" (Dumarier 2) is the famous opening line to the classic novel Rebecca. Right from the beginning Dumaurier builds up the mystery of Manderley by showing a conflict between the way the main characters live now verses how they remember the tragic events of the past. The narrator is an inexperienced young girl who is overwhelmed when she moves into Manderley. The husband, Maxim, is still troubled by the death of his last wife Rebecca, which happened almost a year before. Rebecca is "a heroine that we never see in the flesh, but whose spell is written through every page" (Weeks 163). Mrs. Danvers is Rebecca's former maid who has sinister intentions and remains loyal to the dead Rebecca and is even obsessed with her in some ways. "Mrs. Danvers' relationship to Rebecca, is such that she could never allow herself to believe that any human being could destroy her" (Kelly 60). As clues to the cause of Rebecca' death are uncovered, the story form of the story changes. Dumarier uses not only writing techniques such as foreshadowing and symbolism to make the novel more suspenseful, but she also uses the elements of greed, deception, and insecurity to change Rebecca from a Gothic Romance novel into a successful mystery. .
"The basic structure of Rebecca is that of the modern Gothic Romance" (Masterplots 3). The characters and the setting are similar to other books of the time. The narrator who goes un-named, is the "typical heroine of a Gothic Romance" (Masterplots 3). Her character is not very developed but the reader is able to relate to and sympathize with her. Rebecca also has the perfect setting for a Gothic Romance. Manderley is the isolated, beautiful, and mysterious place that is what really makes the story so engrossing. If the story took place anywhere else it would not have the same effect. There is a hint of the supernatural with the feeling that Rebecca still haunts the corridors of Manderley.