[AudioBook] – Rebeca by Daphne du Maurier
Mrs. Danvers, the sinister housekeeper, was deeply 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 tries to psychologically undermine the new Mrs. De Winter, subtly suggesting to her that she will never achieve the beauty, civility, and charm that her predecessor possessed.
Every time the new Mrs. De Winter tries to make changes at Manderley, Mrs.
Danvers describes how Rebecca handled it when she was alive. Every time Mrs. Danvers does this, she hints that the new Mrs. De Winter lacks the experience and knowledge necessary to manage a major property. Frightened by Mrs. Danvers’ imposing manners, the new lover simply gives up.
She is soon convinced that Maxim regrets her 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.
Ms. Danvers manipulates the protagonist into wearing a replica of the dress shown in a portrait of one of the property’s former inhabitants, the same outfit that Rebecca wore to great acclaim shortly before her death.
The narrator has a drummer announce her entry using the name of the lady in the portrait: Caroline de Winter. When the narrator shows the dress to Maxim, he gets very angry with her and orders him to change out of it.