Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Info: copyright 1938, 393 pages
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .
The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady's maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives--presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.
I feel like I'm going to be stoned if I express my true opinions about this book. So many of my book lover friends have raved, but I apparently missed that party train. Wouldn't that be awesome. A "party train" for book lovers...I suppose we would all be curled up onto our seats, book in hand, while soothing violin music played over the speakers. No one talking. Everyone absorbed. That would be a good time.
And yes, I'm stalling, because I'm not really sure where to start. Okay. Here's the thing. I think this might, in large part, be chalked up to skewed expectations. I think I was expecting more of a Gothic feel. A little more mystery. A little more eerie and "ghost-y" (because that's totally a thing, and it's totally okay to make up words.) But it wasn't. It was whiny, and I don't deal well with whiny.
Quick synopsis according to Emily - wallflower girl works for overbearing woman and gets to travel a lot - and yet she still walks around skulking. Wallflower girl meets rich older man and hops into a car with him, noticing the whole time that he's not much of a social butterfly and has some series issues. Wallflower girl marries older moody man despite the fact that she can't really tell if he even likes her or not. Couple heads home to moody man's ginormous estate where creepy housekeeper goes out of her way to make already backwards wallflower girl really uncomfortable. Fight fight fight. Squabble squabble squabble. "But I love you!" Secrets revealed. "I love you!" "I love you too" Oh look! The house is burning down.
The long and the short of it...I didn't like anyone in that house. Well, Frank and the dog were okay, but everyone else drove me absolutely batty. "Mrs. De Winter" was so insecure that I wanted to toss her out the window. Maxim had the personality of a...well, I don't know, rock maybe? He had no personality is what I'm getting at here. And Mrs. Danvers was a stalker. Like legit. You can mourn the loss of a friend, but you don't keep their room as a shrine or encourage your new mistress to dress as her. That's beyond weird. That's crazy. The woman was crazy. You know, maybe I would put Rebecca with Frank and the dog. We never really meet her, but she wasn't that bad. Sure, she was an adulteress, but at least you knew where you stood with her.
And Maxim got away with it in the end! Sure, his house burns down, but you still down get any personality out of him when he finally reveals his deep dark secret.
My rant could continue, but I'll stop there. Needless to say, I wasn't a fan. But I read it. So that's something I suppose.