Bookish Talks, Classics, Contemporary

Verity vs. Rebecca

Both of these novels have been talked about and discussed incessantly ever since they were published! Each on its own is a gripping, page-turner that kept me up at night!

While “Rebecca” is a must-read classic already, “Verity” is full of even more suspense! Daphne du Maurier and Colleen Hoover are both masterful at their writing skills and have kept me on the edge of my seat!

I absolutely loved both books, but I have to admit the similarities between them are so intriguing! Do you agree?

Is Verity just a retelling of Rebecca?

Let’s get down to it!

Be advised, spoilers ahead. You did not see that coming, did you? 😲

Similarities between “Verity” and “Rebecca”

  1. They are both first person narratives.
  2. The suspense is a killer, as are plot twists and surprises.
  3. Books have the names of the wife character, not the actual narrator
  4. The Narrator is insecure and intimidated by the wife character
  5. The Narrator has financial troubles, unlike the wife character
  6. Lowen and the second Mrs. de Winter are both caregivers before meeting the ones with whom they fall in love
  7. The wife’s friends are judgemental or even rude to the narrators.
  8. The imperfect love story between the wife and husband
  9. Both Verity and Rebecca are portrayed as psychopaths
  10. Both Verity and Rebecca have a nurse and a head housekeeper, respectively, who take care of them and antagonise the narrators further.
  11. The husbands are terrible people!
  12. The new couples work together to deceive the police and get out of the situation together, without facing consequences of murder.

And now…to detail everything

why do you insist on making everything boring?

1. They are both first person narratives.

That I think it’s a big plus for both of them. It adds to the suspense. It makes us identify with the narrator, especially since we find out everything they find out along with them. We hurt and fear when they hurt and fear.

powerful stuff, really

2. Suspense is a killer

I was absolutely enthralled by how easily I got into the atmosphere! I finished these books in one sitting and couldn’t get enough of them! “Rebecca” reeled me in with the nature and gloom while “Verity” had Verity’s manuscript with spicy details and deadly thoughts.

the fear is real

3. The Name of the Books

This one is obvious, but it had to be said. However, in both cases, I feel it was a perfect choice. The stories may be narrated by someone else, but the wives are really powerful and intriguing characters. They are the ones we really care about. It is their thoughts and actions that make us think and feel deeply. They excite in us awe and fear.

mostly fear, if we're being honest

4. An Insecure Narrator

Lowen is humbled by Verity’s success as an author compared to her own writing, while the second Mrs. de Winter’s manners, status and upbringing are nothing compared to Rebecca’s.

The contrast between the narrator and the wife is even more intriguing if we think about the husbands! How a man can fall in love with two such completely different people? …Because, even though we may forget, both husbands fell in love madly with such powerful women, only to switch to 180 degrees with their second choice. This contrast is extremely obvious to the narrators as well, contributing to them being so intimidated by the original wives.

sick or dead and i can still crush you like a bug

5. Financial trouble

The narrators have it, the original wives don’t.

Lowen has bills to pay and no home, nowhere else to go when she stays with Jeremy at Crawford’s residence. The second Mrs. de Winter was, before meeting Maxim, gaining her living as a paid companion, food and housing included.

Their poor financial situation is a major contributor to the insecurity they feel. It is what makes the second Mrs. de Winter not hesitant to change her social status. It is what kept her in a servant’s mentality afterward, impeding her to make a serious impression as Maxim’s wife. It is what keeps her from changing anything in the way Rebecca had arranged Manderlay.

Lowen is equally forced by financial reasons to take the job as co-author of Verity’s books. The entire Verity plot hinges on her inability to quickly get out of a weird house.

in terms of money...we have no money

6. The caregiver type

Lowen and the second Mrs. de Winter are both caregivers before meeting the ones with whom they fall in love. Lowen cares for her mother in the months before she passes away due to cancer, while the second Mrs. de Winter works for Mrs. Van Hopper. She is paid for the menial tasks she does for the lady, as well as for companionship. In both cases, they are portrayed as compassionate and loving to further the contrast between them and the wives.

Even more, in Lowen’s case, we can’t stop blaming her for becoming a mistress. The fact that she cares for her mother is meant to make her a more complex character, flawed but loveable nonetheless.

I am not so bad, am I?

7. How society judges

In both books the narrator gives off the feeling of being alone against the world. No ally in sight. No friend to confess and advise against mistakes. The second Mrs. de Winter finds an ally later on in Maxim’s sister, but she doesn’t understand everything either. Lowen remains isolated completely.

The feeling of loneliness they both give off is overwhelming and augments fear. It also intensifies when the wife’s friends are judgemental or even rude to the narrators. Of course, the two are in different situations from their status – wife versus mistress, but they both feel like outsiders, not fitting in no matter what they do.

I'm alone

8. The imperfect love story between the wife and husband

Both narrators infer the existence of the perfect love story between the first wife and the husband. Lowen reads about it in Verity’s manuscript. The second Mrs. de Winter learns about it from servants and acquaintances. They both draw first impressions that it was all magical and they both find out it wasn’t.

Though the passion at first is undeniable, the married couples’ personalities don’t fit and their marriages fall apart, even though they maintain their appearances. In both cases, appearances seem to me a very weak excuse! Why not quit already? Why stay miserable in a marriage for so long? It is just sad!

marriage appearance vs marriage reality

9. Both Verity and Rebecca are portrayed as psychopaths

Obviously, they are vicious so that our heroines can be even more lovable. While Rebecca is, mostly, only promiscuous and doesn’t really love her husband, Verity seems absolutely evil. She must be, because Lowen is an imperfect mistress while the second Mrs. de Winter is mostly just shy and inexperienced, thus more easily loveable. Rebecca does her share of evil as well, but, I have to say, it pales in comparison to Verity.

But, more than that, they are both masterful at pretending to be perfect angels and charm everyone. The art of maintaining appearances is at the highest level with them.

I'm not evil

10. The allies

Both Verity and Rebecca have a nurse and a head housekeeper, respectively, who take care of them and antagonise the narrators further. Verity’s nurse is a sane person, she just empathises with Verity a lot. As she sees things, there is a young girl in the house, just trying to sleep with her patient’s husband while the patient is immobilised. It is actually the most natural and sane opinion of all. She makes us understand her dislike with her attitude towards Lowen.

However, Mrs. Denver, Rebecca’s head housekeeper, is a bit insane all on her own. The death of Rebecca left clear marks on her and she does whatever she can to protect her memory and space in the house and in her master’s heart. She is openly hostile and antagonising. She is a fully developed character, whom we come to loath and hate just as much as we do Rebecca, if not more!

11. The husbands

The husbands are terrible, terrible people!

worse than kanye!

…and yes, that is possible!

Maxim de Winter kills his wife, while Jeremy Crawford cheats on his comatose wife and then kills her. And the insanity is the narrators don’t seem to mind!

how can you not care?

12. Working as a couple

The newly formed couples seem perfect together even in crimes! Both narrators help the husbands to cover up their murders and lie to the police in order to live happily ever after.

nothing happened here

In a way, I appreciate how the husbands come clean with them – at least the new relationships can start in a solid, trusting place, right? And doing anything for each other, even covering up crimes …must mean true love, right?

what's wrong with you?

Of course, there are lots? of differences

  1. “Verity” is a contemporary novel while “Rebecca” is written in 1938. That, of course, leads to characters acting their time: “Verity” is so spicy, “Rebecca” is more restricted by the social conventions of the time.
  2. Of course, a big difference is the relationship between the narrator and the husband – while Lowen and Jeremy Crawford have an illicit affair, the second Mrs. de Winter and Maxim de Winter only ever meet after Rebecca died. Though the spectre of the wife is ever present, one is a spicy affair and the other is absolutely innocent.
  3. When the narrators are met with judgement or rudeness from other people, the husbands react completely differently. While Maxim expects his wife to stand on her own and doesn’t offer any support, Jeremy fights Lowen’s battles for her. This might have to do with the fact that one is a legitimate relationship and one is an affair.
  4. While Rebecca cheats and humiliates her husband, Verity is obsessed with hers, to the point where she is jealous of her own children.
  5. While Rebecca is always absent, Verity’s point of view is very much represented by her manuscript and her letter.
  6. The biggest thing I find that Verity adds is the talk of children part, the difficulty of motherhood and today’s expectations of it. I found that part so interesting and worth debating!

…and that’s kind of it with the major differences. Please, feel free to point out more and let’s talk!

What did you most like about these novels?

What did you dislike about them?

Do you find this to be a fair comparison?

Comment, please!

8 thoughts on “Verity vs. Rebecca”

  1. Hi there! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask.

    Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest
    authoring a blog article or vice-versa? My site addresses a lot of
    the same topics as yours and I feel we could greatly
    benefit from each other. If you’re interested feel free to send me an e-mail.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Fantastic blog by the way!


    1. Hi! Thanks so much for the interest! Yes, I am interested as well! Great idea! I would consider it for later in the year. At this point I am kind of busy and haven’t managed to update the blog lately, but will definitely have more time in a few months. What is your blog? We can get in touch on twitter(@readfinebooks) and brainstorm some titles 🙂


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