Let me start by saying that I’ve seen the Hitchcock adaptation years ago before I purchased the book. Therefore, the plot held no surprises for me. I really liked the movie so I was hoping to get greater character development and more detail from the novel.
I did not enjoy this book at all. I found the main character incredibly annoying. Some of her extreme social discomfort was completely understandable, especially for someone who was not brought up into the kind of lifestyle she marries into. But there were other moments of whining for which I had trouble feeling any sort of compassion. Her lack of confidence with her clothing style, for example, seemed like something she could easily change, especially with her new status. I understand that all of these moments of insecurity are meant to demonstrate her vulnerability and self-doubt with her place as the new Mrs. de Winter. But some of these were intolerable . I don’t need to “like” a character to enjoy a book, but I just got so frustrated with this woman who was unable to accept her quirks but did not make any effort to change them.
Aside from the whining, there wasn’t the additional character development I was hoping for. Obviously, I think if I didn’t know what was going to happen I might have found the book a little more thrilling. But I’ve done this before and gotten so much out of reading a book after seeing the movie version and already knowing the basic storyline.
I know this is a beloved novel and my negative opinion is unusual. Did I miss something? Have you read this book and felt the same way?
Author: Daphne du Maurier
Publisher, year: Avon, 2002 (first published in 1938)
Chic rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆