Published: June 2012
This is a new book. Condition: Brand New.
While working as the companion to a rich American woman on holiday in Monte Carlo, the unnamed narrator, a naïve young woman in her early 20s, becomes acquainted with a wealthy Englishman, Maximilian (Maxim) de Winter, a 42-year-old widower. After a fortnight of courtship, she agrees to marry him and, after the wedding and honeymoon, accompanies him to his mansion in Cornwall, the beautiful West Country estate Manderley.Mrs. Danvers, the sinister housekeeper, was profoundly devoted to the first Mrs. de Winter, Rebecca, who died in a boating accident about a year before Maxim and the second Mrs. de Winter met. She continually attempts to undermine the new Mrs. de Winter psychologically, subtly suggesting to her that she will never attain the beauty, urbanity, and charm her predecessor possessed. Whenever the new Mrs. de Winter attempts to make changes at Manderley, Mrs. Danvers describes how Rebecca ran it when she was alive. Each time Mrs. Danvers does this, she implies that the new Mrs. de Winter lacks the experience and knowledge necessary for running an important estate. Cowed by Mrs. Danvers' imposing manner, the new mistress simply caves in.She is soon convinced that Maxim regrets his impetuous decision to marry her and is still deeply in love with the seemingly perfect Rebecca. The climax occurs at Manderley's annual costume ball. Mrs. Danvers manipulates the protagonist into wearing a replica of the dress shown in a portrait of one of the former inhabitants of the estate-the same costume worn by Rebecca to much acclaim shortly before her death. The narrator has a drummer announce her entrance using the name of the lady in the portrait: Caroline de Winter. When the narrator shows Maxim the dress, he gets very angry at her and orders her to change.Shortly after the ball, Mrs. Danvers reveals her contempt for the second Mrs. de Winter, believing she is trying to replace Rebecca, and reveals her deep, unhealthy obsession with the dead woman. Mrs. Danvers tries to get Mrs. de Winter to commit suicide by encouraging her to jump out of the window. However, she is thwarted at the last moment by the disturbance occasioned by a nearby shipwreck. A diver investigating the condition of the wrecked ship's hull also discovers the remains of Rebecca's boat, with her body still on board.