Daphne du Maurier was partially inspired by Jane Eyre when writing this book, so I could not help compare it to that book which I love. The characters are not exactly the same, but I enjoyed reading this book almost as much. It is very well written. I’m not someone who reads a lot gothic or mystery literature, but the atmosphere is almost perfect. Du Maurier is an excellent writer. The prose can be poetic. She’s good at dialogue especially with characterizations as well. Mrs. Danvers is incredibly creepy, de Winter is mysterious, and the nameless protagonist is relateable. While very naive at the beginning, it’s hard not to feel sympathetic for the character. She’s also been put in a very hard situation when they go back to Manderley. The use of the nameless protagonist device is something I encountered in Fight Club, so I was not put off by that. Though it did feel du Maurier was teasing the reader at the beginning with the fact we’d never find out. All in all, a very good read with lots of atmosphere, suspense, and just enough romance.
I did not read this book for awhile because I had seen the Alfred Hitchcock adaptation with Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. I did not have the time to rewatch the film, but I remember liking it very much as I do most Hitchcock films, and I also like Olivier. I recommend it as a companion to the book.