Tag Archives: Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca Movie Review

Rebecca is one of those books that readers come back to time and again. There is a reason that Daphne du Maurier‘s novel of love, jealousy, and secrets is considered to be a classic.

The Netflix reboot starring Lily James, Armie Hammer, and Kristin Scott Thomas premiered earlier in the week. The unnamed narrator and future Mrs. de Winter (James) is introduced as a paid companion to a wealthy woman who is eager is climb the social ladder. In Monte Carlo, she meets Maxim de Winter (Hammer). Maxim is a widower and the owner of Manderley, a sprawling estate on the English coast. Swept off her feet, she says yes to his marriage proposal.

But upon arrival at her new home, she discovers that all is not what it seems. Her husband’s deceased wife, Rebecca still haunts her former home. The housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers (Scott Thomas), takes pleasure in tormenting the new Mrs. de Winter via the memory of the previous Mrs. de Winter.

I wish I could say that I loved this adaptation. The truth is that it was not what it could have been. There is a certain something in the novel that raises the hair on the back of the neck. That feeling is missing from the movie. The other issue that I had is that as good an actor that Lily James is, she is not quite right for the part.

Her performance was stronger when her character began to realize the truth. As a viewer, I couldn’t wrap my head around her youth and naivete in the beginning of the story. Among the main actors, Kristin Scott Thomas was the best part of the film. She was both creepy and charming, if that combination is ever possible.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Rebecca is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Mexican Gothic Book Review

Gothic novels have thrilled readers for centuries. Questions of the unknown and what lies in wait in the darkness has been the subject of countless stories across the generations.

The new novel, Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, was released back in June. Noemí Taboada is a young debutante in early 1950’s Mexico. Though she is very used to the material comforts of life, she is also stubborn, intelligent, and unafraid. When Noemí receives a disturbing letter from her newlywed cousin, Catalina, she jumps on the first train she can get on.

Catalina’s new husband is the heir of wealthy family with English origins. Once upon a time, their wealth came from local mines. But those mines have long since gone dark. Noemí discovers that the cousin she knew is that not the woman in front of her. There are also disturbing questions about the family Catalina has married into.

Can Noemí discover their secrets? Will she and Catalina get out of there safely or will they be held prisoner for the rest of their days?

Previous reviews have compared this book to Rebecca and Jane Eyre. The comparisons are fair. The Gothic elements are skillfully woven into the narrative. That being said, this book was a little disappointing. The big reveal is not as earth-shattering as I expected it to be. The ending is also a little bit of a letdown for my taste.

Do I recommend it? Maybe with a slight lean toward no.

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Rebecca Book Review

After one’s spouse passes on, it is common for the surviving spouse to remarry after a period of time. The question is, has the surviving spouse moved on or does the memories of their late husband or wife live on?

In the classic novel, Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier, the main character is a young woman who is only named once in the story. Working as a paid companion for a wealthy American socialite, she meets Maxim de Winter in France. Maxim is a good twenty years older than the narrative, wealthy and a widower. They quickly fall in love and marry.

After the honeymoon, the newlyweds arrive at Maxim’s estate, named Manderley to start their new lives together. But something is off. Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper can only be described as sinister. Though the late Mrs. de Winter, Rebecca, has passed on, her presence is still felt. Can the narrative discover the secrets of the past, or will Rebecca haunt them forever?

I’ve heard of this book, but I’ve never read it until now. I am so glad that I did. I was on the edge of my seat, wondering what secrets this house held and how long it would be before those secrets were revealed.

I recommend it.

 

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