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Daphne Du Maurier was born on May 13th, 1907 in London where she grew up with her father the actormanager Sir Gerald Du Maurier and her sisters. Daphne was born into an artistic family and educated at home where she wrote several short stories when she was 18. In 1931 she wrote her first novel “The Loving Spirit”. When she grew up, she moved to Cornwall where she lived with her husband Major-General Sir Frederick and their three children.
Daphne Du Maurier has written many famous novels like «Jamaica inn» in 1936, a tale about smuggling along the Cornish coast and «Rebecca» in 1938. Some of her novels stories like «The Birds,» «My Cousin Rachel,» «jamaica inn» and «Rebecca» were also directed into film by Hitchcook himself.
The story takes place at Manderley in Cornwall, England in 1938. We meet the young heroine who works for the rich Mrs Van Hopper in the South of France. She meets the charming and handsome Maxim de Winter who is much older than her. They fall madly in love despite for her youth and after some time they marry and move to the famous Manderley in Cornwall, England. We also meet Mrs Danvers the housekeeper. She is a strange and old women who don’t approve the young heroine being there. She has a dark side, a secret about the house.
Manderley is a big and beautiful mansion by the lake. It contains 70 rooms, a big and lovely forest and a wonderful park. But the mansion bares a secret about Maxim’s late and first wife, Rebecca. Its been said that Rebecca drowned at the sea near Manderley, but Mr de Winter bares a secret about her. The second and young Mrs de Winter is «haunted» by the sprit of Rebecca. She is very focused on how Rebecca lived her life with Maxim and she’s afraid of being compared with her.
Mrs Danvers does not like the second Mrs de Winter. She is afraid that Maxim will forget everything about Rebecca and that she will take Rebecca’s place at Manderley. Rebecca was a popular woman when she was alive and everyone loved her. People talked about Rebecca’s death, they were sure that she had drowned in the sea, but Mr de Winter was the only one who knew the truth.
In the book we get to know Mr de Winter’s awful secret. He shot Rebecca in the cottage in the woods, dragged her body to the boat by the pier, laid her body in the boatcabin and sunk the boat at sea. People talked about Maxim and Rebecca's perfect marriage, but it was not perfect at all. Maxim and Rebecca never loved each other, their marriage consisted of hate and betrayal.
People said it was a suicide, but Jack Fawell, Rebecca’s secret lover, was sure that she was murdured. he was sure that Maxim was the murder, but no evidence was found. At the end of the novel we get to know that Rebecca had a motive commit suicide. There was something wrong with her. She was very ill, in the movie she had cancer.
On their way home, from Dr. Baker who had told them about Rebecca's illness, they see a glow coming from the west. The couple comes over a hill and looks down into the valley. Before them lies Manderley, consumed by flames.
The theme in this book, from my point of view is, be careful with your actions, trust only the people who trust you back and love can conquer all. The book's opening line, «Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again,» is one of the most memorable in twentieth-century literature.