I’ve read such a lot of Daphne Du Maurier books – some good and some better, If I had to rate them, number one would surely be Rebecca. The first line sets the mood of the book, as we are whisked away back in time to the mysterious Manderley and the equally mysterious Max De Winter. The story reads like Cinderella, where poor servant (well, rich woman’s companion) wins wealthy prince (De Winter) and goes to live happily ever after in his palace (Manderley). However, the ‘Happy ever after’ is a long time coming – something keeps getting in the way.
There’s another fairytale in here, if you think about it. The handsome Prince kisses the beautiful princess who turns into a frog (Rebecca). Max’s second wife (we never do learn her name?) is also awakened by her prince but not to a life of pleasure (like her predecessor) she inherits a nightmare – the ruin and devastation that Rebecca has left her. I have only just thought about the fairytale aspect of Rebecca. When the poor woman (encouraged by evil Danvers) dresses unknowingly in a fancy dress costume that Rebecca wore and confronts her portrait, it is so ‘Mirror Mirror on the wall’ (Snow White) with Rebecca winning again by being the fairest of them all. In the end though, all that glisters is not gold and the real beauty shines through – not the supercilious veneer that is Rebecca – the beautiful frog triumphs and marries the prince.
I shall go through these books separately in other posts. The list below is not in particular order of preference.
My Cousin Rachael
House on the Strand
The infernal world of Branwell Bronte
Don’t look now