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“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” This simple declaration begins the unforgettable tale of a young bride, her darling husband, his charming home, and his impressive, vivacious, gorgeous—and deceased—first wife. Our nameless narrator is an almost impossibly naïve girl barely out of school, but that’s charm enough to captivate aristocratic Maxim de Winter, and the young lady is over the moon that a man so rich and distinguished should take any notice of her. Soon the newlyweds are installed in the ancestral de Winter manor, where the new Mrs. de Winter is expected to run the household with smooth competence. And though the timid young lass does her utmost best, she can’t help but feel overwhelmed by her husband’s busy and important schedule, the wealth and status of her new position, the sly manipulations of the sinister housekeeper Mrs. Danvers, and above all, the long dark shadow cast by the first mistress of Manderley, the impeccable Rebecca de Winter. If our in-over-her-head heroine stands half a chance of making her marriage work—or of simply staking out her own place in the world—she’s got to understand the mysterious circumstances surrounding Rebecca’s death, plunge the depths of Mrs. Danvers’ unnatural devotion to the dead woman, and even explore her secretive husband’s own motives. But Rebecca’s very presence haunts every aspect of the new bride’s life, pushing her (and the reader, who’s in serious suspense by this time) closer and closer to the brink of despair. A stirring Gothic romance, Rebecca is author Daphne du Maurier’s masterpiece. It’s also a superb, understated tale that has withstood the test of time to remain an atmospheric, ghostly little haunt of a thriller.
posted Oct 28, 2010 at 5:22PM
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