I can’t believe it took me this long to finally read this classic gothic tale (one that is so short, yet so captivating), but I’m happy I finally did…especially in time for the Netflix film adaption coming out this month! I would like to delve into the unabridged version eventually…but I hope I won’t be disappointed compared to this version.
A young woman falls in love with an older gentleman, whose wife Rebecca recently died under mysterious circumstances. However, things soon turn eerie when our protagonist arrives at the manor where Rebecca passed away and soon realizes that her presence has not entirely gone.
Reserved descriptions. While not a lot of people may not agree with me, the author never reveals the details of exactly what atrocities Rebecca had committed, just that she had committed them. The author’s refrain from certain descriptions helped me to infer for myself what kind of a person she truly was without necessarily telling me. I’ve always been a fan of authors who invite readers to fill in the gaps of a story with their imagination.
First-person narrative. The fact that the story is told from the POV of the new wife is the perfect omniscient choice, since it puts the reader and the protagonist in the same boat regarding what they know about the mystery surrounding Maxim, Rebecca, and their friends, servants, and neighbors.
Length. The only thing that really bugged me about the abridged version was how short it was. I knew an abridgment was going to be short, but the one I listened to was about half the length. I got to the abrupt ending and then asked, “where’s the rest of it?” wanting to know more. Still, I think this version is one used by teachers and readers who do not want an overabundance of information (like myself); just the solid beginning, middle, and end communicated.
Packed with great storytelling, mysterious characters, and a chilling mystery, I would recommend this book to lovers of gothic classics, suspense fans, and all-out mystery-readers. I would also recommend this to teachers who are introducing gothic literature to high school or college freshman. It is an easy read and contains quite a few gothic elements: romance, a gloomy setting, the supernatural, psychological terror, and mystery. For those of you who like listening to stories, especially gothic ones like this one, I listened to one of the versions in the public domain via YouTube. Actress Alex Kingston also narrates a version here.