Rebecca’s Tale by Sally Beauman (Book Summary)

The book is divided into four parts: Julyan, Grey, Rebecca and Ellie.

Rebecca is the first wife of Maxim de Winter. She lived in Manderley, a very beautiful estate owned by the de Winters for centuries. 

On the first part, Colonel Arthur Julyan, Rebecca’s dear friend, narrated that he has been haunted because he’s guilty of not protecting Rebecca after her death. Even though he suspected that Rebecca’s husband which was also his friend killed her, he kept silent about it. 20 years later he was still haunted and decided to investigate how Rebecca died so he will be free from guilt, and Rebecca can now rest in peace, since it has been rumored that she was haunting Manderley.

Aside from recalling what it was like in Manderley when he was younger and how Rebecca was like, he discovered nothing. He was also delivered a parcel that contained Rebecca’s notebook, which was empty except for two photos – Rebecca as a child and a picture of Manderley. He sought the help of Terrence Grey who was a visitor at Kerrith and has been investigating about Manderley and Rebecca’s death. Since Arthur has become sickly, he eventually trusted Grey and relied on his findings.

The second part is narrated by Terrence Grey, whose real name was Tom Galbraith. He found out a number of things about Rebecca, but still could not figure out how she died. By talking to Frith, a Manderley Butler, and Flavell, Rebecca’s cousin, he found out a few things about Rebecca. She was raised by her mother, Isabel (real name is Isolda), who later died of childbirth. Rebecca moved with her father, Devlin, who died in an accident while riding a horse. His most significant discovery was finding out that he is Rebecca’s younger (half) brother. Their mother died when he was born, and he was sent to orphanage by Mrs. Danvers with Rebecca having no clue about it until 11 yrs later, when Danvers confessed it. His father might be an actor Isolda worked with and had a short fling with.

The third part is narrated by Rebecca de Winter. Another parcel was delivered to Julyan. It was a notebook by Rebecca, her diary, but his daughter Ellie kept it from him since he was still sick. Ellie gave the diary to Terrence Grey. On her diary Rebecca narrated her life in Manderley and his past. She addressed the diary to the child she thinks she is carrying. She believed that she was 4 months pregnant. She narrated that when she saw Manderley, she knew that it was for her. She first met Max when she was fourteen during an event in Manderley. She came there with her aunt Evangeline. Maxim didn’t bother knowing about her on the first meeting, but on the second meeting when she was a woman, she ended up as Maxim’s fiance. She claimed that he was so inlove with her. They never had a wedding but told people that they did. When she came to Manderley she transformed it and hosted wonderful parties. 

Her diary was unfinished, which means there must be another notebook. 

The fourth part is narrated by Ellie. She discovered that Mrs. Danvers, the very loyal servant of Rebecca, is still living on Rebecca’s flat. When she came there Mrs. Danvers who was very ill, has mistaken her for Rebecca. It was revealed that it was her who burned Manderley down, because she thought she was following Rebecca’s orders. Ellie also got her theories confirmed when the second wife of Maxim came for a visit to deliver Rebecca’s 3rd notebook. She has been the one who delivered the notebooks since she thinks that she should thank Arthur Julyan for keeping silent even though he suspected that Maxim killed Rebecca. The 2nd wife confirmed that Maxim killed Rebecca, by shooting her on the chest straight to her heart because she provoked him. She told him that she was having a baby from another man who’s going to be the heir. 

The 3rd notebook that was delivered was not empty but the pages were ripped to make the words unreadable. It was a letter to Maxim and they never had the chance to read it. 

Arthur Julyan died peacefully after a joyful lunch with Ellie, Rose (his sister), Tom, Nick (Tom’s friend) and Francis (his doctor). 

The book ended with Ellie selling the house to Francis and leaving for Cambridge. 

Relevant scenes: 

  • Rebecca’s mother is Isolda, the sister of Evangeline and Virginia. Virginia was the wife of Lionel de winter. Isolda was sent abroad because it was discovered that Lionel was pursuing her. The three sisters, also known as the three graces, are well known for their beauty. 
  • Since Lionel and Isolda had an affair, Rebecca feared that she might be his daughter and was relieved to know that she’s not. Rebecca and Maxim are therefore cousins, but he doesn’t know about it. No one remembered Rebecca when she first came to Manderley and Kerrith, not even her cousins Jocelyn and Elinor whom she lived with for a while. Arthur also did not acknowledge her. The only person who knew her was Maxim’s grandmother whom she got along really well.
  • Rebecca was said to have an evil’s eye because the men who wronged her died the way she wanted them to die. Tom believed that May, the person who adopted him and a friend of Rebecca, protected him from Rebecca since every man that comes her way is filled of misfortune.
  • During their investigation, Ellie fell inlove with Tom Galbraith but was later on told that they can’t be more than friends. All along Ellie thought that Tom was inlove with his bestfriend’s late wife, Julia, but then it was revealed that he was inlove with his bestfriend himself, Nick. Ellie ended up getting close to Francis who asked her for marriage. Ellie said no and chose to study at Cambridge. 

Unanswered Questions: 

  1. During the 2nd Mrs. de Winter’s confession that Maxim killed Rebecca, Ellie hesitated because there were lapses. Mrs. de Winter said he shot Rebecca on the heart and there was so much blood, but Ellie knew that it isn’t bloody when the heart is shot. On Ellie’s thoughts it was suggested that Mrs. de Winters could be lying, was she really lying? (On this part, Ellie’s theories left unanswered.)
  2. When Tom, Arthur and Ellie went to Manderley, Ellie noticed that a window was forcibly dislocated. Arthur also saw a figure on Rebecca’s boathouse. On another visit, Tom saw a wreath of Azalea on the boathouse and he was sure that whoever left it was the same person whom Arthur saw. However, when Mrs. de Winter said that she was the one who left the flowers, did it also mean that she was the one who left the tracks on Manderley and disloscated the windows?
  3. Eva Harmoni

    Facebook 𝅓 Instagram 𝅓 Twitter

Published by

Eva Harmoni

There was one night when the rain poured so hard, and i didn't want it to stop. Weird, because i was afraid and amused by the sound of the rain and thunder. The sound of it made me less alone that night. The next day i woke up to find my collection of journals soaked. I keep it near the window to make sure no one could read it. The writings can still be read but i was devastated by the damage. I wanted it preserved but i don't want it published. Still amused by the rain but afraid of the wrath it could bring to my journals, i created this blog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s