Daphne Du Maurier lived most of her life in Cornwall, England. She first published "Rebecca" in 1938 which is part of a very long list of novels, short stories, plays and biographies that she has written.
This fictional tale begins when the main character, who is a young woman, is employed as a lady's companion with a rather dull existence. During a trip to France, however, they meet Max de Winter, a widower who owns the estate called Manderley. Due to unforeseen circumstances this man and the younger lady spend some time together and in a very short period of time they become engaged and a wedding followed immediately.
The new Mrs. de Winter travels with her husband to Manderley where they are met by staff and neighbours, all of whom had been enraptured by Max's first wife. The housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, seems determined to keep the drowned woman's memory alive and her actions cause the young bride who is quite shy much discomfort.
It seems that no matter where she goes, Rebecca, is present despite the fact that she had drowned many months beforehand. And her memory is a very difficult one for the new mistress of the estate to deal with.
Her efforts to bring peace to the surroundings of her husband and, at the same time, not offend anyone as she tries to establish her own identity and place present a struggle that the author draws each reader into emotionally. The young bride wants to support her husband but doesn't always understand him. She wants to build a home for them but is afraid to disrupt anything in her environment as it has been made into a type of shrine for Rebecca.
As time passes, however, Mrs. de Winter realizes that there are secrets and mysteries that she cannot solve on her own. She attempts to gather information from others without success. Her questions either go unanswered or just led her to places where there are more questions.
I really enjoyed this book. The plot was interesting and there were twists and turns throughout that brought intrigue. In fact, there were times that I was very surprised as things occur that I would never have expected.
If you are interested in a romantic novel that includes some mystery that is all played out in a setting from the past, this book will likely interest you. It is 441 pages that are filled with unique characters who are easily relateable and unique in their own ways.
This is the first book by Daphne Du Maurier that I have read. My motivation for doing so was directed related to a trip my daughter and I had planned that included a stay in Cornwall. Because the author lived and worked there, I thought that I would enjoy reviewing the work of a resident who I suspected used her surroundings to inspire her writing. I'm very glad that I made this choice and look forward to reading some of the other works by Ms. Du Maurier.