Reading Rebecca for Daphne Du Maurier Reading Week

I wrote in my last post about HeavenAli’s #DDMreadingweek project and my status as a DDM newbie. I started reading Rebecca and was hooked from the very first, very famous line: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”….

Little did I know that I was in for a transformative experience. It is a very long time since I picked up a book which I could hardly put down again. Oh what a joy it was to be totally engulfed by this utterly compelling story and DdM’s brilliant story-telling. The tension; the characters; the scene-setting – I was on the edge of my seat right through to the last word.

I’m not sure why I have not been drawn to Du Maurier’s work before. Perhaps, with Rebecca in particular, it was because I felt like I already knew the book by osmosis. If so, how wrong I was and how very glad I am to have put all of that behind me.

I have loved all the various DDM posts on other blogs so far this week and have a hugely expanded To Be Read list as a result. In addition, let me ask all you DDM aficionados, have you read either of the Rebecca sequels (by Susan Hill and Sally Beauman) and if so, can you recommend them? I can’t imagine anything matching up to the original but it might be intriguing to see how these authors move the story forward.

And I feel compelled to read more about DDM herself. I have my eye on her autobiographical book Myself When Young, thanks to Sandra over at A Corner of Cornwall and I know there are plenty of other biographies around. Is there anything you would particularly recommend?

Let me close by saying a huge thanks to Ali for hosting this excellent reading enterprise and for inducting me into the wonderful world of DDM’s writing. 🙂

31 thoughts on “Reading Rebecca for Daphne Du Maurier Reading Week

  1. Oh, good–you loved it! I figured you would! I haven’t read the sequels but I’ll check back to see if anyone else has an opinion. I don’t think I’d like them . . . The House on the Strand is good, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s great to hear how much you enjoyed it Liz! I remember being similarly entranced when I read it as a teenager. It’s a mystery why I never picked up DDM again until this week! I agree all the posts have been wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There are so many books to read and you’ve done more than your bit to read as many as possible! Lovely that you’ve found this classic so engaging. Now I must read it!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t read the sequels and have no inclination to, because it is so good as it is. But I do really strongly recommend getting hold of a DVD or download of the BBC adaptation from 1979 – I would never have believed it was that long ago if I hadn’t just googled it! – which had Anna Massey as an insidious and haunting Mrs Danvers, as mesmerising as a snake, Jeremy Brett as Max and Joanna David as the second Mrs DeWinter. Powerful and Atmospheric. Here’s a link ( I think) and now read Jamaica Inn!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for that link – it looks brilliant. That’s my weekend viewing sorted (in between stages of the Giro d’Italia!!). And I am already a few chapters in to Jamaica Inn – gripping!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s yet another version of Rebecca in the works at the moment. Kristin Scott Thomas has been cast as Mrs Danvers. Those cheekbones will be perfect! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m glad you’ve had such a great experience with your first du Maurier novel! I had similar feelings when I read Rebecca for the first time, many years ago. I have read the Sally Beauman sequel, Rebecca’s Tale, but can’t remember much about it now. It was worth reading, I think, as long as you don’t expect it to compare to the original.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Helen, that’s really interesting about the Beauman. I completely agree with you that any sequels must be read with managed expectations. It’s a bonus then if they turn out to be enjoyable!


  6. Liz, I am so pleased at your reaction to Rebecca. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I think Du Maurier suffers by being cast as a writer of romance (though she regards Rebecca as a study in jealousy) and her versality and abilities don’t always get the recognition they deserve. We are certainly putting that to rights in Ali’s reading week! I haven’t read any of the sequels/prequels/spin offs but I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts if you try any of them. Jamaica Inn is perfect as your next DDM book, chock-full of foreboding, atmosphere and dark deeds yet never losing her capacity as a writer of exquisite sentences. I should have another post out this evening on Myself When Young (shorter than the last one I hope 😉 ) There are of course all manner of biographies about her, Margaret Forster’s being the best regarded I think. It’s a long while since I read it but I remember not really absorbing much of it. MWY is a much gentler way in, covering just her early life and written with a lightness and vivacity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It must have been amazing to be steeped in all that DDM! I’m not sure I would have sufficiently appreciated Rebecca if I had read it when young but anyway am so glad to have done so now.


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