This is probably not the most fitting book to be reviewing on Christmas day, but what can I say, I like to be rebellious. While I’m opening presents and stuffing my face with pot roast and cookies, I thought you all would enjoy this ranting book review. What is more fun on Christmas day than a rant review?
Anyway, this is a book I have wanted to read for years, and one I’m both happy to have gotten to and sad I even bothered reading.
Synopsis: This book follows a young idealistic woman who marries a wealthy man and returns with him to his estate, only to be drawn into the mysterious death of his previous wife.
I’m not even going to bother with trying not to spoil anything, because I honestly could not care either way.
Before I get too ranty, let me pull myself back and talk about some of the things in this book which I did enjoy. Du Maurier knows how to set a fantastic, ominous setting. You can feel the suspense through the eerie descriptions and choice of words. The writing at times feels poetic, and I enjoy much of the word choice. The ending of the mystery also was quite satisfying, a few quick twists to bring the story together. However, it has also been a long time since I have read a book which is just so boring.
It was an interesting choice to make the main protagonist, the second wife, nameless. She is never given a name. On one hand, I liked the idea of her starting off as a naive, frightened girl and truly coming into herself, but I felt the execution left a lot to be desired. She goes from being one character to behaving quite differently, only because she learns her husband killed his previous wife, who was actually a horrible person. I understand that dramatic shifts in how they perceive reality can change a person, but not so drastically so quickly. It made no sense to her character.
For about the first three-quarters of the book, I was bored to death. You have a lot of hints that something may be going on, but they are pretty much the same hints over and over again. I never felt like the story was progressing or we were getting closer to the truth. The last fourth of the book did a really good job twisting what most of the book told us, which I did enjoy. I enjoyed learning that Rebecca, the previous wife, was not good as everyone seemed to believe, but instead cruel and manipulative. I enjoyed the suspense of whether or not her husband would be caught for his crime of killing her, even if she baited him into it knowing she was dying.
My point is, for a short time in the book, I was thoroughly enjoying it. And then the ending came. The book ends with the new husband and wife returning to the estate to find it burning. It might have been the old servant who had loved Rebecca. It might have minorly damaged the house or majorly. We have no idea. And then the book ends.
There was no debate on whether or not Maxim de Winter was right or wrong for killing his wife, or how everyone else was affected. It just ended.
I have a feeling my opinion is an unpopular one for this book, because I know many people who absolutely love it. However, I did really enjoy Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier, so I have a feeling I dislike the author less than this actual story. I also feel like, if the book had been half the length and had a more fixed ending, it would not be so bad.
Have you read this book, or seen any of the adaptations? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, follow my blog for more musings and, as always,
Best wishes in your life full of adventure,