Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

rebecca“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…”  So begins this gothic tour de force about an unnamed woman who marries an older man, Maxim de Winter, after a whirlwind romance, and goes to live at his ancestral home in England. However, a dark cloud hovers over Manderley.  Maxim’s first wife, Rebecca, died there and her presence haunts the estate.  Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper, was devoted to Rebecca.  She intimidates the young bride who feels she can’t compete with Maxim’s beautiful, brilliant first wife. When Rebecca’s body is found in the wreckage of a sailboat, Maxim is shaken enough to reveal his first wife was actually a malevolent monster whom he wanted to divorce.  Rebecca refused, and worse, told him she was pregnant by another man.  Enraged, Maxim shot her, hid the body in a boat and tried to sink it.  The revelation restores their marriage, but Maxim now stands accused of murder.  Will he be convicted?  Du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn is equally good.     

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