Review: Rebecca

by Daphne du Maurier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rebecca / 0-380-77855-6

"Rebecca" is not your typical romance novel; indeed, it often feels more like a mystery novel, with the heroine often just on the cusp of discovering a terrible secret. DuMarier's writing is superb and keeps the reader constantly on edge, carefully maintaining the central conceit of the novel: the heroine's husband, Maxim, remembers his deceased wife Rebecca in a much different light than how the heroine sees her. DuMarier wonderfully utilizes secondary characters to provide valuable allies and frightening enemies as the narrator steps carefully along the labyrinthine mystery she has inadvertently married into.

Frustratingly, and yet fittingly, DuMarier has chosen to strip the narrator of a name; she has no identity in this new world, except as Rebecca's successor - a sort of "not-Rebecca", for better or for worse. Allies, friends, enemies, and relatives never seem to truly see HER - they can only judge the difference between her and Rebecca. Even the narrator eventually internalizes this attitude, turning the novel into something of a cautionary tale: a warning against surrendering your self-image to those around you who would define and judge you.

~ Ana Mardoll

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