Mrs. Danvers takes no shit. And I love her for it.
I never once thought that when I picked this book up, I would end up loving the "villain" of the story. How can one not love a character like Mrs. Danvers though? Such mettle, such spunk. She definitely took the old adage to not get angry, get even to heart, and then some.
Rebecca is just straight up classic, gothic noir. It's a beautifully written mystery, with life and intrigue breathed into every aspect of the story. Even something as seemingly inconsequential as an unnamed narrator provides a wealth of information about the story itself. Never knowing this character by anything other than the second Mrs. de Winter lends itself to fully allow us to grasp the depths of her insecure naivety about her situation at Manderley, as a wife and stepping into the shoes of the beloved Rebecca. It adds an even greater level of suspense to her situation as we try to suss out what is going on at this house, but never quite being able to fully see the entire picture. It also adds a perverse sense of pleasure as you watch the plot unfold, leading to an abrupt end to that naivety and eventually take control of her title, no longer being unnamed but rather becoming the Mrs. de Winter because of that. The experiences of the second Mrs. de Winter coming to terms of life in the shadow of Rebecca, the twists and turns that were are varied as the road that led up to Manderley, that ending...just everything about this book lends itself to an incredible read.
I'm unsure where people see the romance in this book, though. The second Mrs. de Winter was a naive girl who fell in love with the handsome, rich older man who held a passing fancy for the complete antithesis of his late wife. I can't help but think that was the point to leaving her unnamed though. This wasn't her and Maxim's love story. In some odd kind of way, it was Mrs. Danvers and maybe a little bit of Manderley's itself. After all, when Mrs. Danvers decided to get even, we see where she went with it.
But I digress.. I guess that is why books such as this can stand the test of time, some people see a romance coming to bloom, others cheer the sociopathic (and maybe a little overly obsessive?) housekeeper.