Wednesday, August 31, 1988

Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca published 50 years ago this month

First posted 6/16/2020; last updated 7/5/2020.


Daphne Du Maurier

First Publication: August 1938

Category: thriller novel

Sales: 2 million


About the Book:

“A masterful tale of suspense,” TGRebecca is a thriller novel by English author Dame Daphne du Maurier.” WK “Cornish estate owner Maximilian de Winter's second wife – also the nameless narrator – is haunted by the housekeeper’s oppressive worship of her predecessor,” TG “Maxim's first wife – the late and hauntingly beautiful Rebecca.” AZ

De Winter “recalls the chilling events that transpired as she began her new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew. For in every corner of every room were phantoms of a time dead but not forgotten – a past devotedly preserved by the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers: a suite immaculate and untouched, clothing laid out and ready to be worn, but not by any of the great house's current occupants. With an eerie presentiment of evil tightening her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter walked in the shadow of her mysterious predecessor, determined to uncover the darkest secrets and shattering truths about…Rebecca.” AZ

Du Maurier said “the book was based on her own memories of Menabilly and Cornwall, as well as her relationship with her father.” WK She considered Rebecca “a study in jealousy,” WK reflecting on her own infidelity with her husband and her feelings that he was still attracted to the woman he’d been engaged to before. WK “She wrote in her notes prior to writing: ‘I want to build up the character of the first [wife] in the mind of the second... until wife 2 is haunted day and night... a tragedy is looming very close and CRASH! BANG! something happens.’” WK “Subsequent to the novel's publication, ‘Jan Ricardo, tragically, died during the Second World War. She threw herself under a train.’” WK

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