|Hubert the book prop and Rebecca|
What took me so long? It's clear I should have read this a long time ago.
My defense is: it is a great work of suspense, so suspenseful that I had to read it slowly, pausing at times in dread, particularly the first half. (Up to the scene of the dress. You know what I mean.) It was very nearly painful. It is so very easy to imagine yourself (at least I thought so) into the position of the young narrator arriving at this mysterious, voluptuous house, full of people who understand all the social rules that you do not, uncertain and alone. Haunted and haunting.
Shiver. And du Maurier does it all without ghosts, with just the words, Je reviens.
The second half was a little easier in a way. While the first half was psychological suspense, the second half was driven more by the suspense of events; it is much faster moving, but for that less emotionally moving. In the immediate aftermath of that scene with the dress, I was on the edge of being exasperated with our narrator, and so events needed to move more rapidly; otherwise the narrator will seem too weak-willed. But events overtake her.
And it moves to a tremendous ending. That final twist? Impressive and sly.
"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 was what I had done."
And for RIP XIII:
And those opening scenes where the narrator first falls in love Maxim de Winter occur in Monaco. How many other Monaco books even are there?