This book has taken me some time to digest and think about. It was definitely a page turner. Du Maurier keeps you guessing as to what really happened to the late Rebecca De Winter. The book begins with Maxim de Winter meeting and marrying the main character and narrator. They then return to his estate Manderley. There the second Mrs. de Winter learns that Maxim’s beautiful first wife died tragically, but what really happened? (You can read more summaries and reviews by clicking on the image of the book. It will take you to Amazon).
This novel is definitely in the Gothic genre. The writing is beautiful and instantly pulls you in. The characters are unique and expertly described. Each has their own foibles and good attributes. One of the things that makes me love this book; and the characteristic that makes me ponder it so much. It really is worth the read and I think it would make an excellent book club book. So I thought I would give some book club discussion questions. P.S. There might be some spoilers in the questions, so wait to read them until after you’ve read the book!
Spoiler Alert Below!
Book Group Discussion Questions
Throughout the book, the reader never learns the narrators/main characters name (or even much about her beyond the fact that she is an orphan and likes to sketch). Do you think this fact changed the way you read the story? How did it affect your understanding of the main character?
When we finally learn what happened to Rebecca, Maxim admits that he let their marriage continue because he loved Manderley too much. Is Maxim as much at fault as Rebecca? Would you describe what Maxim felt for Manderley as love or pride?
We know from the very beginning of the story that Maxim and the second Mrs. de Winter can never go back to Manderley. Did you believe it was because it was no longer there, or for some other reason?
Was Rebecca a result of her upbringing by Danvers? Is this what you feel the author wanted the reader to believe?
Do you feel that Maxim answered for his actions? Do others around him excuse him too easily because deep down they know he is good, or because they knew that he was manipulated by Rebecca?
Rebecca’s beauty was mentioned by all that knew her in the novel. Do you feel that her good looks allowed her to get away with more than she would have if she had been average looking? Do you think we still do this today? Or do you think it was some other attribute in her that allowed her to get away with what she did?