I hosted book club the other night and our selection was Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. A great choice for an October book club!
I decided I had to incorporate two quotes from Rebecca into my decorating for the bookclub party. Of course one had to the be famous opening line: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again” The other quote is one I liked about happiness, as the new Mrs. de Winter is constantly worried about capturing the moment. For one so young she is keenly aware that happy moments cannot be recaptured; they are experienced for just that moment and then gone. The quote is: Happiness is not a possession to be prized, it is a quality of thought. A state of mind.” You will find these thoughts littered all through the book, to the point it become annoying, but this was one way to show that the new Mrs de Winter is installed at Manderley.
Simply typed them out in different fonts (Baskerville Old face and AR Bonnie) with a gray background, printed on regular paper and framed them.
If you have a cupid, even if it is a Christmas one put that out as well. If you have read Rebecca then surely you remember the cupid! hahaha I only remember because I just reread for book club.
Add some candles; I used teacup candles for this candelabra because I have seating on either side and if a taper toppled out it would not be good. Also added a jaunty raven because it is October, after all.
Gather up whatever you have in silver, lace or fancy. I was lucky to have these pewter candelabras from Melanie’s wedding some years ago. Thought you recognized them didn’t you Melanie?! 🙂
I was given a set of two after the wedding and then later our Mother gave me her set of two. I am so happy that I have the four to use for this party!
As soon as the party is over I might add spiderwebs and morph it into a cross between a Miss Havisham theme or the abandoned Manderley described in the prologue. Wouldn’t that be a nice Halloween tablescape? I have been storing these for a number of years and use them occasionally so this is fun to have them out!
TIP: If your candles do not fit properly just wrap their base with tinfoil and place them back in the holder. You should not see the tinfoil unless you have placed it higher on the candle than I did. I placed it low and allowed the bottom part of the tinfoil to crumple into the candle cup. If you do place it high, as long as it is tightly wound and not wrinkled, it will look like it is part of the candleholder.
Don’t forget something monogramed! This may be the most important thing to do. I bought these napkins at homegoods for $1.99. At first it looked like they only had the letter A left, until at the bottom of the pile, just when I was about to give up, discovered one packet with R. Perfect, because you know Rebecca was so vain she had her monogram everywhere, even long after she was gone.
Flowers – This is for an October hosted party so used pumpkins and other fall themed items. For a spring hosted one would use roses or other flowers. Azalea branches and Rhodendrum would be great choices too as those feature in the story. Any cut flowers will do though, as Manderley was kept in fresh flowers from the cutting garden.
And the food. Our bookclub is at 7pm on a Sunday, so we usually do something light like cheese and crackers with some cookies or a cake. I chose to make Cheese Crostini (recipe here), Bacon-Date appetizer and a homemade chocolate raspberry cake. I added a fancy mineral water (not shown) and a bottle of cherry tart wine/beer – not sure what it was exactly, but Trader Joes was selling it and it was just something different to serve.
So there you have it, not too elaborate or hard to do, just worked with what I had. I think if I had it to do again I would use my white lace tablecloth and I would not burn half the appetizers!!! Have I mentioned that Melanie is the real cook in the family, I try hard, but alas cooking is not really my thing. Oh, and before I took the picture would make sure all the raspberries are still on top of the cake. Unfortunately did not get a picture after I replaced those that had toppled off 🙂
Happy Fall, Happy Reading,