I felt sorry for Mrs deW2 (thanks for supplying the name Gail!) when she arrived at Manderley. It sounded like starting a new job - people to impress, routines to learn, a place to learn your way around - only worse as it's her whole life. And Manderley, with its public visitors and wings and entrenched staff would be harder to settle into than most places (though I must say I quite fancy the idea of a large cooked breakfast being laid out for me every morning). Du Maurier did a great job of underlining how lonely and powerless Mrs deW2 is - I mean, not being able to light a fire in your own house because you can't get matches is pretty horrible.
But Mrs deW2's helplessness started to really get frustrating to me. And shy and socially inept she might be, but surely most women would realise asking their husband if the bay where their previous wife had drowned in was safe to swim in is not especially tactful? Or was this a sneaky way of trying to prise information out of Max about Rebecca?
I started to prefer Rebecca, with her distinctive handwriting, opinions on meals and organised parties. Which I guess I'm supposed to in order to show how the dead Rebecca overshadows the new wife's life. It is kind of creepy the way you can feel Mrs deW2 copying Rebecca's routines and preferences.
Mrs Danvers is super creepy with her skull face and skulking manner. I can't wait to read more of her, she seems like the perfect character for a gothic romance. Beatrice was such a welcome relief, though, she seemed so normal and open, a great contrast to all the angst and secrets everyone else has.
More opinions available at Bookshelves of Doom.