Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier, 1938

My favorite quote: I know everyone is expecting me to say, “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again” but I’m actually going to go with, “I am glad it cannot happen twice, the fever of first love.”  Followed closely by, “Men are simpler than you imagine my sweet child. But what goes on in the twisted, tortuous minds of women would baffle anyone.”

Notable characters: The unnamed narrator; Maximilian “Maxim” de Winter, her brooding new husband; Rebecca, his dead wife; Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper

Most memorable scene: When the unnamed narrator dresses as Rebecca for the big ball … 

Greatest strengths: The narration, plain and simple. This book is literary gold! Writers should read this. Readers should read this. People who don’t like to read should read this, and people who can’t read should learn to read so they can read it. You catch my drift … 

Standout achievements: I can’t think of another book that has inspired the work of so many other authors. Not only does almost every writer I know cite Rebecca as a major influencer, but in 2019, the BBC News named Rebecca on its list of 100 most inspiring novels 

Fun Facts: An edition of this book was used by Germans in World War II as a key to a book code, which Ken Follet expounded upon (fictionally) in his novel, The Key to Rebecca

Other media: The radio, film, television, and stage adaptations are wide and many, the most famous being the 1940 Alfred Hitchock film starring Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier. And even though I thought it could have benefitted from more shadow and fog, I also really liked the 2020 Netflix version starring Lily James and Armie Hammer

What it taught me: The power of “quiet” horror — that the soft creak on the stairs is often scarier than the ax-wielding madman

How it inspired me: I’m not going to lie. Gladiola Gelding, Sheriff Ethan Hunter’s overbearing next-door neighbor in my Vampires of Crimson Cove series was totally inspired by Mrs. Van Hopper, the unnamed narrator’s employer at the beginning of the book. Not to mention that Mrs. Danvers has served as a great model for our own head housekeeper, Ms. Heller, in the gothic Thorne & Cross series, The Ravencrest Saga. And I’m sure there’s more than that … 

Additional thoughts: This is one of the only books I’ve ever read where every single element (plot, description, pacing, setting, characters, and climax) is equally strong. Sometimes, you read a classic and wonder why it’s a classic. Rebecca isn’t one of those books. I totally get all the hype surrounding this one

Haunt me:

Published by Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting and Mother with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, was an Amazon bestseller. The Black Wasp, book 3 in The Vampires of Crimson Cove series is on its way. Find out more about him at: ********************************************************************************************* In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing several novels, including the next volume in the continuing gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their first novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was an immediate bestseller. Together, they hosted the horror-themed radio show Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, Kim Harrison of the Hollows series, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore. ********************************************************************************************** Currently, Thorne & Cross are hosts of Thorne & Cross: Carnival Macabre, where listeners can discover all manner of demented delights, unearth terrifying treasures, and explore the dark side of the arts.

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