Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Daphne du Maurier

User avatar
Madeleine
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 5721
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: The Chalet by Catherine Cooper
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Post by Madeleine » Sun February 8th, 2009, 11:57 am

Jamaica Inn is my favourite too, such a great escapist read with loads of atmosphere and a very hunky (anti) hero in Jem Merlyn, definitely up there with Jamie Fraser on my list of heroes!

My Cousin Rachel is great, so is The House on the Strand. I have The King's General, Castle d'Or and Hungry Hill (which was only published last year in the UK) on my tbr pile.

User avatar
Ludmilla
Bibliophile
Posts: 1346
Joined: September 2008
Location: Georgia USA

Post by Ludmilla » Sun February 8th, 2009, 1:12 pm

Oh, I'm interested in Hungry Hill, too. I found it at a swap site and requested it. Also broke down and ordered The Scapegoat, Julius and her story collection, The Birds and Other Stories.

Misfit, I mentioned above how much I loved the intro to The King's General, but now that I think about it, what I'm thinking of may have been the publisher's intro that leads into the story. I actually couldn't figure out if it was written by someone else or a clever tongue-in-cheek intro by Du Maurier, herself (it's just a paragraph or two before chapter one). I wonder if it's in all the editions? Mine is an original US 1940s Hardcover. Anyway... it beautifully sets up the story that ties into those first few chapters that describe the famous meeting between Honor and Richard -- absolutely unforgettable and worth the price of admission, no matter how you end up feeling about them by the end.

Carla
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 965
Joined: August 2008
Contact:

Post by Carla » Sun February 8th, 2009, 1:25 pm

I wrote this a while back on Daphne du Maurier's historical novels:

Daphne du Maurier is most famous for Rebecca, a dark Gothic mystery full of atmosphere and suspense, jealousy and obsession. It’s a novel that seems to inspire strong feelings, frequently cited as a classic and yet thoroughly detested by others [http://grumpyoldbookman.blogspot.com/20 ... ecca.html]. I’m on the side of the fans. However, my personal favourites are to be found among her historical novels, which receive a lot less attention.

Jamaica Inn probably heads my list. I like this for its capable, independent heroine, Mary Yellan, its suspenseful and adventurous plot featuring smugglers and wreckers, and the superbly described Cornish landscapes, from brooding Bodmin Moor to the softness of the south coast and the savage beauty of the north.

Frenchman’s Creek could, I suppose, be described as a pirate romance. Dona grows sick of decadent Restoration London and escapes to remote Cornwall, where she finds love, danger and excitement with a dashing French pirate. There’s more to it than the swashbuckling romance, though, for Dona also has to grow up. At the beginning of the novel she is a spoiled child, sulky and miserable, demanding instant gratification of her every whim. By the end, she has come to understand and accept responsibility for her own life and can build herself a future.

The King’s General is set in the English Civil War and tells the story of Honor, crippled in her youth by a riding accident, and her beloved Richard Grenville, a brilliant military leader with a talent for making enemies, mostly on his own side. Although Honor, the narrator, is a staunch Royalist, the novel doesn’t stridently take sides and gives a real feeling for the way war turns lives upside down.

The House on the Strand is almost a time-slip novel, in which a modern narrator finds a drug that will transport him at intervals back into the 14th century, where he becomes so obsessed with the lives of the long-ago people he encounters that they become almost more real to him than his own life and family. (I don’t know if Daphne du Maurier intended this as a metaphor for the process of writing a novel, but that’s certainly how it struck me).

What I like about all these novels is the marvellous sense of atmosphere the author creates. They have a real feel of time and place, and the landscape is so vividly drawn it’s almost a character in its own right. Another aspect that I particularly like is that the love stories are bittersweet, rarely with a conventional happy ending.
PATHS OF EXILE - love, war, honour and betrayal in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria
Editor's Choice, Historical Novels Review, August 2009
Now available as e-book on Amazon Kindleand in Kindle, Epub (Nook, Sony Reader), Palm and other formats on Smashwords
Website: http://www.carlanayland.org
Blog: http://carlanayland.blogspot.com

User avatar
Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 2440
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Post by Margaret » Mon February 9th, 2009, 12:54 am

Is that "When the Whales Came", with Helen Mirren, Margaret?
Yes! That's the one. I'd forgotten Helen Mirren was in it.

According to Wikipedia, it's based on a children's book by Michael Morpurgo, Why the Whales Came.
Last edited by Margaret on Mon February 9th, 2009, 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

annis
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 4585
Joined: August 2008

Post by annis » Mon February 9th, 2009, 1:03 am

Michael Morpurgo writes children's books which have beautiful, quite haunting illustrations. This is the cover from "Why the Whales Came"
http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/RESOURC ... 229258.jpg

User avatar
Ludmilla
Bibliophile
Posts: 1346
Joined: September 2008
Location: Georgia USA

Post by Ludmilla » Mon February 9th, 2009, 2:57 pm

[quote=""Carla""]The House on the Strand is almost a time-slip novel, in which a modern narrator finds a drug that will transport him at intervals back into the 14th century, where he becomes so obsessed with the lives of the long-ago people he encounters that they become almost more real to him than his own life and family. (I don’t know if Daphne du Maurier intended this as a metaphor for the process of writing a novel, but that’s certainly how it struck me).
[/quote]


I'm almost done with this one... interesting thought about it being a metaphor for the process of writing a novel. I think it could also work well as a metaphor for what happens to readers who live vicariously through their novels. I sometimes find it difficult to transition from reading to real-life demands, snarling at anyone who interupts me and very protective of my reading time. This book also made me wonder if it had any influence on the idea for the book/film, Altered States. The concept of the drug reminded me a little bit of it.

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 9581
Joined: August 2008
Location: Seattle, WA

Post by Misfit » Mon February 9th, 2009, 3:05 pm

[quote=""Ludmilla""]Misfit, I mentioned above how much I loved the intro to The King's General, but now that I think about it, what I'm thinking of may have been the publisher's intro that leads into the story. I actually couldn't figure out if it was written by someone else or a clever tongue-in-cheek intro by Du Maurier, herself (it's just a paragraph or two before chapter one). I wonder if it's in all the editions? Mine is an original US 1940s Hardcover. Anyway... it beautifully sets up the story that ties into those first few chapters that describe the famous meeting between Honor and Richard -- absolutely unforgettable and worth the price of admission, no matter how you end up feeling about them by the end.[/quote]

Ah, that explains it. I had an original edition out from the library. No introductions whatsoever.

User avatar
Ludmilla
Bibliophile
Posts: 1346
Joined: September 2008
Location: Georgia USA

Post by Ludmilla » Sun March 8th, 2009, 12:47 pm

For those of you who have Hungry Hill in your pile, I found this picture of it at Wiki. It's located in the Caha Mountain range of southern Ireland.

Misfit, I noticed in the reading now thread you are reading The Glass-Blowers. There is a scene in the novel where they sing the song, Ça Ira!
If you are interested, I found the english translation to the song at the Modern History Sourcebook. The sourcebook does so often come in handy!

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 9581
Joined: August 2008
Location: Seattle, WA

Post by Misfit » Sun March 8th, 2009, 1:15 pm

Ludmilla, thank you. GB did pick up after 100 or so pages, what a terrifying place to be in those times.

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 9581
Joined: August 2008
Location: Seattle, WA

Post by Misfit » Sun March 8th, 2009, 11:59 pm

I have about 30 pages left with The Glass Blowers and despite a slow start it's another winner from D du M, although very different. I like the way she takes her main character and shows the effect of the revolution and the changing mindset of the populace - especially during the Vendean rebellion. I looked that up on Wik, absolutely terrifying.

I'm liking how she's working in the birth of the English last name du Maurier. Anyone know how much of that is fact and not author fancy?

Post Reply

Return to “By Author”