“I wanted to go back again, to recapture the moment that had gone, and then it came to me that if we did it would not be the same, even the sun would be changed in the sky, casting another shadow…”
The narrator crosses paths with Maxim DeWinter while in Monte Carlo serving as a companion to the abhorrent Mrs. Van Hopper. When Mrs. Van Hopper falls ill, our young female finds herself spending more and more time with the mysterious Maxim. At first all she knows is that he is owner of the famed Manderly estate and he is grieving his late wife Rebecca. As they spend more time together, she finds herself charmed and intrigued by the older gentleman and falls head over heels in love with him by the time Mrs. Van Hopper announces that they will be sailing to New York. Desperate not to separate from her love, our heroine runs to Maxim for help. He proposes marriage.
As the couple returns to the infamous Manderly estate, the heroine realizes Maxim’s late wife Rebecca left large shoes to fill. As she tries to combat the ghost of the past she encounters insubordinate staff, whispering neighbors and unravels a secret that could change her and Maxim’s life forever.
Rebecca is my best friend’s favorite book, or at least the one she comes back to most often. She’s mentioned it multiple times over the years and even with as avid of a reader as I am, I had never read it. When the movie version showed up on Netflix recently, I decided it was time to dive in. Obviously, so did everyone else—it took me weeks to get a copy from the library. That being said, “dive in” is not the right terminology—I more so waded in. I just couldn’t get into it. I read the first chapter or so and just didn’t care. I am not one that gives up on books and I especially didn’t want to give up on my best friend’s favorite book. I decided to take another tactic and downloaded the audiobook. That made ALL the difference. I turned it on while I was running one day and I was fully invested.
I feel like this book moves at an accordion speed and by that I mean, some parts move very quickly while others drag out over pages and pages. This is not always a bad thing, but I think it was a lot of the reason it was so hard for me to get started. By the end of the book, I was on the edge of my seat, racing to the end to see it all unfold. The story hits across multiple genres: romance, mystery, thriller. I can’t say it was something I would have picked up on my own, but I am glad to have read it. I am a very character bases reader and to see Maxim’s change from a blithe man of means to something so decidedly human with faults and secrets made him very relatable and in my opinion more likeable. The narrator was less likable in my opinion. She is young and naïve and filled with anxiety (which is relatable, but not necessarily good reading) and you just want to shake her sometimes as she stumbles through the story, coming one hapless folly after another.