Azaleas and Rhododendrons

Azaleas remind me of Manderley’s Happy Valley. I’m not a fan of Daphne du Maurier, but I found Rebecca captivating.

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The azaleas in the Happy Valley were “her” idea

When Maxim spoke, his voice was hushed too, gentle and low, as if he had no wish to break upon the silence. 'We call it the Happy Valley, ' he said. We stood quite still, not speaking, looking down upon the clear white faces of the flowers closest to us, and Maxim stooped, and picked up a fallen petal and gave it to me. It was crushed and bruised, and turning brown at the curled edge, but as I rubbed it across my hand the scent rose to me, sweet and strong, vivid as the living tree from which it came.

When Maxim spoke, his voice was hushed too, gentle and low, as if he had no wish to break upon the silence. ‘We call it the Happy Valley, ‘ he said. We stood quite still, not speaking, looking down upon the clear white faces of the flowers closest to us, and Maxim stooped, and picked up a fallen petal and gave it to me. It was crushed and bruised, and turning brown at the curled edge, but as I rubbed it across my hand the scent rose to me, sweet and strong, vivid as the living tree from which it came.

“Spoiler Alert”

Rebecca’s presence, her perfection, Danny’s creepy devotion to her, the madness, the despair; I love the way the story builds up. You see through the new Mrs. de Winter’s eyes. You are led to believe Maxim is unable to get over his first wife, the perfect Mrs. de Winter, Rebecca. You feel the new Mrs. de Winter’s pain. You feel for the new Mrs. de Winter, but are drawn towards Rebecca. You believe Maxim is unable to get over Rebecca because he loves her, only to discover he cannot forget her because he hates her. His guilt  and her wickedness play off beautifully against each other.

The New York Botanical Gardens has an entire area devoted to azaleas.

NY Botnical Garden

NY Botnical Garden

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