by Daphne de Maurier
For: Book Club
1 of 5 stars
Well, you know what I thought of the beginning, but I hadn't finished the book and had not formed my final opinion. I was hoping it would change. Ironically, about half a chapter after my rant, things started to improve. Wanna know why?? People started talking!!!
I didn't before realize how important conversation was to me.
Maxim de Winter brings a young new wife home to his estate where the presence of his late wife, Rebecca still lingers. The new Mrs. de Winter has trouble learning to run a house, trouble with the scornful housekeeper, and trouble staying close to her troubled husband. What happened to Rebecca?
Things had picked up after the first 100 pages. There were new characters, there was confusion, there was mystery. And then there was the freakish housekeeper. Makes me think about traveling asylums, perhaps like door-to-door salespeople:
"May I help you?"
"We were just wondering if you had any crazy people you would like us to take off your hands?"
"Why yes. My housekeeper is worshiping a dead sociopath and tried to kill me!"
"Well, we can take care of that for you! Load her up, Frank!"
"What a relief. I'm so glad you were in the neighborhood today."
"No problem Ma'am. That's our job."
But I digress.
So I was enjoying the book finally. I was truly thinking it might all be salvageable. It got creepy. There were several layers of "bad guys." There was the fear of getting found out. There were a few fewer descriptions of flowers and definitely fewer imaginings of Nameless. There was rising action...dramatic action...relief....more rising action...
It didn't finish. It just stopped. I searched the back matter. I searched the crease of my book in case pages had been ripped out. Nope. The book just didn't have an end. ???? I tried to read the included "alternate" epilogue and choked. I re-read the epilogue in the second chapter, choked, tried harder, skimmed, and then called it good. I gave this book more than it deserved already.
Questions Not Answered: (Spoilers Alert!!)
- Why didn't Nameless have a name? (In the author notes, Mrs. du Maurier said something like not being able to think of one, then writing no name as a sort of challenge.) Not good enough reasons!! Why didn't she have a name! Or a face! Or an age! This wasn't any sort of a deal breaker, but it was annoying.
- Why stop the book before the end?
- Did everyone die? Did everyone live?
- Did Favell not call Mrs. Danvers in time? Why did she set the house on fire? Did she even do it?
- Why did it go all Jane Eyre at the end?
- Why did they leave the country? Their life had some rough spots, yes, but leave the whole country??
- If they "had" to leave the country, why live a boring, sad life? Why not go adventuring like on their honeymoon? These people are easily broken!!
- Why was Mrs. Danvers so dedicated to a sociopath?
- Why didn't Max produce proof of adultery as evidence to divorce Rebecca and get out of his nightmare long before that night? Didn't they such things as personal dectectives?
- But most importantly: WHY STOP THE BOOK BEFORE THE END?!?!?!?