When I browsed the initial chapters of the book, it felt almost cliché to me; a simple girl with a humble background who probably only wants her husband to be the nice-ish chap among a bunch of countryfolk, then she could bustle in her kitchen, clean as a pin, laying the table for supper while her husband could lean over a cottage gate in the evenings, smoking a pipe, proud of a very tall hollyhock he has grown himself. ‘Unfortunately’ she did not get to marry her imaginary husband, she married Mr. de Winter instead, a very wealthy man who comes from an entirely different class.
However, as I push myself further I started enjoy reading it. Maybe I do love the use of the romantic language, the vivid descriptions of the feminine emotions. At one point I was especially intrigued by Mrs. Danvers’s character, the head housekeeper at Manderley. It would be too dry for a smoggy dark tale like this one without the creepy footsteps of Mrs. Danvers’. Thanks to Daphne du Maurier’s canny choice, the characteristics of Mrs. Danvers is indeed exquisite, almost like a provocateur, a sub-archetype belonging to the jester family. She is like the puppet of Rebecca or a lingering shadow for revenge, so incapable of blessing the new relationship, always resentful of the poor and the vulnerable and is always flatteringly in alliance with the wicked and the powerful.
I hope that Mrs. Danvers is not a spinster. Otherwise there would be one more cliché that spinsters are just too rigid to admit that they have muddled up fantasies with reality. However she could well have been a spinster. The title ‘Mrs.’ was conventionally allowed to a housekeeper in a well-to-do house.