Rebecca

What makes a rediscovered classic worthy of a review on Earth, Wit and Style? It needs to be a book that no matter how long ago it was written leaves you immersed in that world once you have turned the last page. A book that paints pictures in your mind and creates characters that stay with you forever.

Rebecca quite definitely ticks all these boxes. A lot has been said about Rebecca since it was first published in 1938, described as a chilling suspenseful gothic romance.

For me this was a book that covered every genre and emotion. Starting with a fairytale romance between the poor orphaned ladies companion and the dashing widower, whisking her about Monte Carlo in his sports car. This is followed by the return to Manderley, a glorious house overlooking the sea based on Daphne Du Mauriers own piece of heaven in Cornwall and taking me back to my own childhood holidays spent in Devon. So beautifully written you can almost smell the rhododendrons on the road to Manderley, And then it gradually becomes more and more sinister and suspenseful reminiscent of Jane Eyre in Thornfield Hall. It builds to a series of totally unexpected twists and turns. Indeed when the book was made into a film in 1940 by the master of phsycolgical thrillers, Alfred Hitchcock,  the plot was slightly altered to appear less shocking to its audience.

Many critics have written off Du Maurier but Rebecca is a masterpiece, as gripping today as I’m sure it was 79 years ago.

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