4.5 365
by Daphne du Maurier

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"Rebecca is a work of immense intelligence and wit, elegantly written, thematically solid, suspenseful.." —Washington Post"Daphne du Maurier created a scale by which modern women can measure their feelings." —Stephen King Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off

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"Rebecca is a work of immense intelligence and wit, elegantly written, thematically solid, suspenseful.." —Washington Post"Daphne du Maurier created a scale by which modern women can measure their feelings." —Stephen King Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady's maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives—presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave. First published in 1938, this classic gothic novel is such a compelling read that it won the Anthony Award for Best Novel of the Century.

Editorial Reviews
It's no wonder that the woman who becomes the second Mrs. de Winter (whose first name we never learn) eagerly accepts Maxim de Winter's offer of matrimony. She's young, orphaned, and employed as companion to a mean-spirited fading beauty. The handsome widower simply sweeps her off her feet. In a matter of days, the new bride accompanies her seemingly devoted husband to Manderley, his isolated home on the Cornish coast. From the first, the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, frightens the new bride with her chilling devotion to the dead first Mrs. de Winter, Rebecca. And, all to soon, the second Mrs. de Winter realizes that Maxim married her for her youth and warmth, hoping to use her as a shield against Rebecca's malignant presence -- a lingering evil that threatens to destroy them both from beyond the grave.

First published in 1938, this classic gothic novel is such a compelling read that it won the Anthony Award for Best Novel of the Century.

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Little, Brown and Company
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Chapter One

Last Night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me. There was a padlock and a chain upon the gate. I called in my dream to the lodge-keeper, and had no answer, and peering closer through the rusted spokes of the gate I saw that the lodge was uninhabited.

No smoke came from the chimney, and the little lattice windows gaped forlorn. Then, like all dreamers, I was possessed of a sudden with supernatural powers and passed like a spirit through the barrier before me. The drive wound away in front of me, twisting and tuning as it had always done, but as I advanced I was aware that a change had come upon it; it was narrow and unkept, not the drive that we had known At first I was puzzled and did not understand, and it was only when I bent my head to avoid the low swinging branch of a tree that I realised what had happened. Nature had come into her own again and little by, little, in her stealthy, insidious way had encroached upon the drive with long tenacious fingers. The woods, always a menace even in the past, had triumphed in the end. They crowded, dark and uncontrolled, to the borders of the drive. The beeches with white, naked limbs leant close to one another, their branches intermingled in a strange embrace, making a vault above my head like the archway of a church. And there were other trees as well, trees that I did not recognise, squat oaks and tortured elms that straggled cheek by jowl with the beeches, and had thrust themselves out of the quiet earth, along with monster shrubs and plants,none of which I remembered.

The drive was a ribbon now, a thread of its former self, with gravel surface gone, and choked with grass and moss. The trees had thrown out low branches, making an impediment to progress; the gnarled roots looked like skeleton claws. Scattered here and again amongst this jungle growth I would recognise shrubs that had been land-marks in our time, things of culture and of grace, hydrangeas whose blue heads had been famous. No hand had chocked their progress, and they had gone native now, rearing to monster height without a bloom, black and ugly as the nameless parasites that grew beside them.

On and on, now east, now west, wound the poor thread that once had been our drive. Sometimes I thought it lost, but it appeared again, beneath a fallen tree perhaps or struggling on the other side of a muddied ditch created by the winter rains. I had not thought the way so long. Surely the miles had multiplied, even as the trees had done, and this path led but to a labyrinth, some choked wilderness, and not to the house at all. I came upon it suddenly; the approach masked by the unnatural growth of a vast shrub that spread in all directions, and I stood, my heart thumping in my breast, the strange prick of tears behind my eyes.

There was Manderley, our Manderley, secretive and silent as it had always been, the grey stone shining in the moonlight of my dream, the mullioned windows reflecting the green lawns and the terrace. Time could not wreck the perfect symmetry of those walls, not the site itself, a jewel in the hollow of a hand.

The terrace sloped to the lawns, and the lawns stretched to the sea, and turning I could see the sheet of silver, placid under the moon, like a lake undisturbed by wind or storm. No waves would come to ruffle this dream water, and no bulk of cloud, wind-driven from the west, obscure the clarity of this pale sky. I turned again to the house, and though it stood inviolate, untouched, as though we ourselves had left but yesterday, I saw that the garden had obeyed the jungle law, even as the woods had done. The rhododendrons stood fifty feet high, twisted and entwined with bracken, and they had entered into alien marriage with a host of nameless shrubs, poor, bastard things. that clung about their roots as though conscious of their spurious origin. A lilac had mated with a copper beech, and to bind them yet more closely to one another the malevolent ivy, always an enemy to grace, had thrown her tendrils about the pair and made them prisoners. Ivy held prior place in this lost garden, the long strands crept across the lawns, and soon would encroach upon the house itself. There was another plant too, some halfbreed from the woods, whose seed had been scattered long ago beneath the trees and then forgotten, and now, marching in unison with the ivy, thrust its ugly form like a giant rhubarb towards the soft grass where the daffodils had blown.

Nettles were everywhere, the van-guard of the army. They choked the terrace, they sprawled, about the paths, they leant, vulgar and lanky, against the very windows of the house. They made indifferent sentinels, for in many places their ranks had been broken by the rhubarb plant, and they lay with crumpled heads and listless stems, making a pathway for the rabbits. I left the drive and went on to the terrace, for the nettles were no barrier to me, a dreamer, I walked enchanted, and nothing held me back.

Moonlight can play odd tricks upon the fancy, even upon a dreamer's fancy. As I stood there, hushed and still, I could swear that the house was not an empty shell but lived and breathed as it had lived before.

Rebecca. Copyright © by Daphne Du Maurier. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Rebecca 4.5 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 365 reviews.
PurelyArtificial More than 1 year ago
When I first began reading Rebecca, I felt that it wasn't catching my attention, and know that I am a reader of much romance and suspense. But once I jumped into the 2nd or 3rd chapter, things began to really roll in my mind. The imagery was truly fantastic, though a few words may seem unfamiliar to a reader who isn't used to highly sophisticated speech, yet most words can be solved using context clues. This story may definitely capture your heart with its deep suspense and loving sincerity. You just never know what's going on is Mr. de Winter's mind, regardless of his honest actions or words. It also makes you wonder whether the heroine really holds Maxim's heart. Daphne Du Maurier really knew how to hold the reader's attention, and I highly suggest this book if you're a reader who enjoys romance, suspense, and books that are hard to put down.
CatherineNC More than 1 year ago
I am a reader, always have been. I read everything from classical literature to cozy mysteries. To me "REBECCA" will always be my favorite book because it is so beautifully written. The characters are so well developed, we can see them in the mind's eye. There are so many, never anticipated, twists and turns that captivate your imagination and keep you guessing. It has an element of "Jane Eyre" and a bit of "Withering Heights" but with an added dimension of Alfred Hitchcock. Only Hitchcock could have directed the movie, which I also recommend. Enjoy! You will love it, I always have!
Leigh30 More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading "Rebecca" and I'm still shaking my head at how it ended. Wow! I bought this book because I had just read the book "The Forgotten Garden" by Kate Morton and she mentioned that du Maurier was one of her favorite authors. So I thought I'd read something by her and "Rebecca" looked pretty interesting so I bought it. I have to say that the story had me from the first sentence and I was hooked the whole way through. I loved it because it was full of mystery and suspense, it kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I think they should do a remake of this movie because it would be amazing. I think the film was originally done back in the 1940s so it would be so good if it were done now. I'll definitely have to read more by du Maurier because I love her writing style.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of those books that you should have read years ago. If you didn't, try it, it's a page turner. If you read it years ago, try it again, there are many facets to this book, you will notice things you didn't the first time. I felt it was very worth the time.
dhbreen More than 1 year ago
Takes you over. A definite, can't put it down, mysterious drama. Very fun read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rebecca is one of the greatest novels of 20th century. It is said that Daphne Du Maurier took her inspiration for this novel from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and the similarities are evident. The narrator is un-named except to be called 'The second Mrs. DeWinter.' This woman marries a mysterious man named Maxim DeWinter and he brings her to live at his house Manderley. Mrs. DeWinter lives in a constant and suffocating shadow of her predocessor, the beautiful, incomparable Rebecca. Rebecca's presence remains in the house by the efforts of the creepy housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers and the shady Jack Favell. The marriage between Mrs. DeWinter and Maxim slowly unravels to reveal a shocking secret. If you love gothic literature, you must read Rebecca. It's a classic.
nancerz More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because 1. I want to read more and 2. one of my favorite bands wrote a song about it. "Rebecca" by Meg and Dia. When I finally picked it up and saw that it's a "romantic suspense" I was kind of put off. I was imagining cheesy romance novels that old ladies read. (I know I should've known because of the song, but by the time I actually bought the book, I forgot all about the connection) It was slow at first but I've heard from a friend that the book was "haunting" so I pressed forward, excited and curious as to what was so "haunting" about it. I finished the book in 5 days (from a new reader, that's pretty amazing) and I would have to say that I would most likely re-read this book. Although, I was not as "haunting" as they say, it was still a great novel. Really well written, incredibly detailed. I am excited to read more of her books and hope they have the same effect on me as Rebecca did. Also hope the movies don't ruin it for me either.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Quite different than from the movie, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Still,a great read! More detailed. I recommend the book first, then the movie.
NatalieTahoe More than 1 year ago
I always put off reading this story because I thought it was a romance. Granted (the cover here is much more indicative of the spookiness quality), I based this solely off the book cover that has the red all over it, so imagine my delight as I got older and heard that it was instead, decidedly Gothic and creepy. The entire story is told through a flashback of events that occurred when the unnamed narrator is a hired companion for Mrs. Van Hopper, a gossipy brute of a woman. While traveling through Monte Carlo, they meet Maxim de Winter, whose story is one that Mrs. Van Hopper willingly offers up. Maxim's recent loss of his first wife Rebecca is a sad fate, and as the young narrator spends more time with him, they decide within only a few weeks that they will get married and move to his estate, entitled Manderley. But upon arriving to Maxim's estate, it becomes quite a different experience than she anticipated. The mansion is huge, with a full staff to keep up the house and grounds, and the ever-present ghost of the beautiful, social, and popular Rebecca is behind everything that is desirable about Manderley, and even the parties she's hosted are still talked about. But not only is she a part of Manderley's past, she is very much a part of a creepy and sinister presence about the house. Rebecca is everywhere that the new bride finds herself in - from the beautiful landscape of the grounds, the cove where Rebecca lost her life, the little cottage down by the sea that she used to rest in after she would go sailing. Rebecca is everywhere, and the new Mrs. De Winter, meek, quiet, and shy, cannot keep up. Even the housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers is cold and intimidating, harboring secrets that make the new bride fearful. She knows she is being compared by the housekeeper, the visitors to the house on their social calls, and she can't quite help feeling like even Maxim is doing the same, ultimately wondering if he is contemplating if he made the right choice to marry her. I loved this story. I've read Du Maurier's short stories last year and enjoyed them, but this struck me much more than anything else and was much, much creepier. It is beautiful and dark and perfect for autumn. I absolutely recommend this story
pinder92 More than 1 year ago
My favorite book of all time. I read it during my sophmore year in High School in Modern Lititure. It has been my constant companion, I have read it so many times over the years I could not count. This is my Perfect book, I love the begining, middle and of course the end!
PaulaAnderson More than 1 year ago
A classic. What's not to love?
Missy_W More than 1 year ago
Rebecca is a novel of great suspense that is being told by a nameless narrator whose life has been forever changed by events that happened in the past. Author Daphne du Maurier has a brilliant way of developing his characters. The author takes each character from an aspect of happiness to a point of despair. The characters in the beginning of the story develop a strong bond and then start drifting apart due to lies and suspicions. Maurier created characters that were filled with innocence to characters filled with dysfunction and psychotic behaviors. The descriptive settings of the book makes it as if you were in the story. Each description of where each event takes place makes you feel as if you were there in the room with the characters. One could get the feel of tension in the room when things begin to get intense. As the main characters walk into their mansion, Manderley, you feel as if you were walking in with them. Daphne du Maurier story line takes you from romance to dark suspense and mystery. Some might place this book in a category of gothic writing. The story line carries you through the book so smoothly and yet leaves you with a feeling of suspense wondering what will happen next. She makes it so that just when you thought you knew what had happened, a new twist is thrown in and you are in disbelief at the end. In conclusion Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, is a story of romance and suspense all in one. It will keep you holding your breath till the end.
MJ9906 More than 1 year ago
I purchased the book not realizing it was a work of classic fiction. By the time I finished, I could understand why. Du Maurier's Rebecca was intriguing - a page turner I couldn't put down. It was intellectual and riveting. I thought the story was going to go a certain way, and then Du Maurier traveled down a path I hadn't even thought of. A truly great read and a solid addition to any library!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rebecca is one of the books that catched my attention as soon as I read the back cover. This book, is a stunning, dramatic, and an awesome novel. One of the books I would defenetly recommend, to people who are into drama, and suspense. Rebecca is about a poor girl who meets a rich, and handsome man, but the man has a dark past, a past that no one knows about. His past includs his death wife, Rebecca, a beautiful women. After a few days together, the rich men marrys the poor girl, and they are headed to his beautiful mansion, Manderly. Where the dark past is uncovered, and a dramatic ending occurs. To find out the truth about Rebecca, Manderly, and the death that roams the living, you must read this book!!!
konk More than 1 year ago
My favorite book.
janellovex3 More than 1 year ago
I for one can say that I actually quite thoroughly enjoyed my reading of the novel Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I would definitely recommend it to any of my friends, teacher, colleagues, neighbors and family. It is one of those kinds of books that you really just do not want to put down whatsoever! I sat in my bed at night reading it as much as I could before I went to bed and would even take it out on the patio to read with me while I lay in the sun. I finished it quite quickly though, that's the one thing I do not like about those kind of books that you simply must keep reading; you find yourself finishing it in a matter of days, perhaps even hours if you find yourself that dedicated to it. Enough about my opinion though of course you want to know what the book is about! Basically, in a nutshell, it's a twisted murder mystery and romance rolled all into one, although you don't really find out the murder mystery part until the middle or so, maybe even a little bit past that, into the book. It starts out as a poor girl in the south of France at the Monte Carlo acting as a companion to a snobby, obnoxious woman who thinks that everyone loves her and wants to talk to her and she is so high class, but in reality she is just a loud old woman who laughs a tad too loud at her own jokes and makes others feel quite uneasy in her presence on multiple occasions. The protagonist, her companion, sees this in her and feels bad for the poor old woman, but also doesn't feel sympathy just for the lack of companionship, ironically, that she shows back to the protagonist. Their stay in the Monte Carlo leads to the protagonist and another main character's rendezvous. Leave it to the snobby old woman to attract attention to them and of course get them noticed by someone who really is not looking to notice anyone and wants to be left alone in solitary. She meets Maxim De Winter, who has, even though no one blatantly says it, is obviously on an escape trip from Manderley where his seemingly beautiful, amazing wife Rebecca was killed in a sailing accident. He flees from the memories and the dim, stygian air of England to some fresh coastal air and they are brought together over lunch while the old woman is sick upstairs in her room. While the old woman is sick they go about on drives and have lunches and get to know each other over the next few weeks. Max enjoys her company and the protagonist falls in love with him, practically head over heels. He is mysterious and distant, but that only draws her in more. The thing that I believe drew him to her is companionship and someone to waste away the time with and not be so lonely and always thinking about Rebecca. So he proposes to her and she must tell her companion that she cannot leave with her to New York because she is going to go to Manderley with Mr. De Winter to be married and live with him instead. They are happily, and quietly married right there in France with no large ceremonious gathering of family and friends, considering she has none and he would rather not be around his due to the circumstances. They return home and are welcomed by the whole house staff, this welcoming is organized by the one and only Mrs. Danvers, who is the housemaid of the house. Mrs. Danvers is not welcoming at all, as she is Rebecca's old maid who practically raised her and was strangely infatuated with her, quite possibly even in love with her. Mrs. Danvers resents this newcomer and tries to make her experience there a
Scarlett_Grace More than 1 year ago
What can I say about Daphne du Maurier`s phenomenal masterpiece? I can tell you that it is one of the best books I have ever read and I have read it repeatedly since. From the first sentence you`re hooked, what is Manderley? Who is this narrator? What happened in this house that so propels the reader forward? Through the lyrical, detailed writing of du Maurier we find out. Our narrator does not tell us her name, but is called throughout the story as the second Mrs. de Winter. And Manderley is the home of her new husband, the ever troubled Maxim de Winter, all but a stranger to her. But the second Mrs. de Winter is young and naive, and the household of Manderley was, and still is, used to obeying Rebecca, the first Mrs. de Winter, the beautiful, graceful Rebecca, dead but not truly forgotten. And as the second Mrs. de Winter stays longer at Manderley she begins a quest for the true fate of the dazzling, elegant Rebecca, and the secrets of the people of Manderley.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was wonderful. Loved it. The aura of suspence and dread that permeated it was amazing. The characters so complex...what a treat....dont want to give plot away but this is NOT a boring or hard to read classic and I recommend it highly.
voraciousreaderIL More than 1 year ago
The first part of the book started off a little slow. I wasn't really sure why everyone had raved about this classic.......however, after a little bit, I was taken in and could not put the book down. Luckily it was a Sunday and I finished the book by early evening. I absolutely loved it. A wonderful love story and terrific mystery. Fabulous writing. Don't miss it!
little-red-ribbon More than 1 year ago
I was more than eager to pick up this book and read it.One thing i especially liked was her style of writing. Rebecca was one of the most detailed books i have ever read. Daphne du Maurier described the most insignificant things, and made them sound beautiful. For example, when she describes Manderley, she tells us every detail of that beautiful mansion. The characters in this story were also extremely well developed. The character Ms. Van Hopper is an excellent example. Her cruel and creepy disposition was so well portrayed that even though i didn't like her character at all, i loved reading about what actions she was going to have next. I also loved how du Maurier never told us the main characters name. The title of the book threw me off at first because i thought Rebecca was the main character/narrator, but she wasn't. I liked how i didn't have that FULL connection to the narrator as you do in most books, as that made me pay more attention to the other characters. This book is a great source of romance and mystery.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Anonymous 4 months ago
Loved this book as a teenager. Writing is excellent.
Anonymous 5 months ago
The little heroine a backbone and put out winters on a pension
Book_and_recipe_Examiner 5 months ago
“Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again…” Rebecca is the greatest and most haunting Gothic novel, the one to which all others have since been compared. Set in the English countryside in the 1920’s, in a mansion by the sea, Maxim de Winter lives with his much younger new bride, whose name we never learn. This shy girl narrates the story of her new life at Manderley, with its lavish gardens, long stretches of woods, and a beach cottage, not far from where the first Mrs. de Winter is said to have drowned. Life at Manderley can be staggering for the former Lady’s companion, especially with an ominous housekeeper named Mrs. Danvers and her obsession with the late Rebecca, whose things she leaves set out on the bed in the dead woman’s bedroom, as if still awaiting her arrival home. This novel is filled with suspenseful drama, lush landscapes, and sympathies you never knew you could have for a character. In England, there is a manor house in which you will dream of living, and a tall, black-haired woman who still walks its halls, smiling and shaking her thick raven locks in a last, crazed laugh. For similar book recommendations, a themed recipe, and discussion questions, visit:
Anonymous 6 months ago
One of the foundation contemporary