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'Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.'
So begins Daphne du Maurier's masterpiece, Rebecca. When the story's nameless narrator, a young and unassuming lady's maid, meets a wealthy and handsome widower, she is immediately swept off her feet in what many would've considered an unlikely 20th century match. Maxim de Winter, the owner of a large country estate by the name of Manderley, whisks his new bride away to his home in Cornwall, hoping to rid himself of his sinister past. As the heroine begins her new life at Manderley, she comes to the realisation that the shadow of her predecessor, Rebecca de Winter, lives on through the masonry of the home and through the stern and scathing housekeeper, Mrs Danvers.
A tense and unnerving tale, Rebecca depicts the crippling effect that self-doubt and external manipulation can have on a young and innocent woman's spirit. Due to her own feelings of jealousy, du Maurier based the tale on her husband's first fiancée, claiming that Rebecca would demonstrate the 'influence of a first wife on a second', where 'wife two is haunted day and night' and 'tragedy is looming very close.' Much like her heroine, Daphne du Maurier was said to be solitary, comfortable with her own company and possessed of an incredible imagination. First and foremost, however, du Maurier was an excellent storyteller, and Rebecca is undoubtedly a shining example of her talent.
Anna Massey was an award-winning stage and screen actress best remembered for her roles in Peeping Tom, Frenzy, The Machinist, Possession and The Importance of Being Earnest.
On the small screen, Anna became a mainstay of British costume drama, acting in adaptations of Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Anna Karenina, The Cherry Orchard, and Oliver Twist. In 1986, she won a BAFTA for her performance in the BBC adaptation of Hotel du Lac and was made a CBE in the 2004 New Year Honours List.
Her audiobook narration credits include Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility, Hotel du Lac, Nicholas Nickleby, Fairy Stories and Talking Heads.
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A classic story of love and life.
- John Nichols
What a treat...