• Mary Laurence

Missing Manderly: A “Rebecca” Inspired Book List

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

Photo by Mary Laurence

So, you've read Rebecca.

If you are even a small part of the Bookstagram community, you probably experienced the complete and utter overexposure of the platform from Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. And, if you’re here, you were probably part of it! I know I was, though it was not my first time reading the beloved classic. It’s a magically suspenseful experience, and, once you’ve gotten through every page of beautifully descriptive writing, shocking plot twists, and an ending that holds up as one of du Maurier’s finest, you’re left shocked, amazed, and wanting to turn back to the beginning and start all over again.

After you’ve spent some time taking it all in, walking around listlessly with scenes still playing through your head, unable to find interest in any of the other books piled up on your reading stack, you find yourself just wanting more. That’s where I come in! I read Rebecca first over two years ago, and since then I’ve been seeking that same adrenaline rush in every new book, that mixture of suspense and romance, incredible writing, and fantastic visuals. In that time, I’ve gotten up a pretty solid list of books, so here I am to share them with you. If you’re still struggling through your Rebecca withdrawal, you’re almost certain to find something here to catch your interest and help you through it. Just keep reading!

1) The Moon-Spinners by Mary Stewart

Photo by Mary Laurence

It was the egret, flying out of the lemon grove, that started it.”

The first line of The Moonspinners has been described to me by a friend as almost as enchanting as the famously haunting first sentence of Rebecca. It perfectly symbolizes a beginning, a promise that there is more to come. And what a story it is. When a young English girl comes across an injured man while hiking in the hills of Greece, a story of robbery, kidnapping, and even murder unfolds.

The story is written in a lighter manner than Rebecca, perhaps because it is set under a Greek sun rather than the halls of an ancient mansion. But it holds much of the same suspense and a wonderfully subtle romance. It is a truly underrated book that I promise will be loved by fans of du Maurier and Agatha Christie!

2) Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Photo by Mary Laurence

In a classic tale of poverty to riches, young Pip is given a fortune by a mysterious benefactor and sets off to make a gentleman of himself, but he is inevitably caught up by his past and that of seemingly every person who has impacted his life. It is the epitome of dark academia, with escaped convicts, an almost certainly insane woman living in an overgrown manor house, and a dash of unrequited love.

3) The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier

Photo by Mary Laurence

An underrated gem in the world of even du Maurier’s most devoted fans, The House on the Strand is a gripping and suspenseful tale. Told from the perspective of its main character, Richard (Dick) Young, we see him staying at a friend’s country manor house as he undergoes an experiment few without Dick’s particular combination of bravery and boredom would attempt.

His friend has invented a tonic that seemingly sends one back in time. Skeptical at first, Dick takes it and finds himself in the exact same spot in Cornwall, but in the 14th century instead of his own. Dick is thrown into a fascinating and terrifying new world as he navigates the side effects of the tonic and finds himself more and more drawn to the life he sees others lead so many years before his own time.

4) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Photo by Mary Laurence

It’s easy to assume everyone has read this classic, but it’s just so similar to Rebecca that I couldn’t leave it off the list. The story’s titular character is an orphan who grows up to be a governess and goes to work at a gothically beautiful mansion, home to the rough and temperamental Rochester and his ward, the child Jane is governess to.

Similar to our Mrs. de Winter, throughout the book, Jane discovers her courage and purpose through the trials she suffers. The story is rich and dark, and the constant nail-biting what if moments simply leave you constantly wanting more.

5) My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier

Photo by Mary Laurence

I couldn’t possibly leave My Cousin Rachel off of this list. It falls somewhere right between Rebecca and The House on the Strand in style and is sure to be loved by fans of either.

Set once more in du Maurier’s beloved Cornwall, we focus on the life of our narrator, Phillip Ashley. Phillip is an orphan who was raised by his older cousin Ambrose. When his health sends him overseas, Ambrose leaves the care of the beloved estate to Phillip, who is happy in his purpose as its caretaker and has no idea of the impending events that will change his future forever.

Any more than this might spoil significant plot points, so all I can tell you is that anyone who loves the writing of Du Maurier, Dickens, or the Brontës is sure to enjoy this suspenseful romance. It definitely received five stars from me!

6) Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

Photo by Mary Laurence

I had to include a Christie on this list and decided that Death on the Nile would be a great choice, as it has a new adaptation coming out in December! The story revolves around the occupants of a cruise ship floating down the Nile, most pointedly the wealthy and beautiful Linnet Doyle. It is quickly evident to our detective, the famous Hercule Poirot, that Linnet is either adored or hated by all who know her, and, when a death on the ship occurs, every passenger is investigated with the utmost suspicion. A classic Christie, and truly one of the best Poirot mysteries, this will keep you on the edge of your seat for every twist and turn along the banks of the river Nile.

I hope you’ve found a new favorite somewhere along this little trip we’ve taken! I know this list contains quite a few of mine. Let me know in a comment if you’ve already leaped into any of them and what you thought!

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