Admittedly, I wasn’t a fan of this book to start with. It was too descriptive and too romantic for a crowded, peak-period train journey home. Far from dawdling in the grandeur of Manderley, I preferred to fantasise about the different ways I could force some of my fellow commuters to start wearing deodorant.
Rebecca was pretty much what I expected (apart from the plot twist; I thought that Rebecca had committed suicide), I churned through it at a phenomenal pace, until it ended with one hell of a bang, leaving me with some burning questions.
And for those of you who’ve read this novel before, that choice of adjective was intentional.
Definitely a classic – although originally dismissed as ‘women’s fiction’ – Rebecca is about an unnamed narrator, who marries a widower (Maxim de Winter) twice her age, and their life at Manderley. Manderley is the type of Downton Abbey, my-other-car-is-a-vintage-Jaguar stately home, and throughout it are touches of Maxim’s dead wife, Rebecca. Desks, dogs, even flashes of her handwriting are enough to worry the current Mrs de Winter, as she struggles to define who and what she is, and loves.
One of the few things that kept me going was not the fact that I had to read it by Monday (although that helped), but rather my picture of Maxim de Winter. I had him as a Colin Firth-Benedict Cumberbatch morph; sounds weird, but damn! unexpectedly attractive. However, some of the prose was a tad flowery for my tastes, and I wasn’t excited. Personally, I wasn’t that invested in their lives, and although in general it was a beautiful novel, there was something missing. No ‘frickety frack, what just happened’ or ‘holy guacamole, I’m going to lie down and hope that eases the pain’. A little predictable.
I know that I’ve been skirting around 19th and 20th Century romantic-type fiction (preferring to opt for something meatier, like Patrick Bateman ripping people’s guts out), which may be part of the reason why I wasn’t overly keen on Rebecca. I recognise its beauty – and I do recommend it, if you’re into the literary romance thing – but sadly, this time round, it wasn’t quite my cup of tea.
Have you read Rebecca? What did you think? Drop me a line!