That haunting line opened Daphne Du Maurier’s treasured 1938 romantic thriller “Rebecca,” which was published in 1938. Lauded by critics, it quickly became a best-seller and has been in print ever since. And for good reason.
Du Maurier wraps readers around her little finger with this addictive tale of a timid young woman-her name is never mentioned-who meets and falls in love with an enigmatic wealthy widower, Maxim de Winter, while in Monte Carlo working as a paid companion to the obnoxious American, Mrs. Van Hopper. Max and the young woman soon fall in love. They marry and he takes her home to his gothic estate Manderley run with an iron-fist by the tightly wound housekeeper Mrs. Danvers who is obsessed with the late, charismatic Rebecca, the late wife of Maxim.
Two years after its publication, “Gone with the Wind” producer David O. Selznick