Romantic Suspense. It’s not a genre I read very often anymore. To be honest, the first thing I think of when I think of Romantic Suspense is JD Robb’s In Death series. So when I picked up Rebecca and the front cover was emblazoned with the words “THE UNSURPASSED MODERN MASTERPIECE OF ROMANTIC SUSPENSE” in gold…I was a little nervous. I mean, I used to love JD Robb (Nora Roberts), but she’s not so much my taste anymore. Too much of a set pattern.
du Maurier’s MASTERPIECE starts out really slowly. If it wasn’t a Boxall book, I probably wouldn’t have continued. The main character, who is never even given a first name, is very meek and mousey. She meets a powerful, rich older man who sweeps her off her feet and away from her companion position to marry him and live in his big house. It’s very Jane Eyre…only without Bronte’s narration ability. The book does pick up once the couple arrives at Manderley, the new Mrs. Maxim de Winter’s social anxieties are more prevalent and it’s easier to feel sorry for her…and it’s clear that there is something very very wrong in the house. Not to mention her husband all but abandons her.
A couple of positives, a couple of negatives. There’s no question as to why this book has been popular. Once I got past the first few slow introduction chapters, the people were much more intriguing. du Maruier follows the old gothic style of the Bronte sisters, so it has that dark, mysterious feel that I love. It almost reminded me of Rosemary’s Baby at times in the drama–everyone is going about their normal day to day lives…except they’re not.
However, I always hate when I cannot determine the time frame in a book, and this really could have been any time between 1920 and 1950. I realize it was written in the 30s….but it just has such a general setting. I suppose that made it relatable to a lot of people in those years, but now it’s just frustrating. I have a few other irritants with this book, but I can’t voice them because…SPOILERS…so you’ll just have to figure them out on your own.
Mostly though, I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it either, so 3 Book Dragons for Rebecca.
FULFILLS BOXALL #100!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!