Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .
An extremely dark thriller by Daphne Du Maurier with a fantastic ending, Rebecca describes the power and influence of a dead woman and how her presence is felt even in her absence.
The story starts with a gentleman named Maxim de Winter who happens to offer a marriage proposal to an orphaned and working little girl as a maid. Gradually the proposal turns into an acceptance of marriage and Maxim heads to Manderley, his family home which is a big mansion. On arrival the girl meets Mrs Danvers, a housekeeper who manages the daily routine at Manderley. She seems to be strict and poised for the new Mrs. De winter. As the days go by the new Mrs. De Winter realises the closeness of Mrs. Danvers with Rebecca (1st wife of Maxim) and her presence being felt at each and every move.
The little new Mrs. De Winter is awed and confused with her behaviour as she keeps doubting all her actions. The new Mrs. De Winter realizes about a boat accident which happened to kill Rebecca. The story unfolds when Mrs. Danvers convinces the new Mrs. De Winter to revive the Manderley custom ball and herself gives a dress to the new lady which by the way happened to be Rebecca’s last ball dress. Mrs. Danvers’ clever play in believing the new lady was trying to replace Rebecca was a success.
The function was thwarted by a nearby shipwreck in which a body was found. The case investigation reopens and Maxim confesses to his second wife about the murder of Rebecca and how she always manupulated him and was cruel in nature. On the night of her death, Rebecca confessed to have been pregnant with another man which forced Maxim to pull the trigger and left her body in the ship and drowned it which was later found as a wreck. But the new lady found out through an old medical record that Rebecca could have never been pregnant and she hated all the men. It was later in the investigation declared that Rebecca committed suicide.
On returning home to the mansion, Maxim and the little lady happen to see a blaze and realize it was the mansion on fire. On enquiring, Mrs Danver had put the mansion on fire and left cursing them.
Though the initial narrative is long, it helps in culminating a strong story line slowly riveting and deviates into a dark thriller.