Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .
The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.
This book is one I’ve wanted to read for a while and I’ve had recommended to me multiple times because of my love for Gothic stories such as Jane Eyre. I must say it was a good recommendation and I ended up really enjoying it! I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this book, other than a Gothic romance with darker undertones.
This book starts off slowly, and honestly didn’t pick up for me until around 300 pages in, which was definitely the most disappointing thing for me. I was still enjoying the book, but it felt quite sudden and inconsistent when it really got going. The first part of this book focused largely on the relationship between the main character and her new husband and they move back to Manderley, her new husbands property.
I wondered how many people there were in the world who suffered, and continued to suffer, because they could not break out from their own web of shyness and reserve,
One of the biggest surprises I found with this book was the discussions of mental health, especially anxiety. Mrs de Winter suffered from anxiety, even though it wasn’t necessarily named as such. I related to a lot of the way she talked about her feelings, which was something I didn’t expect to get from this book at all. The characters were also very morally grey, which I found super interesting to read about because there was a part of me that couldn’t help but love the characters in a way.
Once the plot picked up, I honestly couldn’t put this book down. Even though I wanted to read it before this point, I found it so much more compelling after the plot changed around the 300ish page mark. Without going into the plot too much as I don’t want to spoil the book, the plot becomes quicker and more compelling, and I kept reaching cliffhangers and not wanting to put the book down.
and in their blindness and folly built up a great distorted wall in front of them that hid the truth.
Overall, my only complaint at the end of this one was the slight inconsistency in the plot, but I did really love the book. The Gothic atmosphere was impeccable and I was definitely a little creeped out in places, which I loved! I only wish I’d managed to read it in autumn.
4.5 out of 5 stars
May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽
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