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Shortly after Rebecca was published in Brazil, critic Álvaro Lins pointed out many resemblances between du Maurier's book and the work of Brazilian writer Carolina Nabuco. Nabuco's A Sucessora (The Successor) has a main plot similar to Rebecca, including a young woman marrying a widower and the strange presence of the first wife — plot features also shared with the far older Jane Eyre. Nina Auerbach alleged in her book, Daphne du Maurier, Haunted Heiress, that du Maurier read the Brazilian book when the first drafts were sent to be published in England and based her famous best-seller on it. According to Nabuco's autobiography, Eight Decades, she (Nabuco) refused to sign a contract brought to her by a United Artists' representative in which she agreed that the similarities between her book and the movie were mere coincidence. Du Maurier denied copying Nabuco's book, as did her publisher, claiming that the plot used in Rebecca was quite common.
In 1944 in the United States, Daphne du Maurier, her U.S. publishers, Doubleday, and various parties connected with the 1940 film version of the novel, were sued by Edwina L. MacDonald for plagiarism. MacDonald alleged that du Maurier had copied her novel Blind Windows. Du Maurier successfully rebuffed the allegations.
Du Maurier commented that the book was based on her own memories of Menabilly and Cornwall, as well as her relationship with her father.
- Plot summary
- Literary structure
- Dramatic adaptations
- Plagiarism allegations