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Before I write a post describing the woes and joys of my recent quick… - There's always time for a book
Before I write a post describing the woes and joys of my recent quick trip to the Netherlands I'll finish off my Rebecca discussion. The other entries were frankly easier to write as I basically did a running commentary soon after reading a section, whereas I decided to polish off the last lot of chapters before I left on Wednesday. And now I am having trouble remembering what my impressions of that section were.

I liked how the tension continued to racket up through the inquest - it was believable and well done, I think. And the blackmail scene was cool too, although I think I would have been tempted just to kick Favel out the door - a note saying someone wants to see you doesn't necessarily mean they don't want to kill themselves.

I was surprised when the doctor said Rebecca was terminally ill, not pregnant, although in retrospect the pregnancy thing wouldn't have surprised many of the characters so I can see why that wouldn't have worked. But still, very funky twist. I don't know that I buy Rebecca taunting Maxim with a fake pregnancy in the hope she'd be shot. I see that her being a) a bitch or b) driven mad by the cancer and the knowledge she couldn't even have her own life let alone bear another.

The ending: anti-climatic. I think I was expecting something that was going to cause Maxim and Mrs deW2 to have to live overseas, such as being charged with Rebecca's murder and having to flee the country never to return. Why was Mrs deW2 moping around like they were exiles from British life when, really, they could have moved to a different part of the country? I mean, I know Maxim loved the house, and Mrs deW2 had, um 2? happy days there, but is that really worth moping around forever over?

If it wasn't for the narrator at the start acting so confident over her life I don't know that I would think Mrs deW2 had progressed that much. She can talk to servants, sure, but still seems to float along through decisions such going to watch the inquiry. And I still feel like her Maxim-dependedness undermines her power gaining.

And I'm not familiar enough with the genre of gothic romance to pick up if Du Maurier challenged it or not. Any clues welcome :)

I will return if I think of anything else. Especially once I've read everyone else's posts and the introduction to my copy!

Overall, this was great fun. I got to read a book I had been wanting to read for ages, and read other people's comments at the same time. I know I got a lot more out of it than if I had been reading alone. Thanks Leila!

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6 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 1st, 2007 12:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

Why Abroad

Right after I finished, I was also puzzled as to why they were living abroad. It's clear he wasn't running from the law or anything (unless maybe he tried to scam his insurance company after the fire.) I think my final conclusion is they are living abroad because , after all they've been through, they haven't made any positive changes in their lives. Maxim is still so obsessed with public opinion that he'd rather permanently leave Britain than face people who might have gossip about him. (Remember in the beginning when she mentions that they have to avoid all the best hotels and most popular destinations lest they run into an acquaintance?) And sure, Mrs.deW2 is more confident now--we see that whole role-reversal thing--but she is still slavishly devoted. Why else would she agree to live in perpetual exile at two star hotels? Any normal wife would have been like, "Get over yourself. It's time to hire an architect and rebuild this pile."

If they'd overcome their weird hang-ups, they might still have made a great life for themselves--but, as others have noted, neither of them are strong characters.

emmaco From: emmaco Date: December 1st, 2007 05:01 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Why Abroad

I think my expectations as to what caused enough of a scandal to move overseas was a bit inflated - I obviously didn't pay enough attention to Maxim's shallow character!

I think I might like this book better because of the fun group reading thing - I wonder what I would have thought if I had zipped through it on my own?
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 1st, 2007 05:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Why Abroad

This is definitely the kind of book that benefits from group discussion. With characters this quirky and writing this ambiguous, different viewpoints really expand the meaning.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 1st, 2007 05:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Why Abroad

Above comment by Elizabeth.
philia_fan From: philia_fan Date: December 1st, 2007 04:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think they're abroad because they're basically fugitives. They don't HAVE to be, legally, but they're still haunted, and maybe continually moving about abroad gives them the illusion that they're on vacation. Don't you get the feeling that she's just trying to keep Maxim sane?

See, I think it's closer to horror than to romance. It's set up like a romance but is almost a parody of it. It's more like horror, because the deWinters never feel free even at the end. There's a sense in which they know that Rebecca won.
emmaco From: emmaco Date: December 1st, 2007 05:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think I just expected that they felt they had to stay away, and that it was something more serious than nostalgia for the past. But yeah, you get the impression Maxim is only just hanging on. Mrs deW2 was happy too quickly when she found out Rebecca was dead.

I agree that it's not a romance, it's more of a suspense novel in my mind.
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