If anyone hasn't read it (or seen the excellent Hitchcock film) it is the story of a young woman who is serving as a companion to an older woman. She meets Max DeWinter at a hotel in Monte Carlo, has a whirlwind romance with him, marries, and goes off with him to live at the fabled Manderley. There she stands in the shadow of the first Mrs. DeWinter: Rebecca, who died a year earlier. Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper, does much to keep her in in the shadow.
Things I have noticed on reading this as an adult: Max and the unnamed young woman, don't really have a whirlwind romance at all. He adopts her as you would a stray puppy. The second Mrs. DeWinter is somewhat annoying in her insistence on being a passive onlooker. She seems to want to stand in the shadows. She constantly belittles herself to the reader. And why does she love Max? Is he the father figure she craves?
And why doesn't she find something to do with herself? People constantly suggest various past- times like bridge, golf, riding and she tells them she doesn't do these activities. Well, can't she learn? She is only about 20, not too old to learn any of these things. Why doesn't she do something beside sketch, which she claims to be not very good at it. Her main occupation is patting the dog and drinking tea.
This is not to say I'm not enjoying REBECCA. It is beautifully written and boasts four enigmatic characters. And I don't mind reading about a passive character really. Life is full of passive people.
It is just that I have always thought of this unnamed character as victimized. And she is, but she does little to avoid it. Which makes her interesting, I suppose. Do most victims have a hand in their plight?
I also remembered Mrs. Danvers as hovering over every scene and actually she is around very little. Same with Max. Mostly we have our unnamed young woman trying to make sense of it all. And the reader trying to make sense of her.
I will let you know how it all turns out.