Boy, it was hard finishing up at the end of chapter 18. It ended on such a cliffhanger. This seems an appropriate point to remind readers that there are spoilers in these discussions!
OK, before chapter 18...the preparation for the ball. I thought Mrs deW2 did a great job of demonstrating her disempowered state by being so excited over the attention her secret costume was bringing her. And I was leery over the fact that her costume was suggested by Mrs Danvers Rebecca Worshipper (and how freaky Mrs Danvers GOES THROUGH HER BIN!). But still, it was nice to see Mrs deW2 happy, even though the moment that it all came crashing down seemed inevitable.
Maxim continued to be a complete prat. He continued to treat Mrs deW2 like a child, and then was angry at her for not knowing something about his past, when he hasn't exactly been a chatterbox about it all, has he? I hope he gets some depth of character soon, at the moment he seems to be a placeholder that reminds us of The Mysterious Past and the things that can wrong in a relationship.
Would Maxim saying "A husband is not so very different from a father, after all" been less horrible when this book was published?
I liked that Mrs deW2 was honest with herself for what felt like the first time the morning after the ball. She admitted her marriage was not successful and she and Maxim were not acting as proper spouses to each other. And I nearly cheered when she decided to go confront Mrs Danvers - some actual decision making!
And wow, the question over whether Rebecca was horrible or not has pretty much been answered, hasn't it? Bringing in lovers to the beach house, flogging her poor horse...and was it implied she was having an affair with her icky cousin? I'm starting to agree more with whoever the commentor was that compared her to Scarlett O'Hara, except I had a sneaking liking and respect for Scarlett which I don't have for Rebecca.
Mrs Danvers went from creepy to evil in chapter 18. It was so horrible watching her encourage Mrs deW2 to commit suicide. But the whole scene was very well done, I was completely sucked in. I'm curious about what Frank is worried about - that Max is going to kill himself? Is he going to tell Mrs deW2 that she's wrong, Maxim didn't love Rebecca? (Not that that would really help, I mean he still hasn't been loving towards Mrs deW2 anyway). Will Mrs deW2 regain any of the backbone she's occasionally displayed?