“Rebecca” Book Summary and Reviews | Written by Daphne du Maurier (1938)

Rebecca book summary

“Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier is a gripping psychological thriller that explores the haunting power of the past and the complexities of love and identity. The novel is narrated by an unnamed young woman who becomes the second wife of Maxim de Winter, a wealthy widower. Set in the atmospheric landscape of Manderley, the grand estate that was once occupied by Maxim’s first wife, Rebecca, the story unfolds as the protagonist struggles to find her place amidst the shadows of her predecessor.

The book opens with the protagonist working as a companion to the wealthy Mrs. Van Hopper while in Monte Carlo. It is there that she meets Maxim de Winter, and a whirlwind romance ensues. They marry and return to Manderley, a place shrouded in the memories of Rebecca. The protagonist finds herself constantly compared to Rebecca, who was charismatic, beautiful, and seemingly perfect in every way. As she attempts to navigate her new role as the mistress of Manderley, the protagonist becomes increasingly obsessed with Rebecca and the secrets that surround her death.

As the story unfolds, dark truths are revealed, and the protagonist becomes entangled in a web of deception, jealousy, and betrayal. The presence of Rebecca permeates every corner of Manderley, creating an atmosphere of tension and suspense. The climax of the novel reveals the shocking truth about Rebecca’s fate and the depths of her manipulation.

“Rebecca” is known for its evocative writing style and atmospheric descriptions. Du Maurier’s prose is rich and immersive, drawing readers into the world of Manderley and its inhabitants. The author skillfully explores themes of identity, the power of memory, and the destructive nature of secrets. The novel’s gothic undertones and psychological complexity make it a must-read for fans of suspenseful and atmospheric literature.


Here are some memorable quotes from “Rebecca”:

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

  • This opening line sets the haunting and mysterious tone of the novel, immediately drawing readers into the story.

“I wondered how many people there were in the world who suffered, and continued to suffer, because they could not break out from their own web of shyness and reserve, and in their blindness and folly built up a great distorted wall in front of them that hid the truth.”

  • This quote reflects the protagonist’s introspective and observant nature as she reflects on the barriers people create for themselves.

“We can never go back again, that much is certain. The past is still close to us. The things we have tried to forget and put behind us would stir again, and that sense of fear, of furtive unrest, struggling at length to blind unreasoning panic – now mercifully stilled, thank God – might in some manner unforeseen become a living companion as it had before.”

  • This quote encapsulates the lingering presence of the past and its ability to resurface, shaping the lives of the characters.

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Reader Reviews:

  1. “Daphne du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’ is a masterpiece of suspense and psychological depth. The atmospheric setting of Manderley and the haunting presence of Rebecca captivated me from beginning to end. The complex characters and the unraveling of secrets kept me on the edge of my seat. It’s a must-read for fans of Gothic literature and anyone who enjoys a chilling tale of love, betrayal, and the power of memory.” 
  2. “I couldn’t put ‘Rebecca’ down. Du Maurier’s writing style is exquisite, creating an atmosphere that is both beautiful and eerie. The protagonist’s journey from insecurity to strength is compelling, and the revelations about Rebecca’s character are shocking. It’s a classic that has stood the test of time, and I highly recommend it.” 
  3. “While ‘Rebecca’ is often categorized as a romantic novel, it is so much more than that. It delves into the complexities of relationships and the lasting impact of the past. Du Maurier’s prose is captivating, and the story unfolds with a perfect balance of suspense and character development. It’s a book that stays with you long after you’ve turned the last page.”


In conclusion, “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier is a must-read for fans of atmospheric and suspenseful literature. Its evocative writing style, intricate plot, and memorable characters make it a timeless classic. Readers are drawn into the world of Manderley and its dark secrets, as they navigate the complexities of love, identity, and the power of the past.

About the author

Daphne du Maurier (1907-1989) was an English author and playwright. She was known for her works of romantic suspense and psychological thrillers. Du Maurier’s writing was often characterized by its atmospheric settings, rich characterizations, and exploration of complex emotions. She authored several acclaimed novels, including “Jamaica Inn” and “The Birds,” but “Rebecca” remains her most famous work. Du Maurier’s contribution to literature continues to be celebrated for its enduring appeal and her ability to create immersive and haunting narratives.

Books by Daphne du Maurier