Lingering Presence

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A beautiful estate near the sea, a somewhat mysteriously dead wife, and the haunting feeling that someone is looming over you. Not at all creepy. Nope. Perhaps eerie is a more fitting word for the story presented in Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca. 

When a young woman meets Maxim de Winter by chance in Monte Carlo, her life is changed forever from the paid companion to an American woman to the lady of Manderley as Maxim’s new wife. In returning to the de Winter estate, the new Mrs. de Winter is faced with the shadow of the previous wife, Rebecca–from her clothes and the furniture in the home to the way she ran the house, Rebecca’s mark has been left on everything and everyone such that the new Mrs. de Winter fears she won’t compare. But as the secrets behind Rebecca’s demise come to light, the reputation of the de Winter’s is at stake.

Having first seen the Hitchcock adaptation on the screen of DuMaurier’s work, I knew what I was getting myself into when I started this story, but the beautifully crafted language DuMaurier uses to create a presence of Rebecca on the page was a happy discovery. I find that it’s interesting how the new Mrs. de Winter isn’t given a name–it fits with how passive a character she is (despite the fact that I can relate to her antisocial behavior); that the young Mrs. de Winter has no name helps to convey the impact Rebecca still has in the lives of those living and working at Manderley, extending her reach, even beyond the grave.

Overall, I’d give it a 4 out of 5 stars.

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