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Frenchman's Creek (Virago Modern Classics Book 112)

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The Restoration Court knows Lady Dona St Columb to be ripe for any folly, any outrage that will alter the tedium of her days. But there is another, secret Dona who longs for a life of honest love -- and sweetness, even if it is spiced with danger. It is this Dona who flees the stews of London for remote Navron, looking for peace of mind in its solitary woods and hidden cre The Restoration Court knows Lady Dona St Columb to be ripe for any folly, any outrage that will alter the tedium of her days. But there is another, secret Dona who longs for a life of honest love -- and sweetness, even if it is spiced with danger. It is this Dona who flees the stews of London for remote Navron, looking for peace of mind in its solitary woods and hidden creeks. She finds there the passion her spirit craves -- in the love of a daring pirate hunted by all Cornwall, a Frenchman who, like Dona, would gamble his life for a moment's joy.


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The Restoration Court knows Lady Dona St Columb to be ripe for any folly, any outrage that will alter the tedium of her days. But there is another, secret Dona who longs for a life of honest love -- and sweetness, even if it is spiced with danger. It is this Dona who flees the stews of London for remote Navron, looking for peace of mind in its solitary woods and hidden cre The Restoration Court knows Lady Dona St Columb to be ripe for any folly, any outrage that will alter the tedium of her days. But there is another, secret Dona who longs for a life of honest love -- and sweetness, even if it is spiced with danger. It is this Dona who flees the stews of London for remote Navron, looking for peace of mind in its solitary woods and hidden creeks. She finds there the passion her spirit craves -- in the love of a daring pirate hunted by all Cornwall, a Frenchman who, like Dona, would gamble his life for a moment's joy.

30 review for Frenchman's Creek (Virago Modern Classics Book 112)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Candi

    "Do you remember my father’s aviary in Hampshire, and how the birds there were well fed, and could fly about their cage? And one day I set a linnet free, and it flew straight out of my hands towards the sun?... Because I feel like that. Like the linnet before it flew." If you’ve ever felt confined, if you’ve ever felt like just throwing all caution to the wind and escaping, then you can empathize with Dona St. Columb, the heroine of this delightful adventure! Now, I know what you are thinking, be "Do you remember my father’s aviary in Hampshire, and how the birds there were well fed, and could fly about their cage? And one day I set a linnet free, and it flew straight out of my hands towards the sun?... Because I feel like that. Like the linnet before it flew." If you’ve ever felt confined, if you’ve ever felt like just throwing all caution to the wind and escaping, then you can empathize with Dona St. Columb, the heroine of this delightful adventure! Now, I know what you are thinking, because I had the same exact thought… what’s up with a pirate story from the brilliant creator of Rebecca?! Well, I would say first and foremost, that you can’t compare this to Rebecca, as they can’t all be masterpieces. However, it is worthy of its own unique praise. It’s more lighthearted, yes, but I don’t think everything has to be so somber all the time. In fact, this book may be a more high-spirited read, but certainly it still causes one to pause and reflect. Dona is married to a titled landowner in 17th century England. She is a mother and adores her children. Given the time and place, however, Dona is bound by societal restrictions and the expectations placed on the women of her time. Dona does not adapt well to these boundaries, however, and decides to escape London and relocate with her children and nurse to her husband’s home on the Cornwall coast. Her husband, Harry, is left behind to continue with his diversions in the city. Harry doesn’t really ‘get it’. He’s a bit clueless but not a brute, so we can tolerate him. "… in reality it was escape she wanted, escape from her own self, from the life they led together; that she had reached a crisis in her particular span of time and existence, and must travel through that crisis, alone." Upon reaching the coast, Dona soon hears the whispers of the rumor of piracy. And so her adventure begins, as does ours. In true du Maurier fashion, the landscape is spectacularly drawn and the Helford River and Frenchman’s Creek become almost entities of their own. You can hear the wind and the crashing waves, the cry of the birds; and you can envision the bluebells and the mysterious painted ship. Dona must struggle with her new-found freedom, her understanding of love, and reconcile these feelings with her sense of responsibility and love for her children. Not an easy battle for a woman and a mother’s conscience today, much less in the 1600’s! I couldn’t imagine how this would end, and you of course will need to read the book to find out. All I can say is that du Maurier always manages to execute her endings perfectly. Read this for the witty banter between Dona and her manservant, William (whom I adored), for the intriguing character that is the Frenchman, for the comical gentry that Dona finds so stodgy, and for the thrill of the high seas. But, most of all, you should read this for the beautiful prose and the nostalgic feel of times gone by. I loved it for the sheer entertainment and joy I felt while reading this. It may not be transformative, but it is captivating and enchanting. "Contentment is a state of mind and body when the two work in harmony, and there is no friction. The mind is at peace, and the body also. The two are sufficient to themselves. Happiness is elusive – coming perhaps once in a life-time – approaching ecstasy."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Loved this book. It had pirates. It had Frenchmen. It had a love story. It had intrigue. It had scandal. It had clean language. It had beautiful writing. It's a great read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier is a 2003 publication. (This novel was originally published in 1941) Adventurous and unique side of Daphne du Maurier- Bored in her marriage, Dona heads to her husband Harry’s estate in Cornwall for some time to herself. Right away, she becomes embroiled in the adventure of the pirate 'Jean-Benoit Aubéry.' She dares to let her true nature emerge, wearing men’s clothes, and joining in the intrigue and a little romance. However, her fun is often foiled by Rock Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier is a 2003 publication. (This novel was originally published in 1941) Adventurous and unique side of Daphne du Maurier- Bored in her marriage, Dona heads to her husband Harry’s estate in Cornwall for some time to herself. Right away, she becomes embroiled in the adventure of the pirate 'Jean-Benoit Aubéry.' She dares to let her true nature emerge, wearing men’s clothes, and joining in the intrigue and a little romance. However, her fun is often foiled by Rockingham- a friend of her husband, who is determined to capture the pirates, while harboring designs on Dona of his own. Meanwhile, Harry arrives to help Rockingham, which inspired Dona to intervene on behalf of her pirate, but… it’s complicated. Wow! This is yet another fantastic story by Daphne du Maurier. While the setting is in Cornwall, the oft chosen location for moody Gothic tales, this book has an entirely different tone. At once an adventure, a romance, a literary endeavor, this book embodies a hint of styles and genres to come. Dona has come to Cornwall for some serious soul searching, but she got the adventure of a lifetime for a woman of the aristocracy in the 18th century. Although, she takes some enormous risks, throws caution to the wind, and finds just what she needs to quicken her monotonous life, she also must consider the cost. It’s hard not to like Dona. She’s spirited, bold, and rebellious, thirsting for more from life, but trapped in a dull marriage, and bored with the aristocratic life she is bound to. Before all is said and done, she lives through some tense and suspenseful adventures, which on the surface is like reading a swashbuckling pirate tale, replete with romance and intrigue. The pirate in question, is a bit of a romantic for a man of his occupation and is just the type of ‘bad boy’ Dona might go for considering her feelings for her husband. In some ways, it sounds like this is a torrid historical romance, but I assure you this is more of a literary novel, written in a beautiful lush prose. While the story is lightest du Maurier book I’ve read, and was actually a fun, sort of scandalous novel, there is a moral reckoning, if you will, and Dona’s character ends up going through some startling changes, coming out on the other side a very different person from the one we were first introduced to, and has its fair share of serious tones and profound insights, especially the allegorical messages, which speak to how women often feel confined by certain strictures, but who long to be as free as men, but who must often make the hard choices and sacrifices that rob them of that pleasure. ‘are you happy?" "I am content." "What is the difference?" "Between happiness and contentment? Ah, there you have me. It is not easy to put into words. Contentment is a state of mind and body when the two work in harmony, and there is no friction. The mind is at peace, and the body also. The two are sufficient to themselves. Happiness is elusive--coming perhaps once in a life-time--and approaching ecstasy." "Not a continuous thing, like contentment?" "No, not a continuous thing. But there are, after all, degrees of happiness.” The ending is a bittersweet surprise , but still very fitting. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel so, I’d like to send a special shout out to GR friend, Candi, who recommended this one to me!! 4 stars

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    A romantic, swashbuckling type of tale from the talented Daphne du Maurier that, unfortunately, fell flat for me. Lady Dona St. Columb is a noblewoman in 17th century England, discontented with her husband, family, the British court, and pretty much everything in her life. She takes out her frustrations on everyone around her and then flounces off to her husband's estate in Cornwall to rusticate and make the people around her miserable there instead. There are stories of a pirate who's been raid A romantic, swashbuckling type of tale from the talented Daphne du Maurier that, unfortunately, fell flat for me. Lady Dona St. Columb is a noblewoman in 17th century England, discontented with her husband, family, the British court, and pretty much everything in her life. She takes out her frustrations on everyone around her and then flounces off to her husband's estate in Cornwall to rusticate and make the people around her miserable there instead. There are stories of a pirate who's been raiding the Cornish countryside, and Dona could be in trouble when she stumbles across the pirate ship's hiding place in a cove ... right on her estate! But it's romance, not danger, that mostly ensues in this rather dreamily written novel (in fairness, the excitement and adventure ramp up later in the novel, before we get to a rather odd ending). Du Maurier writes well, but this book was just not for me. My problems with it are mostly tied to my own personal reading likes and dislikes, rather than an objective assessment of the book's qualities. In other words, your mileage may vary. The main character, Dona, is a spoiled, selfish, headstrong woman, dismissive of her spouse and children. The first scene she's in shows her being unreasonable and rude to her servants. As I got deeper into the book I liked her a little better (or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I disliked her a little less) as I came to understand her frustrations, but she's not the type of woman I identify with, or want to get to know better, either in real life or in a book. Dislikable protagonists are a tough one for me to swallow. I also have a really deep aversion to cheating on your spouse, which includes reading romances where one of the main characters is cheating, and I'm not big on justifications (he's a louse, she doesn't understand me, etc.). Dona married a guy who's a drinker and apparently as dumb as a box of rocks, but he loves her, wants to make something better of their marriage and is willing to try to change, and she won't give him the time of day. Instead she takes up with ... The pirate, who is handsome, well-read and independently wealthy, but justifies his piracy because he's a Robin Hood, stealing from the unworthy rich and giving to the poor. Huh. I'm pretty good at suspending disbelief, but this was all just a little too unrealistic to buy into. He admits that he just needs adventure to bring meaning to his humdrum life. I can respect that, but hey, go explore Africa or something rather than becoming a criminal. In general, this reads to me like an unhappily married woman's fantasy of how she'd like to ditch her boring and unfulfilling husband and existence and go off on romantic adventures. From what I've read of Daphne du Maurier's life, I think that's likely the case. I just couldn't respect the characters or their choices.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Arah-Lynda

    Suddenly the sails caught the breeze and filled, they bellied out in the wind, lovely and white and free, the gulls rose in a mass, screaming above the masts, the setting sun caught the   painted ship in a gleam of gold, and silently, stealthily, leaving a long dark ripple behind her, the ship stole in towards the land.  And a feeling came upon Dona, as though a hand touched her heart, and a voice whispered in her brain, “I shall remember this.”  A premonition of wonder, of fear, of sudden stran Suddenly the sails caught the breeze and filled, they bellied out in the wind, lovely and white and free, the gulls rose in a mass, screaming above the masts, the setting sun caught the   painted ship in a gleam of gold, and silently, stealthily, leaving a long dark ripple behind her, the ship stole in towards the land.  And a feeling came upon Dona, as though a hand touched her heart, and a voice whispered in her brain, “I shall remember this.”  A premonition of wonder, of fear, of sudden strange elation.  She turned swiftly, smiling to herself for no reason, humming a little tune, and strode back across the hills to Navron House, skirting the mud and jumping the ditches like a child, while the sky darkened, and the moon rose, and the night wind whispered in the tall trees. This is the story of a woman, Lady Dona St. Columb, grown jaded by a life of privilege in restoration period London, who leaves her husband’s side and flees with her children and their governess to the countryside and their rarely visited home, Navron House, on the coast of Cornwall.  And it is there that she first hears the tales of piracy and catches sight of “La Mouette” as she looks out to sea, from the cliffs, where the river runs away to the left, wide and shining as it meets the sea.  And it is here that she first meets the Frenchman and embracing danger, escapes the tedium of her London life,  with a daring, romantic adventure on the high seas.   Anyone at all familiar with Du Maurier’s style is well aware of how masterfully she can paint a scene, at once  so vivid, as to transport the reader to those same cliffs, where Dona stands, and down below, far and deep, the little waves splash upon the rocks. Reading this one cannot help but think that one day, Du Maurier decided to take her considerable writing skills out for a walk, urging them forward, bidding them stretch their legs, and once they had reached their stride and adopted a working rhythm, she let them loose to wander and sniff out their own path.   I love where they went. In fact this is the second time I have accompanied Du Maurier on this audacious, romantic escape to the coast of Cornwall and her ship of dreams.  I really have no business reading this right now as I am still besieged with other commitments, but sometimes the reader’s heart wants what the reader’s heart wants and nothing else will sate that need.   Lately I have been reading a fair number of reviews of Du Maurier’s work here on goodreads, most notably, Candi’s review of this same story:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... which has resulted in two things; one of which is this reread as well as the addition of Jamaica Inn to my Kindle queue.   Come on, sail away. Five pure escape worthy stars!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    4+ Stars. Daphne du Maurier brings her true love of boating and the sea to life in this most enjoyable 17th century atmospheric tale of swashbuckling fun.The excitement begins soon after Lady Dona leaves London society.....and her (foolish) baronet husband.....for their country home and a much needed respite away from everyday boredom and a loveless marriage.With two children and nanny in tow, Dona is finally free to avail herself of sun and solace with long walks in the woods and thoughts of a 4+ Stars. Daphne du Maurier brings her true love of boating and the sea to life in this most enjoyable 17th century atmospheric tale of swashbuckling fun.The excitement begins soon after Lady Dona leaves London society.....and her (foolish) baronet husband.....for their country home and a much needed respite away from everyday boredom and a loveless marriage.With two children and nanny in tow, Dona is finally free to avail herself of sun and solace with long walks in the woods and thoughts of a younger self in a time long past when an unexpected encounter.....with a notorious and most appealing pirate.....give her life new meaning.FRENCHMAN'S CREEK is an intriguing adventure story with dangerous escapades and just the right touch of emotion and romance amidst great characters.....and no, it's not My Cousin Rachel or Rebecca, but it's still a dam entertaining read!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Piyangie

    The Frenchman's Creek is the third book I read of Daphne du Maurier following My Cousin Rachel and Rebecca . And naturally I expected a mystery. But I was really surprised to find that The Frenchman's Creek is an adventure story. Du Maurier presents us with a female protagonist as unlike any other so far I have come across her books. Dona St. Columb is a wild and reckless woman whose spirit seeks action and adventure. Her mundane aristocratic life which is wasted in idle occupation does not s The Frenchman's Creek is the third book I read of Daphne du Maurier following My Cousin Rachel and Rebecca . And naturally I expected a mystery. But I was really surprised to find that The Frenchman's Creek is an adventure story. Du Maurier presents us with a female protagonist as unlike any other so far I have come across her books. Dona St. Columb is a wild and reckless woman whose spirit seeks action and adventure. Her mundane aristocratic life which is wasted in idle occupation does not suit her well. She seeks escape and arrive at her family estate in Helston and there meets Jean-Benoit Aubery, a french pirate. He quenches her thirst for adventure and in the process she learns what is mean to really be in love. Frenchman's Creek is an adventure story as well as a beautiful love story. Dona St. Columb is not a likable character in the beginning. But soon this Dona takes a different shape of a woman. The new found freedom from the senseless life she was so far lived brings out her true self. In the French pirate she meets, she finds a soul mate who equals her thirst for adventure; with him she finds love, happiness and true contentment in life and learns what is important in life. I really liked the character development of Dona St. Columb. With her Du Maurier has created a loving female protagonist; and certainly the best I have come in a Du Maurier book so far. I liked both parts of the story; the adventure and the romance. The adventure is well written and it was a thrilling read. The romance is beautiful. It is mature and fulfilling; and both parties are respectful and honourable. I loved the ending where the author part the lovers physically but unite them spiritually. Dona being duty bound to her children had to give up his lover physically but their souls are forever united. It was one of the sweetest endings that I have read quite a while in a book. It simply warmed my heart. Du Maurier's writing here is remarkable. There are two colours and tones with which she wrote the adventure and the romance. The adventure part has a bold and daring writing which keeps the reader in suspense and the romance is written with a tenderness that warms the reader’s heart. It is an amazing mix and was extremely pleasing. Frenchman's Creek is such a beautiful book and it really surprises me why this book has received less attention. It is a book worth of recognition. To me personally, it is the best of Du Maurier that I have read so far.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    An enjoyable read but really just a historical romance and lacking the suspense and mystery of Rebecca or Jamaica Inn. Her writing is as usual superb and I loved her descriptions of Cornwall and the Helford Passage which is as beautiful as she makes it sound. Altogether a very readable book especially for anyone who likes a light romance but not one of du Maurier's best works. An enjoyable read but really just a historical romance and lacking the suspense and mystery of Rebecca or Jamaica Inn. Her writing is as usual superb and I loved her descriptions of Cornwall and the Helford Passage which is as beautiful as she makes it sound. Altogether a very readable book especially for anyone who likes a light romance but not one of du Maurier's best works.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bianca

    Loved, loved, loved this novel. The writing, the atmosphere, the spirited English woman and the French pirate - Arggggh and oui, oui, Oui! Have I mentioned the writing? This novel was sensual, intense and dreamy, at the same time. There's barely any sensual touching, still, to me, this was hotter than any other modern romance novel that spares no details describing intimate acts. The audiobook was brilliantly narrated by John Castle. I guess it's official, I'm a bona fide du Maurier fan.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ...

    Daphne du Maurier enthralls and enchants me again. This book is less foreboding than others but is still wonderful. What is not to love about French pirates wooing an English woman and then allowing her to live a moment as a pirate herself? What is not to love about beautifully written prose and a very feminist slant? There is very little about which to complain in any of du Maurier's books. I have now read 8 of them and am on the hunt to find her others.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Richards

    I know that if I ever need a book which is guaranteed to transport me to another time and place, and which I know that I am going to thoroughly enjoy,then I need look no further than du Maurier.

  12. 5 out of 5

    ~The Bookish Redhead~

    I adore Daphne Du Maurier, and I think she's probably one of my favourite female writers. Rebecca just totally blew my mind, and Jamaica Inn followed suit. This book however, wasn't as psychologically exciting as those two, and for me, there was an obvious lack of suspense, but despite this, I still enjoyed Du Mauriers signature prose and unmatched writing. I do enjoy the way feminism is strongly existent within this book, as the story is about a woman that refuses to be what society wants her to I adore Daphne Du Maurier, and I think she's probably one of my favourite female writers. Rebecca just totally blew my mind, and Jamaica Inn followed suit. This book however, wasn't as psychologically exciting as those two, and for me, there was an obvious lack of suspense, but despite this, I still enjoyed Du Mauriers signature prose and unmatched writing. I do enjoy the way feminism is strongly existent within this book, as the story is about a woman that refuses to be what society wants her to conform as, and she has a husband that also wants her to be a certain type of lady, which obviously, she will never conform to either. Yes granted, she is a little silly at times, but overall, she breaks the rules, but most of all, she breaks the mould.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    Well, it's not often I pick up a novel and barely move from my chair until I've finished it. I'm not that kind of reader. But this one really held me. It's Du Maurier at her usual high standard, this one about, of all things, a swashbuckling pirate raiding the south coast of England in the late 17th century and the young woman who is swept off her feet by his brashness and romantic mystery. What could be more trite? Errol Flynn made a living doing versions of this. But Du Maurier does it so much Well, it's not often I pick up a novel and barely move from my chair until I've finished it. I'm not that kind of reader. But this one really held me. It's Du Maurier at her usual high standard, this one about, of all things, a swashbuckling pirate raiding the south coast of England in the late 17th century and the young woman who is swept off her feet by his brashness and romantic mystery. What could be more trite? Errol Flynn made a living doing versions of this. But Du Maurier does it so much better than you have any right to expect, that you are just swept along. There are descriptions of life aboard ship, and the taking of a "prize" that are every bit as good as Patrick O'Brian's. And as in Jamaica Inn, the setting itself is like a character--she never grows tired of describing the beauties of Cornwall. From the first page:"The long rollers of the Channel, traveling from beyond Lizard point, follow hard upon the steep seas at the river mouth, and mingling with the surge and wash of deep sea water comes the brown tide, swollen with the last rains and brackish from the mud, bearing upon its face dead twigs and straws, and strange forgotten things, leaves too early fallen, young birds, and the buds of flowers." Beautiful and ominous--you never know when the hard side of Du Maurier may suddenly come out and the jolly swashbuckling become very, very serious. Those early leaves, dead birds, and flower buds stick with you. She has an uncanny ability to keep you on edge. You're never quite sure how things will turn out, but once they do, it all seems to have been inevitable. Wonderful book. Thanks for the recommendation, Annette.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    The opening paragraphs of this novel about the sea and nature, birds and places are so beautifully written that I was hooked. It is a story of romance not usually my genre of choice but it is so much more. There is swashbuckling adventure, danger a plenty, escape in many forms, and a fabulous, heroine who is headstrong and brave. Finally for my metaphorical book memory box and to share with the readers of my review, short passage to whet your appetite; 'Because I would be alone, because my humou The opening paragraphs of this novel about the sea and nature, birds and places are so beautifully written that I was hooked. It is a story of romance not usually my genre of choice but it is so much more. There is swashbuckling adventure, danger a plenty, escape in many forms, and a fabulous, heroine who is headstrong and brave. Finally for my metaphorical book memory box and to share with the readers of my review, short passage to whet your appetite; 'Because I would be alone, because my humour is such that if I am not alone I shall drive you mad, and myself as well' she said. 'I don't understand,' he went on, his mouthset,his eyes sullen, and she in despair, tried to paint a picture of her mood. 'Do you remember my fathers aviary in Hampshire ' she said ' and how the birds were well fed and could fly about the cage?And one day I set a linnet free, and it flew straight out of my hands towards the sun?' 'What of it?' he said ,clasping his hands behind his back. 'Because I feel like that. Like the linnet before it flew,' she said, and then she turned away, smiling in spite of her sincerity, because he looked so puzzled, so hopelessly out of his depth. 4 lovely * from me.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. In spite of the fact that I knew where this was going early on, I found myself completely immersed in this story. I love Daphne du Maurier. I admire her dream-like writing style and I was enchanted by this story. When I opened this book, I was expecting a story about smugglers unloading crates of brandy by moonlight. But, Daphne surprised me here and because it's du Maurier, I went along with it. I do wish my copy had been some weathered old hardback handed down from a grandparent. Somehow, that In spite of the fact that I knew where this was going early on, I found myself completely immersed in this story. I love Daphne du Maurier. I admire her dream-like writing style and I was enchanted by this story. When I opened this book, I was expecting a story about smugglers unloading crates of brandy by moonlight. But, Daphne surprised me here and because it's du Maurier, I went along with it. I do wish my copy had been some weathered old hardback handed down from a grandparent. Somehow, that would have been more appropriate. Her stories always make me feel so nostalgic. Perhaps it is her unique voice which I find hypnotic. And, her stories often recall the smallest fragments of a memory, long forgotten, but suddenly needing to be remembered. Oh, I wish I had first read this on a beach, with the waves lapping up on the sand! This was great escapism. Literally and figuratively.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Allie Riley

    Lady Dona St Columb, is bored stiff with London society and her stifling marriage to her stupid, drunkard husband Sir Harry. Desperate for escape she takes her children and their nursemaid Prue to the family house in Navron, Cornwall perchance to be rid of Harry and, in some way, to start again. Soon after arriving she learns that the coast is cursed by piracy, in particular the doings of the French pirate Jean Aubrey. This appeals to her sense of adventure and fun, so once their paths cross it Lady Dona St Columb, is bored stiff with London society and her stifling marriage to her stupid, drunkard husband Sir Harry. Desperate for escape she takes her children and their nursemaid Prue to the family house in Navron, Cornwall perchance to be rid of Harry and, in some way, to start again. Soon after arriving she learns that the coast is cursed by piracy, in particular the doings of the French pirate Jean Aubrey. This appeals to her sense of adventure and fun, so once their paths cross it is natural that she should fall for his charm and become embroiled with his adventures...... This was delightful and very cleverly done. All the classic hallmarks of Du Maurier books are there - the beautiful prose, the humour, the cynical views on marriage etc and the addition of piracy and derring do only make the brew more heady. The historical setting was perhaps only there in order to allow the piracy storyline since the references to it were slight (no dates are given at any point), but it didn't matter. A wonderful way to while away a snowy afternoon, I found.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Vellacott

    Described as a modern classic. I recognised the author's name having watched the film, Rebecca a number of times. Lady Dona St Columb is trapped in a loveless marriage and in societal routines that she detests. She has a streak of recklessness and always a strong desire to escape her circumstances should the opportunity arise. On a whim, she retires alone to their second residence for a break from life. There she chances upon Frenchman's Creek, a favourite spot for pirates, and meets the French Described as a modern classic. I recognised the author's name having watched the film, Rebecca a number of times. Lady Dona St Columb is trapped in a loveless marriage and in societal routines that she detests. She has a streak of recklessness and always a strong desire to escape her circumstances should the opportunity arise. On a whim, she retires alone to their second residence for a break from life. There she chances upon Frenchman's Creek, a favourite spot for pirates, and meets the French philosopher pirate Jean Aubrey. The author is a brilliant story-teller. Her scenes are vividly drawn and I could easily picture the beauty of the surroundings as they were described. The pace is about right as the relationships are developed and suspense is built. This novel will appeal to all those who desire to escape from reality and pursue a dream world of their own imagination. However, as a Christian, I found it difficult to enjoy knowing that the heroine was already married and thereby engaging in infidelity by pursuing another. Some might excuse her behaviour, she had entered the original match naively, perhaps. But, this wasn't an arranged marriage, she had agreed to marry her husband and should therefore be faithful to him. Despite innuendo, there is not really any sexual content in this book. There is some violence as several characters are killed. There is some mild bad language and some blasphemy. I enjoyed the flow of the writing but cannot rate this more than a 3 on principle as it implies that extra-marital affairs are normal, even acceptable.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bree Hill

    My heart is so full right now after finishing this book. Daphne Du Maurier wrote the hell out of this book. It's only about 270 pages and I loved every word, every sentence that made this story. This will go on my list of stories that I won't go a day without thinking of. Seriously wish I could go back and experience it for the first time all over again.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Raquel Baggins

    4.5 ★★★★: a tale of freedom, piracy and romance set in 17th Cornwall «This other self knew that life need not be bitter, nor worthless, nor bounded by a narrow casement, but could be limitless, infinite—that it meant suffering, and love, and danger, and sweetness, and more than this even, much more.» Review in English | Reseña en español (abajo) After reading this book it has become clear to me that Daphne du Maurier is now one of my favourite authors and that, whatever story she tells, I would 4.5 ★★★★: a tale of freedom, piracy and romance set in 17th Cornwall «This other self knew that life need not be bitter, nor worthless, nor bounded by a narrow casement, but could be limitless, infinite—that it meant suffering, and love, and danger, and sweetness, and more than this even, much more.» Review in English | Reseña en español (abajo) After reading this book it has become clear to me that Daphne du Maurier is now one of my favourite authors and that, whatever story she tells, I would love it. The main reasons? A delicate, lyrical and dreamy writing style, some chilling and even violent parts, an eerie atmosphere, the vivid depiction of women's emotions, the struggle between female empowerment vs. social conventions, criticism of society and her enigmatic endings. Whereas in Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel the romantic element was somewhat secondary, in Frenchman's Creek we see how it becomes central. Although preceding elements of the modern romance genre can be perceived, the main plot revolves around a strong female protagonist who fights against social conventions and, perhaps because it's such a universal subject, it has been extremely easy for me to empathise with her story. As in Rebecca the feelings of the MC are the main focus –all the story is narrated in the third-person past from the point of view of Lady Dona except for the first chapter that introduces us the fiction that we will begin to read– and although the romance between an English lady and a French pirate is meaningful in this adventure novel set in Cornwall during the reign of Charles II, this book narrates a tale of freedom. Frenchman's Creek starts off introducing Lady St. Columb fleeing, together with her two children and their governess, the London court society and an unhappy marriage. The chosen destination is Navron, her husband's remote estate in Cornwall, that has been abandoned for several years but has been used as a 'base' by a fearsome French pirate (The Frenchman) who has intimidated the Cornish coast's neighbours. We won't find outstanding plot twists and it's easy to foresee what will happen: Lady Dona meets this unconventional pirate –a cultured man who reads poetry and loves drawing birds– and falls in love with him. Perhaps she doesn't fall as much in love with him as with what he represents: freedom, adventures and dangers,... and for this reason, the romance is narrated in a delicate and subtle way, without images of passion but of understanding and mutual respect. «“I wish I were a man, William.” “Why so, my lady?” “Because I too would find my ship, and go forth, a law unto myself.”» Dona's real happiness will last just a few days and we actually know how the story will end, but we find some wonderful passages when she decides to dress like a boy and join the pirate's crew in an adventure of looting an English merchant ship. This fact and the fear that inspire the different robberies in Cornwall makes the husband of Dona (Harry) and his best friend (Rockingham) decide to go to Navron to capture the pirate and bring him to justice. I have to say that I've been surprised by enjoying a historical fiction and romance novel –both genres I don't usually like– but this is an entertaining and wonderfully written book that touched me from page one. All in all, I think you should like the author's writing style to enjoy this novel to the fullest. «And perhaps one day, in after years, someone would wander there and listen to the silence, as she had done, and catch the whisper of the dreams that she had dreamed there, in midsummer, under the hot sun and the white sky. […] “He will never know,” she thought, “at what moment I have loved him best.”» P. S. I'm not English, so if you see any mistakes let me know so I can correct them, please — Con este libro me ha quedado claro que Daphne du Maurier se ha convertido en una de mis autoras favoritas y que, cuente la historia que me cuente, me va a encantar. ¿Las razones principales? Una prosa delicada, lírica, ensoñadora, unos pasajes escalofriantes e incluso violentos, una atmósfera llena de juegos de fantasmas, el retrato tan vívido de las emociones de las mujeres protagonistas de sus novelas, la lucha entre empoderamiento femenino contra convenciones sociales, la crítica a la sociedad y sus finales ambiguos. Mientras que en las dos anteriores novelas que leí de la autora –Rebeca y Mi Prima Rachel– el elemento romántico estaba en un segundo plano, en Frenchman’s Creek vemos cómo cobra mayor protagonismo. Aunque se pueden observar elementos precursores del género romántico moderno, el argumento principal gira en torno a una mujer protagonista fuerte que lucha contra las convenciones sociales y, quizás por ser éste un tema tan universal, ha sido extremadamente fácil sentirme identificada. Al igual que en Rebecca, los sentimientos de la protagonista son los principales –toda la novela está narrada en tercera persona pasada desde el punto de vista de Lady Dona, exceptuando el primer capítulo que nos introduce la ficción histórica que vamos a empezar a leer a través de ese juego de fantasmas y sueños que comentaba– y aunque el elemento romántico es lo que da pie a esta novela de aventuras entre una dama inglesa y un pirata francés en Cornwall durante el reinado de Charles II, esta historia es un cuento a favor de la libertad. La novela comienza presentándonos a Lady St. Columb huyendo, junto a sus dos hijos y la institutriz de estos, de la sociedad de la corte londinense y de un matrimonio infeliz. Elige como destino Navron, una finca de su marido en Cornwall que lleva deshabitada varios años pero que ha sido usada como 'base de operaciones' de un temible pirata francés (The Frenchman) que ha aterrorizado la costa cornuallesa durante varios años. No encontraremos grandes giros argumentales y es sencillo prever lo que ocurrirá: Lady Dona conoce en persona a este pirata nada convencional –un hombre culto que lee poesía y dibuja pájaros a carboncillo– y se enamora. Quizás no se enamora tanto de él como de lo que representa: la libertad, las aventuras y los peligros, el no tener que rendir cuentas a nadie… y por esto mismo el romance se narra de manera delicada y sutil, sin imágenes de pasión sino de entendimiento y respeto mutuo. La felicidad de Dona durará pocos días y en realidad sabemos cómo acabará el cuento, pero nos encontramos unos pasajes centrales maravillosos cuando ella decide vestirse como un hombre más de la tripulación del pirata y unirse a una aventura de saqueo de un barco mercante inglés. Este hecho y el temor que inspiran los diferentes robos en Cornwall hace que el marido de Dona (Harry) y su mejor amigo (Rockingham) decidan ir a Navron para capturar al pirata y llevarlo ante la justicia. He de decir que me he sorprendido a mí misma adorando tanto una historia de ficción histórica y romance –dos géneros que no suelo leer–, pero es una novela entretenida, maravillosamente escrita y que emociona de principio a fin. Eso sí, creo que os debe gustar el estilo de la autora para disfrutar al completo de esta novela.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    cross-posted at booklikes and the mo-centric universe. a few months of staring blankly into space means that finishing this book was a major accomplishment for me. normally, it would have been a quick read but for this cursed lack of focus.. anyway, it is a simple little romance, and i do like enigmatic, artistic pirates very much, so i found some fun in frenchman's creek. i wasn't crazy about it, though, beyond the eponymous pirate. the heroine, lady dona st. columb starts off very precious, dr cross-posted at booklikes and the mo-centric universe. a few months of staring blankly into space means that finishing this book was a major accomplishment for me. normally, it would have been a quick read but for this cursed lack of focus.. anyway, it is a simple little romance, and i do like enigmatic, artistic pirates very much, so i found some fun in frenchman's creek. i wasn't crazy about it, though, beyond the eponymous pirate. the heroine, lady dona st. columb starts off very precious, driving the thirsty and exhausted horses of her carriage on despite the concerns of the servant she commands. there is nobody chasing her, except perhaps an image in her mind of herself, wearing boy's breeches. she had lately done so, alleviating the boredom she felt in life by scaring an old lady while sneaking around in the middle of the night with her husband's cousin and best friend, rockingham. as a result of this secret shame, she has commanded that her husband, sir harry, stay behind in london while she exiles herself to his country seat, navron in cornwall, with just the children for company. lady dona, or lady lady, if you will (dona is used as the honorific "lady" in latin countries) has come to realize that she doesn't much like the woman she's become (she will repeatedly tell everyone within hearing that she is "near thirty" in the novel) and that she worries that the dignity her title affords is all she has retained. she does not love her husband (she married him because she liked his eyes but apparently that is no longer enough) and she tries to love her children (she has two) but there's really only evidence of some small affection or perhaps more properly, a compulsive maternal connection to her son, james. her daughter henrietta is only casually mentioned and most often she doesn't distinguish between them, only saying how much she enjoys picking flowers with the children. of course, that's when she's not leaving them in care of their nurse, and sneaking off the estate for a few days to go fishing in the creek with our titular frenchman, the pirate. the pirate does has a name but in dialogue he is always the frenchman, so i'm not going to bother telling you his name; du maurier seems to have been allergic to them, anyway. sometimes he draws pictures of dona when he is not sketching birds or teaching her about fishing or the natural world. and of course he used to have a title and be fancy but he gave up all that for adventures on the high seas (and the high creeks, of course). so hurray for the frenchman despite his taste in women! the thing that bugged me most about the novel was du maurier's handling of the period, the historical part of the romance. the book never feels planted in the seventeenth century even though the bulk of the action takes place then. she had already shown so much command in the previously-published rebecca and had already written this type of book, the bodice-ripper jamaica inn, so it's sort of surprising du maurier seems so unsure as a writer here. the first chapter is not set in the period she has committed to: instead she has a contemporary, unnamed yachtsman sail past the part of cornwall where dona's story unfolded two centuries before. she even provides a full precis of the action of the novel here, called forth by the land as he floats by: it is as if the birds, the creek and the country are haunted by this lady and her lover. perhaps she meant this "foreshadowing" as an effect to heighten the power of her romance, that the love herein described still "echoes through the ages" but i did not find it effective. and then there's lady dona herself. du maurier wants you to knows she is an inevitably devastatingly beautiful, ringletted, fiery and strong-willed woman who is used to getting her way, essentially born in the wrong era. the problem in terms of the novel is that everybody else, ostensibly supposed to be part of the norm in society, accepts her behaviour and conveniently accedes to it at every point and frankly, i didn't buy it.. really? lord godolphin would allow her to do *that*? du maurier doesn't make the remotest effort to have dona's movements impeded by her time or position. her husband is ruled by her but so is everybody else, it seems. the only check on her actions comes from the lady herself which seems incompatible with restoration-era england. as other reviewers have noted, lady dona seems to be du maurier's tragic mary sue, a woman who can bend anyone to her will, whose portrait can make a man lose his heart but whose face is conveniently forgettable when it counts. she cannot have everything she wants because she is constrained by her sex. i do actually feel that if du maurier didn't think Society would judge her for it, she would've given this novel the ending that some romantics yearn for, and had she not had children herself, i don't imagine the novel would have unfolded the way it did at all. all this i struggled to accept but the worst parts of the novel for me were two scenes where dona and her frenchman were together, at their first late-night supper, and later on when fishing. dona is at her most annoying here as she petulantly mewls about the limitations of being a woman, about how much less a woman is than a man. thankfully the pirate argues with her in defense of the sex she disparages but it seemed to me her limitations were of class not sex: the reason she could not fish or cook was because she was wealthy, because she was a lady lady. and please stop saying women aren't creative, stupid dona, so that our hero, the frenchman can point out the obvious powers. i did like the servant william and her dynamic with him, though i grew tired of dona's describing him as a man with a "button mouth". what does that even mean? (i keep imagining sylvester stallone's mouth.) also, i know i already mentioned it, but i thought i should end on a high note: the frenchman pirate is really attractive. come tell me about birds and share your cheese with me, monsieur. still, i couldn't help but think of how much more i had enjoyed sabatini's Captain Blood. now there's a pirate romance! probably closer to 2.5 stars but given that i am happy to have finished something, i'm shining up three. This work by Maureen de Sousa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    A wonderful and deeply romantic novel with an excellent narration by John Glass. I’d always wanted to read this and it was worth the wait. There were a few possible endings to this story and I didn’t get the one I wanted, but I didn’t get the worst one either!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cherie

    I am sitting here at my desk looking at my library book. It has pink and blue and yellow post it notes sticking out of the top and side of the book on so many of the pages! I used them to mark the pages where I thought there were a few wonderful lines or a memorable scene or dialogue as I read. On some, I wrote a comment or a note to remind me what happened in the chapter. I like to go back to them when I am done reading. I always think I will want to add some of the lines or notes when I write I am sitting here at my desk looking at my library book. It has pink and blue and yellow post it notes sticking out of the top and side of the book on so many of the pages! I used them to mark the pages where I thought there were a few wonderful lines or a memorable scene or dialogue as I read. On some, I wrote a comment or a note to remind me what happened in the chapter. I like to go back to them when I am done reading. I always think I will want to add some of the lines or notes when I write my review. I want to this time, but I can't figure out where to start because I want to add them all! Okay - just one. He smiled, saying nothing, and began to whistle softly under his breath, watching her as he did so, so that at last she looked away, knowing that her eyes betrayed her, and his also; they were speaking to each other without words. Reader, I want you to see all of the wonderful lines and scenes and dialogue too. I want you to read this book. I want you to feel this love story. I want you to escape with a beautiful woman and join her on her adventure with a pirate. I want you to bask in the haunting scenery and sun and salt water on the ocean described by Daphne du Maurier as she wrote it almost 100 years ago. Don't over-think it. Don't worry about things. Just read it and FEEL it! Don't cry too much. P.S. Don't read the Reading Guide Questions at the end of the book when you are done with the last page of the story, if your volume has them. Some of them make me mad and some of them I am not sure I understand but I do not want to go there.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    "[W]e are all cogs in a wheel, and mothers especially. It is only pirates who are free." A timeless classic that begs to be read for the shear joy of thrilling adventure, daring romance, decorous prose, and literary awesomeness. "He has it that those who live a normal life in this world of ours, are forced into habits, into customs, into a rule of life that eventually kills all initiative, all spontaneity. A man becomes a cog in the wheel, part of a system. But because a pirate is a rebel and a "[W]e are all cogs in a wheel, and mothers especially. It is only pirates who are free." A timeless classic that begs to be read for the shear joy of thrilling adventure, daring romance, decorous prose, and literary awesomeness. "He has it that those who live a normal life in this world of ours, are forced into habits, into customs, into a rule of life that eventually kills all initiative, all spontaneity. A man becomes a cog in the wheel, part of a system. But because a pirate is a rebel and an outcast, he escapes from the world. He is without ties . . . " FIVE ***** Timeless CLASSIC WORTH READING AND REREADING - Not Simply Just Collecting and Owning ***** STARS

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mrs Lecter

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book made me cry. It was so much fun and incredibly romantic but the ending turned me into an emotional wreck.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Wyndy

    This was a swashbuckling, fast-paced, entertaining read. Not as sinister as ‘Rebecca’ or as atmospheric as ‘Jamaica Inn,’ but still a romping piece of escapist literature from a legendary writer and storyteller. Lady Dona St. Columb is a London socialite on personal holiday with her two young children at her husband’s estate on the coast of Cornwall. Dona is way ahead of her time, brazen and sarcastic and headstrong. Jean-Benoit Aubery is the charming, sophisticated Frenchman - the Robin Hood of This was a swashbuckling, fast-paced, entertaining read. Not as sinister as ‘Rebecca’ or as atmospheric as ‘Jamaica Inn,’ but still a romping piece of escapist literature from a legendary writer and storyteller. Lady Dona St. Columb is a London socialite on personal holiday with her two young children at her husband’s estate on the coast of Cornwall. Dona is way ahead of her time, brazen and sarcastic and headstrong. Jean-Benoit Aubery is the charming, sophisticated Frenchman - the Robin Hood of pirates. He reads and draws and muses. These two meet by happenstance and become co-conspirators in many a dicey escapade as this tale unfolds. But loyal manservant William was my favorite character in the novel. His respectful, deadpan one-liners to Lady Dona are pitch perfect: “Can you cook, William?” “I am not entirely ignorant of the art, my lady.” “Do you approve of your master’s profession, William?” she said. “Approve and disapprove are two words that are not in my vocabulary, my lady.” “How do I look? Will your master approve?” she asked him, turning on her heels. “He will make no comment, my lady,” replied the servant, “but I do not think he will be entirely indifferent to your appearance.” Light but not trite with wonderful descriptions of the natural world surrounding Cornwall and recommended to anyone who needs a classic adventure story with a splash of romance. 3.5 very good stars, rounded up because it’s du Maurier, and her dialogue is superb.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Misfit

    Set during the reign of Charles II, Lady Dona St. Columb finally tires of her husband and his hard playing friends and abandons London for their estate in Cornwall. Dona and her children thrive in the country life, but not all is as it seems - there's a bit of a mystery surrounding the servant in charge of the house, let alone wondering who has been sleeping in her room and left behind a pouch of tobacco and a book of poetry. The locals are restless with the recent attacks from French pirates an Set during the reign of Charles II, Lady Dona St. Columb finally tires of her husband and his hard playing friends and abandons London for their estate in Cornwall. Dona and her children thrive in the country life, but not all is as it seems - there's a bit of a mystery surrounding the servant in charge of the house, let alone wondering who has been sleeping in her room and left behind a pouch of tobacco and a book of poetry. The locals are restless with the recent attacks from French pirates and Dona soon finds herself swept up in it all as it appears it is her house and land they have been using as their hideaway and the handsome Frenchman Jean-Benoit Aubery impossible to resist. That's all I'm telling, read it for yourself. While certainly not Du Maurier's best, it was a very enjoyable tale of love, pirates, a daring escape or two in just in the nick of time and frankly I had a hard time putting it down.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Quirkyreader

    This was a rollicking and fun adventure story that can be enjoyed by anyone. And yes there is a bit of romance thrown in as well. While reading this, I pictured the main characters played by Errol Flynn and Greta Garbo. I don’t know if this book was ever made into a film, but it would make a great one. I just loved the way how Du Maurier wrote this story. If was fun for fun’s sake. This story would also stand up well as a companion volume with “Treasure Island”. So give this book a go and just roll This was a rollicking and fun adventure story that can be enjoyed by anyone. And yes there is a bit of romance thrown in as well. While reading this, I pictured the main characters played by Errol Flynn and Greta Garbo. I don’t know if this book was ever made into a film, but it would make a great one. I just loved the way how Du Maurier wrote this story. If was fun for fun’s sake. This story would also stand up well as a companion volume with “Treasure Island”. So give this book a go and just roll with it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Diane Lynn

    What a romantic tale, I loved it. It started a little slow but quickly picked up steam and I ended up reading it in one day. Daphne du Maurier has such an elegant way of describing Cornwall, the sea, and her characters. Especially the artist-philosopher-pirate and master of La Mouette, Jean Benoit Aubery. Throw in lots of adventure, danger and daring escapes and this story is a real winner.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Britta Böhler

    The love story at the centre of the book is almost regency-romancy but of course with your typical DDM-twists.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lucie

    “She knew that this was happiness, this was living as she had always wished to live.” None of my words can ever give justice to one of Daphne du Maurier's novels. All I can say is that I fell in love with one of them, once again. Starting one of her works always feel different, because from the very first words, it feels like home and I cannot stop reading. I want to enjoy her words for as long as possible, but I can't stop. After reading the introduction to Frenchman's Creek (I adore the Vir “She knew that this was happiness, this was living as she had always wished to live.” None of my words can ever give justice to one of Daphne du Maurier's novels. All I can say is that I fell in love with one of them, once again. Starting one of her works always feel different, because from the very first words, it feels like home and I cannot stop reading. I want to enjoy her words for as long as possible, but I can't stop. After reading the introduction to Frenchman's Creek (I adore the Virago Modern Classics introductions!), I had to stop before moving on to the actual text, because I was so moved, teary-eyed, and somehow jealous of Julie Myerson, who got to write to Daphne and to receive several answers, for I will never be able to have that. I'm already getting off course, but what I meant was: all those times I've said Daphne du Maurier was pretty much my soulmate, I wasn't joking. No one else gets me as much as she does. In Frenchman's Creek, I fell in love with the descriptions of Cornwall, with the atmosphere, with the way the pirate's life was described. Daphne du Maurier has such a way with words and she truly is my favourite author. Like Dona, I felt more and more like myself as much as the book progressed, the more I got to know the Frenchman, the more I got close to his pirate life. Frenchman's Creek definitely isn't the silly love story that some people have called it. It is a story about finding who you are after having to hide it for so long, about sexual awakening, about duty, about family, about passion. The plot was so gripping, my eyes were glued to the page and I always needed more. It was quite an adventure and it made me love Daphne du Maurier even more, because it was everything I wanted. That's everything I needed from a 20th century pirate book, it was realistic, it was entertaining and I wish I had been Dona. I adored Dona St Columb, the main character, because I could relate to her so much, she felt so modern, she was so smart, witty, independent and fierce, she also needed more from her life, because when she married, she thought she would have it all, but yet, it all felt so hollow. She made me laugh, I loved the way she talked to the male characters, especially considering this novel was published in 1941 and it was set in the seventeenth century. Alongside her, I fell for the pirate, Jean-Benoit Aubéry (this was such a French name indeed), I understood him completely. William also was such a hilarious character! He stayed deadpan most of the time and that's what made me laugh so much, he meant so much behind every single one of his words. The characters had so much chemistry together, they made me laugh, they made me cry, they made hopeful. Still, the romance felt a bit rushed at times, because there were so many gaps, moments the author didn't describe and I so wish she had, for I needed so much more. I was planning on giving it 4.5/5 stars but I loved it so much that I truly don't care about some of its flaws, once again (at least I didn't sit on it for three months like for The Loving Spirit). Overall, I adored this one and it's a favourite (what a suprise). Daphne du Maurier was so ahead of her time, once again, I loved the characters she crafted, the plot, her writing, the atmosphere. It felt like quite a summer read for me as it deals with the sea so much and I'd totally recommend it!

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