled us with an awesome Tea Party theme. She made beet toast, watercress sandwiches, chocolate and coconut scones (recipe coming soon), and a drink called the Manderley Fog which is her take on a London Fog and it has brandy in it! Needless to say it was delicious and I highly recommend you go check it out right now. Seriously Rachel is amazing and all of her recipes and cocktails are worth checking out, not to mention she always makes the best stuff for bookclub #ourbookclubisbetterthanyours.
Our next book is The Milagro Beanfield Wars by John Nichols and Rini Templeton. If you want to read along with us.
Let me know if you’ve read Rebecca and what you thought in the comments!