Rebecca

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

As I read the opening line to Rebecca a haze formed around me, the lights drifted away, the sounds of life as I know it dissipated and I fell in to the world Daphne Du Maurier created in this wonderful novel.

“It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me. There was a padlock and a chain upon the gate. I called in my dream to the lodge-keeper, and had no answer, and peering closer through the rusted spokes to the gate I saw that the lodge was uninhabited.

No smoke came from the chimney, and the little lattice windows gaped forlorn. Then, like all dreamers, I was possessed of a sudden with supernatural powers and passed like a spirit through the barrier before me.”

From Rebecca.

And I was just as lost with those opening paragraphs as I had been the first time I read Rebecca.

As a child I identified with the narrator as she stumbled her way from Monte Carlo to her new life at Manderley as the new bride of Max De Winter.

Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine from the 1940 film.

The house was a sepulchre, our fear and suffering lay buried in the ruins. There would be no resurrection. When I thought of Manderley in my waking hours I would not be bitter. I should think of it as it might have been, could I have lived there without fear. I should remember the rose-garden in summer, and the birds that sang at dawn. Tea under the chestnut tree, and the murmur of the sea coming up to us from the lawns below.

From Rebecca.

This truly is a book that everyone should read at least once in their lives. It held me as I floated along side the narrator through the pains of young love, the uncertainty of fitting in, the dark gloom of imagining yourself unworthy when compared to someone who came before.

Reminders of Rebecca are everywhere.

She was in the house still as Mrs. Danvers had said, she was in that room in the west wing, she was in the library, in the morning-room, in the gallery above the hall. Even in the little flower-room, where her mackintosh still hung. And in the garden, and in the woods, and down in the stone cottage on the beach. Her footsteps sounded in the corridors, her scent lingered on the stairs. The servants obeyed her orders still, the food we ate was the food she liked. Her favourite flowers filled the rooms. Her clothes were in the wardrobes in her room, her brushes were on the table, her shoes beneath the chair, her nightdress on her bed. Rebecca was still the mistress of Manderley.

From Rebecca.

The narrator with Mrs Danvers (the housekeeper)

But it is much more than that.

A dark gloomy horror story. Manderley itself breathes and lives and the love, the hate, the tragedy can be felt in every vase and painting, even under the trees that shade the rose garden.

Some have said that the narrator’s character is insipid. I disagree. Maybe because I know her fears.

I love this book today as much as I did back then.

As proof…I still have the original book from my first reading.

Great writing never gets old, or dated, it just floats through generations like a supernatural spirit.

Oh and BTW…the 1940 Alfred Hitchcock movie is a must see. He brings out every nuance that Du Maurier penned in to her words.

On a slightly different note…those of you who know me will understand the necessity of including this. As I Googled for images of Rebecca…well TBs are just darn well everywhere…I found this !

TBs from Supernatural. Not sure what this has to do with Rebecca…you’d need to ask Google.

This is the start of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca…not only read the book…watch the movie.

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33 thoughts on “Rebecca”

  1. I enjoyed that little clip from “Rebecca”. I used to love to watch the old movies on TCM channel when I had cable. The fashions, cars, mannerisms, etc. are history lessons of the times within themselves. I was just getting into the movie when it ended, I hope I can catch the rest on YouTube. Thank you for sharing this.

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  2. “Rebecca” is one of my all time favourites and, as I read your post, it became clear that it is also one of yours. I loved the film and think Hitchcock did a very good job keeping to the story. Laurence Oliver will always be Maxim for me no matter how many times they try and remake it. Joan Fontaine plays The Narrator,the little mouse, extremely well and the fact that her character is not given a name, adds to the effect of making her seems less of a person than Rebecca.
    Thanks for reminding me how much I love this story πŸ™‚

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    1. Glad to…I agree with you that not knowing the narrator’s name is part of what makes the story. I just absolutely loved diving in to it again as it has been a few years since I read it.

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  3. God, I haven’t read this in a hundred years. I get all woozy just seeing the picture of your book; I love books all worn like that. I have to go in search of a copy to read again. Great post. And that Laurence Olivier was such a handsome devil.

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  4. Awesome! I love watching these old movies. Well written! πŸ™‚
    Oh, Supernatural is one of my favorite seasons to watch and I have them all! hehehe

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    1. Thanks…I love them too !! Humphrey Bogart is another who provides hours of pleasure with his films. Always glad to find someone with the GOOD TASTE to watch and enjoy SUPERNATURAL AND TBs !!!!!!!!!!!

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      1. Whahahahaha! Now that is so funny! Oh yes, I can watch the old movies for ever! Then my other favorites are musicals like Sound of Music & Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews), and don’t forget Fred Astaire! I love the man! He danced right into my heart! πŸ™‚

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          1. Too late! hehehehehe! Now I have to clean my keyboard again and of course these lovely animations you are posting of Sam doesn’t help either! Whahahahaha!

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          2. Oooooh whahahahahahahah! I really laughed out loud and then my African Grey asked : “Why are you laughing?” and then he mimicks my laugh. LOL! This is adorable! Thanks hon! hehehehehe
            *hugs*

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  5. Rebecca is one of the rare books that made me dive back into my love for reading as I was slowly falling away from it… I’m so grateful to Du Maurier for that! And I savoured this book as long as I could. Great post to honour such a writing masterpiece!

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    1. For me Rebecca has always been a defining moment…where I understood what great writing was. How it can create a doorway for you to step away from your existence and walk with the characters.

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  6. Yes, such a great opening, and the book still has me gripped however many times I read it. I heard it first at school. There was a public speaking competition, and during one lesson we were allowed to hear some of the girls reading. Liddy Oldroyd, who later went on to work in television and produced, among other things, Drop the Dead Donkey, read the opening paragraphs and I was mesmerised. I have never forgotten it.
    Liddy died from cancer several years ago.

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    1. I am so sorry to hear about your sad associated memories with this story…but how wonderful that you remember that Liddy was responsible for your love affair with this story. Thank you so much Isobel for sharing that with me. {{{hugs}}}

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  7. Hmmmm…..never read the book or saw the movie, but it looks like something I would enjoy. Thanks for the inspiration, and TY very much for the awesome quick clips of Sam. πŸ˜€ I was giggling at each new one. (love the silly dance one)

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    1. He is such a silly boy…but yummy to boot. Hard to imagine he will be a Daddy soon…lucky baby !!!

      So here is one just for you !!

      Oh well…while I am at it …here is one of Dean too !!!

      I am sure YOU would love this book !!!!!!

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  8. Wow, Jo! Great review; pictures always make everything better. I’ve been meaning to read Rebecca forever. It’s listed in the anthology “1001 books you must read before you die.” I’ve been working my way through the list and even started a book club 3 years ago that reads the titles with me. Based on your review, I am reminded of Jane Eyre a bit, but especially of Brideshead Revisisted (another great and under appreciated novel). I will add Rebecca on GoodReads and make sure I list you as my recommender. Also Rebecca is the name of my my mom and also my best friend. Can’t go wrong there πŸ˜‰

    Emlyn

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    1. Just so long as they are not like the Rebecca of Manderley. πŸ™‚
      Thanks for saying how much you enjoyed this and the tweet…
      You must get to it as soon as possible. It really is one of the books on my GREAT list.
      Oh ‘Brideshead Revisited’…now that brings back memories. How I love that story. I first saw it on TV. Anthony Andrews as Sebastian Flyte had me mezmerised with his portrayal and so out I went to find myself a copy of this tale and the love affair began that still continues to this date. I recently watched the 2008 movie with trepidation…would it still have the magic, and would they be able to capture the essence in such a short time…I was pleasantly surprised.
      Thankfully Ben Wishaw (Sebastion) did a great portrayal…

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