Flashback Friday: Rebecca

ffbutton2Flashback Friday is a weekly tradition started here at Bookshelf Fantasies, focusing on showing some love for the older books in our lives and on our shelves. If you’d like to join in, just pick a book published at least five years ago, post your Flashback Friday pick on your blog, and let us all know about that special book from your reading past and why it matters to you. Don’t forget to link up!

This week on Flashback Friday:

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Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
(published 1938)

 Synopsis (Goodreads):

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

 

This week, I’m writing about a book that’s fresh in my mind, as I just read Rebecca two weeks ago while on vacation. I first read Rebecca over 20 years ago, and have been meaning to go back to it for quite some time.

The rereading experience can be so interesting! I realized early on that I had only the vaguest of memories about the overall plot, although if you’d asked me before I started reading, I’d have said that I remembered it fairly well. Not true! In fact, I completely misremembered what the climax of the story was. In my mind, the story culminated in an emotional proclamation from Max de Winter (I’m avoiding specifics, so as not to be spoilery for anyone who hasn’t read Rebecca yet) — but in fact, what I had in mind was actually only a midpoint before the mystery/thriller elements that comprise the remainder of the book.

I think part of the problem was that, in my mind, I’d somehow smooshed together the plots of Jane Eyre and Rebecca, and so expected something really different than what I got… not that that’s a bad thing!

I loved rereading Rebecca. Daphne du Maurier is a brilliant writer, I loved the phrasing, the evocative descriptions, the nuanced conversations and social niceties. I was initially quite annoyed by the nameless main character, who spends the first half of the book acting like a complete ninny and living in a fantasy world, never getting a spine or asking important questions. Still, it was interesting to see her evolve and to understand the twisted emotions that finally allowed her to feel confidence in her marriage and her place in the world.

A deeply dark and strange psychological thriller, Rebecca is considered a 20th century classic for good reason! I can’t wait to read more by du Maurier, and plan to start with Jamaica Inn in the near future.

What flashback book is on your mind this week?

Note from your friendly Bookshelf Fantasies host: To join in the Flashback Friday fun:

  • Grab the Flashback Friday button
  • Post your own Flashback Friday entry on your blog (and mention Bookshelf Fantasies as the host of the meme, if you please!)
  • Leave your link in the comments below
  • Check out other FF posts… and discover some terrific hidden gems to add to your TBR piles!

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