“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” This is the first line of “Rebecca” by Daphne Du Maurier and I too, dream of Manderley and on dark stormy nights of the evil Mrs. Danvers. The central character in Rebecca is the unnamed second wife of millionaire Maxim De Winter; the young, undereducated paid companion that Max woos and weds while on holiday in France. After the honeymoon, they return to his family home in England, and his new wife falls under the shadow of the first Mrs. De Winters, Rebecca. Part mystery, party psychological horror, part love story, “Rebecca”, made Du Maurier a star.
Like many, I discovered the 1940 Alfred Hitchcock movie version, first, and then found the novel. Each is subtly different but both are magnificent, the book borrows heavily from classic gothic novel themes but adds an element of suspense that is all it’s own. A number of authors have adapted the story including “Rebecca’s Tale” by Sally Beauman and “Mrs. de Winter” by Susan Hill, each is interesting but not up to the original.