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The nonfiction debut from beloved international sensation and #1 New York Times bestselling author Tatiana de Rosnay: her bestselling biography of novelist Daphne du Maurier. “It's impressive how Tatiana was able to recreate the personality of my mother, including her sense of humor. It is very well written and very moving. I’m sure my mother would have loved this book. The nonfiction debut from beloved international sensation and #1 New York Times bestselling author Tatiana de Rosnay: her bestselling biography of novelist Daphne du Maurier. “It's impressive how Tatiana was able to recreate the personality of my mother, including her sense of humor. It is very well written and very moving. I’m sure my mother would have loved this book.” — Tessa Montgomery d’Alamein, daughter of Daphné du Maurier, as told to Pauline Sommelet in Point de VueAs a bilingual bestselling novelist with a mixed Franco-British bloodline and a host of eminent forebears, Tatiana de Rosnay is the perfect candidate to write a biography of Daphne du Maurier. As an eleven-year-old de Rosnay read and reread Rebecca, becoming a lifelong devotee of Du Maurier’s fiction. Now de Rosnay pays homage to the writer who influenced her so deeply, following Du Maurier from a shy seven-year-old, a rebellious sixteen-year-old, a twenty-something newlywed, and finally a cantankerous old lady. With a rhythm and intimacy to its prose characteristic of all de Rosnay’s works, Manderley Forever is a vividly compelling portrait and celebration of an intriguing, hugely popular and (at the time) critically underrated writer.


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The nonfiction debut from beloved international sensation and #1 New York Times bestselling author Tatiana de Rosnay: her bestselling biography of novelist Daphne du Maurier. “It's impressive how Tatiana was able to recreate the personality of my mother, including her sense of humor. It is very well written and very moving. I’m sure my mother would have loved this book. The nonfiction debut from beloved international sensation and #1 New York Times bestselling author Tatiana de Rosnay: her bestselling biography of novelist Daphne du Maurier. “It's impressive how Tatiana was able to recreate the personality of my mother, including her sense of humor. It is very well written and very moving. I’m sure my mother would have loved this book.” — Tessa Montgomery d’Alamein, daughter of Daphné du Maurier, as told to Pauline Sommelet in Point de VueAs a bilingual bestselling novelist with a mixed Franco-British bloodline and a host of eminent forebears, Tatiana de Rosnay is the perfect candidate to write a biography of Daphne du Maurier. As an eleven-year-old de Rosnay read and reread Rebecca, becoming a lifelong devotee of Du Maurier’s fiction. Now de Rosnay pays homage to the writer who influenced her so deeply, following Du Maurier from a shy seven-year-old, a rebellious sixteen-year-old, a twenty-something newlywed, and finally a cantankerous old lady. With a rhythm and intimacy to its prose characteristic of all de Rosnay’s works, Manderley Forever is a vividly compelling portrait and celebration of an intriguing, hugely popular and (at the time) critically underrated writer.

30 review for Manderley Forever: A Biography of Daphne du Maurier

  1. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    OMGOSH! What fascinating insight into the world of Daphne du Maurier!Written more like a novel than a work of non-fiction, Tatiana de Rosnay begins MANDERLEY FOREVER with a young Daphne brought up in a privileged home (the apple of her 'famous' father's eye) who even at age four showed creativity, and continues on by sharing (surprising) tidbits from her personal diary throughout the good times and the bad all the way to the end.I was totally immersed in her life, passions, obsessions and dark s OMGOSH! What fascinating insight into the world of Daphne du Maurier!Written more like a novel than a work of non-fiction, Tatiana de Rosnay begins MANDERLEY FOREVER with a young Daphne brought up in a privileged home (the apple of her 'famous' father's eye) who even at age four showed creativity, and continues on by sharing (surprising) tidbits from her personal diary throughout the good times and the bad all the way to the end.I was totally immersed in her life, passions, obsessions and dark secrets; and while not a perfect sort by any means, she was certainly an intriguing and complex woman. Daphne was shy and self-centered in many ways, but thought nothing of swimming nude or helping someone in need. She liked exploring abandoned buildings in the dark (there might be a story there) and often ignored her (well-cared for) children by going off somewhere to be alone with only her journal and her thoughts.There is much noteworthy information to digest here including her "forbidden hidden appetites" but most memorable for me was discovering the many historical places and circumstances that inspired and often gave her stories their dark nature.As I continue to read more of Daphne's "wickedly readable" work, her (supposedly) most terrifying short story collection, The Breaking Point, is now high on my to-read agenda. Daphne du Maurier - May 13, 1907 to April 19, 1989 Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. Loved it! (and Sarah's Key)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    The only book that I have read written by Daphne Du Maurier, is Rebecca, yet it left such an impression on me! I so enjoyed this biography of this author, learning of her family, her loves, the way her writing took form, the stories behind the writing. I have now added several novels and a couple short story collections of Ms. Du Maurier's to my list of books to read. I was quite taken with her, from reading about her! I want to thank Netgalley, St. Martin's Press, and the author Tatiana de Rosnay The only book that I have read written by Daphne Du Maurier, is Rebecca, yet it left such an impression on me! I so enjoyed this biography of this author, learning of her family, her loves, the way her writing took form, the stories behind the writing. I have now added several novels and a couple short story collections of Ms. Du Maurier's to my list of books to read. I was quite taken with her, from reading about her! I want to thank Netgalley, St. Martin's Press, and the author Tatiana de Rosnay for the opportunity to read this advanced copy!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ericka Seidemann

    After reading Manderley Forever, I put a photo of Daphne du Maurier on my desk. I think Daphne and I would’ve been good friends. At least, I’d like to think so. Or maybe I would have just trailed behind her like a puppy, begging for a modicum of her affection. Tatiana de Rosnay’s biography shows her admiration and her respect for Daphne, too. I think if I had been able to meet Daphne while she was alive, I would have been enamored but also somewhat intimidated. The biography de Rosnay has created After reading Manderley Forever, I put a photo of Daphne du Maurier on my desk. I think Daphne and I would’ve been good friends. At least, I’d like to think so. Or maybe I would have just trailed behind her like a puppy, begging for a modicum of her affection. Tatiana de Rosnay’s biography shows her admiration and her respect for Daphne, too. I think if I had been able to meet Daphne while she was alive, I would have been enamored but also somewhat intimidated. The biography de Rosnay has created is enthralling. Daphne du Maurier was a complex, non-conformist, reclusive writer who eschewed contact with fans and the media. I enjoyed reading about her life with the backdrop of the development of her novels, how her love for Cornwall, or her travels abroad, affected her writing or inspired various storylines. I played a game while reading trying to guess which novel was coming next. I learned a lot about Daphne – what inspired her, what motivated her, who captured her heart. De Rosnay handles Daphne's various loves, those fulfilled and those unrequited, with grace and compassion. Manderley Forever gives insight into the life of this beloved novelist who was often written off by critics as only a best-selling romance writer. She was enigmatic, and her novels were darker and more complicated than she was often given credit for. Her alter ego, Eric Avon, was Daphne as her most genuine, and de Rosnay explores that side of Daphne with wonder. I appreciated the multi-faceted character de Rosnay gives her readers. She shows Daphne's darker side, her temperamental personality, but also her loyalty and devotion to family and life-long friends. Her peccadilloes are all there in the open, which only serves the book's legitimacy. Daphne had an obsessive personality, often inexplicably drawn to places or people that she would cling to tenaciously, but she also suffered from social anxiety, hiding from fans who came to Menabilly seeking autographs. Her life story was well-researched, but more importantly, it was written with care and love, which shows on every page. Manderley Forever has inspired me to read all the du Maurier novels I haven't yet read, now that I know the story and inspiration behind the tales. Highly recommended for du Maurier fans, and for those just beginning to discover her. My gratitude to Netgalley, Tatiana de Rosnay, and St. Martin’s Press for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bam cooks the books ;-)

    I have adored the books of Daphne du Maurier since reading Rebecca as a teen, The House on the Strand in college and My Cousin Rachel very recently. According to Tatiana de Rosnay's biography of du Maurier, she would have despised my reasons for loving each of them--their gothic-romanticism and atmosphere of suspense. She wanted to be considered a serious writer of literature and worried that her literary reputation couldn't survive fame as a best-selling author. This biography reads like a nove I have adored the books of Daphne du Maurier since reading Rebecca as a teen, The House on the Strand in college and My Cousin Rachel very recently. According to Tatiana de Rosnay's biography of du Maurier, she would have despised my reasons for loving each of them--their gothic-romanticism and atmosphere of suspense. She wanted to be considered a serious writer of literature and worried that her literary reputation couldn't survive fame as a best-selling author. This biography reads like a novel and is as entrancing as one. The woman herself certainly comes alive in these pages--her loves, her triumphs and disappointments, her fascination with the du Maurier genealogy and the homes she lived in that set the scene for so many of her best stories (de Rosnay tries to view all of them from the outside, following in the author's footsteps). I was amazed to read that she lived as far into modern times as she did; somehow she seems a woman of an earlier era, when she was being her most productive. Many thanks to NetGalley, the author and publisher for the opportunity to read an arc of this delightful, well-written biography of one of my favorite authors. It has inspired me to read more of her books and short stories in the near future.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Susan Johnson

    I was really looking forward to this book as I really like Daphne DuMaurier and am participating in a buddy read of several of her books. We're currently reading The Flight of the Falcon so I thought this would be a perfect addition to the discussion. I was disappointed. The author really never brought DuMaurier alive for me. It was like she was holding her at arm's length, examining while not really getting close. I think the problem may be that it was written in French and perhaps the transla I was really looking forward to this book as I really like Daphne DuMaurier and am participating in a buddy read of several of her books. We're currently reading The Flight of the Falcon so I thought this would be a perfect addition to the discussion. I was disappointed. The author really never brought DuMaurier alive for me. It was like she was holding her at arm's length, examining while not really getting close. I think the problem may be that it was written in French and perhaps the translation made it seem stiffer than it really was. I am not sure. It also explains why there were so many paged devoted to the problems of translating DuMaurier into French and a rather in depth discussion of French translators. I really didn't care but the French author did. DuMaurier came from a wealthy, artistic family. Her grandfather was an author and her father was a famous stage actor. Materialistically the family wanted for nothing. She was the middle of three sisters and described as the most beautiful, talented, and witty. She was sent to a French boarding school in her teens where she had her first lesbian experience with a teacher. She would go on to have several lesbian relationships and ended up marrying a high ranking military man. He was so high up that both Prince Phillip and Princess Elizabeth came to their house for lunch at different times. She had three children, 2 girls and one boy and highly favored the boy. She basically ignored the girls while they were growing up because they interfered with her writing. She also had a frosty relationship with her husband and had separate bedrooms. She only saw him on week-ends since he worked in London and she felt the only place she could write was in her beloved home in Cornwall. The author also discusses in great detail that she had an alter ego, a man. She feels more like a man than a woman and the author divides her works into those the man wrote and those the woman within her wrote. I have no idea if this is true or how the author would know but she spends an extraordinary amount of time discussing this topic. DuMaurier wrote some wonderful books that have passed the test of time. I really don't need to know the details behind it all. It's like in "The Wizard of Oz" when they pull the curtain back and you see the Wizard. She doesn't come off very likable in this biography. I quibble how the author supposedly knows certain things. Did DuMaurier really lie on her death bed cursing Rebecca DeWinter for critics not taking her seriously? Somehow I doubt it. Thank you, Net Galley, for a copy of this book in exchange for a review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Several years ago my husband and I went to the Redford Theater in Detroit to see Rebecca on the big screen. The 1928 Japanese-themed theater has been restored by the Motor City Theater Organization, which bought the Redford for it's Barton organ. As usual, the theater seats were filled while the organ concert delighted the audience. I had seen Hitchcock's Rebecca on television before I read the book. While an English major at Temple University in Philadelphia I attended several meetings of an Eng Several years ago my husband and I went to the Redford Theater in Detroit to see Rebecca on the big screen. The 1928 Japanese-themed theater has been restored by the Motor City Theater Organization, which bought the Redford for it's Barton organ. As usual, the theater seats were filled while the organ concert delighted the audience. I had seen Hitchcock's Rebecca on television before I read the book. While an English major at Temple University in Philadelphia I attended several meetings of an English majors club, one time to share readings from favorite books. A young man read from Rebecca. It was the first time I had heard Daphne Du Maurier's writing and I put her on my TBR list and later read many of her novels. So, there we were at this beautifully restored theater in the heart of a declining Detroit watching Rebecca on the big screen, listening to those famous opening words, "Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again." We were ready to be swept into the magic of story. The magic was soon lost. The audience laughed. They especially laughed at Mrs. Danvers. There was no pleasure in watching the film, for the laughter diminished the film to farce. I am grateful that Tatiana De Rosnay's Manderley Forever: A Biography of Daphne De Maurier restored and justified my original appreciation of Rebecca. De Rosnay has written a mesmerizing biography that also recreates Du Maurier's creative journey. In 1937 Du Maurier followed her soldier husband 'Boy' Tommy Browning to Egypt, leaving their newborn and three-year-old child with family in England. She hated the army-wife parties, and the desert. She was homesick and thought about Menabilly, the empty manor house in Cornwall that she fell in love with at first sight. Images came to her. She reflected on her jealousy of Boy's first love, a sophisticated, high society beauty. She recalled the vision of a housekeeper's tall, black silhouette, and remembered seeing the shipwreck of the Romanie. She knew the book was to be called Rebecca, and that it would be about jealousy. Du Maurier returned to Cornwall and spent three months writing her novel like a woman possessed. She sent it to her publisher with a note saying, "Here is the book. I've tried to get an atmosphere of suspense. It's a bit on the gloomy side. The ending is a bit brief and a bit grim." The novel's publication, of course, changed her life. Yet, she felt the novel was misunderstood. She did not write a corny romance! Hitchcock bought the film rights; she hated his film version of her novel Jamaica Inn and was distraught. She wrote to David Selznick, begging that the character Rebecca never be portrayed on screen. She was thrilled that Laurence Olivier would be Max de Winter, but protested that Vivian Leigh was too beautiful to be the second Mrs. de Winter. Thankfully, it was Joan Fontaine who got the role and in the end the author loved the film--including Judith Anderson's portrayal of Mrs. Danvers. Hitchcock did alter Du Maurier's book: Mrs. Danvers in the author's mind was younger and was in love with the first Mrs. de Winters, and she was clear that Max had killed his wife in a jealous rage but was not punished for it. "It makes me a little ashamed to admit it, but I do believe I love Mena more than people."-Daphne Du Maurier In 1943, a now wealthy Du Maurier had no love of fashion or high living or art. What she wanted was Menabilly. It was literally falling down, without any modern conveniences. She would have to renovate it with her own funds. Yet she rented the house for twenty years. And so began her love affair with Mena. I understand how she fell in love with a house, a place with a history that could be read in its every beam and stone. Du Maurier became interested in history, including her own family history, and extensively researched while preparing for her novels. Manderley Forever brings alive a complicated author in context of her family history, her personal and creative growth, and literary place. I enjoyed the book immensely. I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Manderley Forever: A Biography of Daphne Du Maurier written by Tatiana de Rosnay and translated by Sam Taylor is a 2017 St. Martin’s Press publication. This may be one of the most unique biographies I’ve ever read. Tatiana de Rosnay wrote this biography as though it were a novel, as though Daphne Du Maurier were telling us her life story, giving us access to her personal thoughts and feelings, which is really something, and she pulled it off quite nicely. As a huge fan of the Gothic genre, you Manderley Forever: A Biography of Daphne Du Maurier written by Tatiana de Rosnay and translated by Sam Taylor is a 2017 St. Martin’s Press publication. This may be one of the most unique biographies I’ve ever read. Tatiana de Rosnay wrote this biography as though it were a novel, as though Daphne Du Maurier were telling us her life story, giving us access to her personal thoughts and feelings, which is really something, and she pulled it off quite nicely. As a huge fan of the Gothic genre, you would think I had read more than just a few of Daphne’s novels. But, in all honestly, I have a few of her books in my collection, but I’ve only read two or three. I have never read anything about her life prior to reading this biography either, interestingly enough. But, ‘Rebecca’ is a one my favorite books of all time, and it’s one of the handful of novels I get a craving to re-read from time to time. This book was first published in France in 2015, but has been translated, very professionally, into the English language by Sam Taylor. I’m not sure why, perhaps it was the unusual layout and approach the author used, but I felt compelled to do a few Google searches about Du Maurier while reading this book, wondering about the facts conveyed here. There were a few times I felt the author took some liberties, perhaps thinking the ‘novel’ format would gloss over any discrepancies or disputes. There are no outright falsehoods, that I know of, but the nature of at least one relationship Daphne had has been called into question by her family, but was passed off as an equivocal fact in this book. However, Daphne’s own daughter wrote a ‘blurb’ for the original publication, so I suppose the family was happy with it, and if they are fine with it, so am I, but I still reserve the right to remain skeptical, because it’s just in my nature to question the answers. (The author does list sources, much of which came from Daphne’s memoirs, personal letters and information procured from the family. But, she also listed other sources and biographies I thought sounded very interesting and hope to add, along with more if Daphne’s novels, to my reading list.) Otherwise, the author did a very good job of including all the information one would expect from a biography, but not only that, she brought Daphne Du Maurier to life. She became a living, breathing entity, with her own ‘voice’ ringing out loud and clear, which is pretty hard in most cases, because a biographer seldom manages to avoid invoking his or her own opinions, or personal presence somewhere along the way. I did notice some repetitiveness from time to time and the author may have driven home Daphne’s dual ‘sides’ a bit too much. That point was brought up many times, but I'd gotten the message early on, so I thought it bordered on overkill a time or two. I had to smile at times because Daphne reminded me of me when it came to enjoying her solitude, favoring it and savoring it to the extent others have a hard time understanding. But, the thing that struck me most of all was her natural ability to write. Despite the criticism hurled at her, I have to say, I never viewed Du Maurier as a ‘romantic’ author. Certainly, her stories strongly represent that element, but, the few I’ve read were more literary, mysterious, and haunting and I’d struggle mightily to categorize her as a historical romance author. Critics tried to brush her off, piously dismissing her because of her commercial success. However, Dame Daphne was without a doubt, much more than a storyteller. She was a unique talent, and a pure writer. She took the criticism and delighted in her sucesses. She had many peaks and valleys in her career, but soldiered on no matter which way it went. Overall, if you are a fan of Daphne Du Maurier you should give this book a try. I wouldn’t depend upon it solely, necessarily, but I think this book will give you a much more personal and vivid accounting of her life, and will compliment any traditional biography on her life. The book also lists Daphne’s bibliography at the back of the book, as well as a family tree, photographs, maps, notes, sources, and a detailed index. 4 stars

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    I received an advance uncorrected proof of this book from a Goodreads giveaway. The copy I received was a little over 300 pages and didn't include any photos, so I'm not sure how many differences there are between the arc that I read & the final version, but I was not a fan of the book that I read. This may be better appreciated by people who favor fiction over biographies in general. I read a fair amount of both and this bio just did not work for me, for some reason. I love Daphne du Maurier an I received an advance uncorrected proof of this book from a Goodreads giveaway. The copy I received was a little over 300 pages and didn't include any photos, so I'm not sure how many differences there are between the arc that I read & the final version, but I was not a fan of the book that I read. This may be better appreciated by people who favor fiction over biographies in general. I read a fair amount of both and this bio just did not work for me, for some reason. I love Daphne du Maurier and appreciated what I learned about her life, but this format seemed gimmicky to me. There are five sections and each section begins in November, 2013 with the author traveling to the location that sets the scene for the section. Then we travel back in time to Daphne's point of view and everything is written in present tense. The author continually uses nicknames and "code words" that Daphne and her closest confidants used, and to help the reader, the code words are marked with an asterisk and can be looked up in a glossary that does not seem to be chronological or alphabetical. It was all just a bit too much for me. But then, I don't think the book was written for me. All of these stylistic choices that I didn't enjoy seem to be the author's tip of the hat to Daphne herself. It leaves me with the impression that this biography is a love letter from the author to someone she idolizes. If that's the case, and the author's main objective was to write something Daphne would love and hope that others enjoy it as well. If that's the main objective, I'm not a very good judge if she accomplished what she set out to do. I haven't read enough of Du Maurier's work to accurately judge that. All I can say is that for me it missed the mark. I often became bored and set the book down to pick up my phone and do my own research on Daphne's friends and family mentioned in the book. My interest in the subject never changed, but the book itself was not a good vehicle for me, anyway.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Peter Swanson

    I liked this as much as I can like any book that's written in the present tense. I liked this as much as I can like any book that's written in the present tense.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tami

    When I saw that Tatiana de Rosnay was writing a biography about Daphne du Maurier, I was immediately interested in reading it. I can’t say I was necessarily a du Maurier fan, having only read Rebecca and seen Alfred Hitchcock’s adaptation of The Birds. Nevertheless, I found the idea of her biography intriguing, especially in the hands of de Rosnay, who grew up admiring du Maurier’s work . Born to a life of privilege, du Maurier was exposed to literature and the arts early on. She realized at a yo When I saw that Tatiana de Rosnay was writing a biography about Daphne du Maurier, I was immediately interested in reading it. I can’t say I was necessarily a du Maurier fan, having only read Rebecca and seen Alfred Hitchcock’s adaptation of The Birds. Nevertheless, I found the idea of her biography intriguing, especially in the hands of de Rosnay, who grew up admiring du Maurier’s work . Born to a life of privilege, du Maurier was exposed to literature and the arts early on. She realized at a young age that she wanted to write. It was in her early twenties that her first novel became published. I was mesmerized by the story from this point on. Driven by a compulsive need to write and a desire to be self-supporting, du Maurier continued to write short stories, novels and screen-plays throughout her lifetime. There is no doubt that de Rosnay was able to accurately convey her struggles and triumphs along the way--both personally and professionally. Manderley Forever is a very well written biography. De Rosnay manages to capture du Maurier’s complex and fascinating personality and does it with such respect and objectivity. It was interesting to learn what was happening in du Maurier’s life as she wrote each novel and how she developed her characters and story lines. Thanks to de Rosnay, I am inspired to read several more of du Maurier’s novels, which will be all the more meaningful now that I know what inspired the stories, the characters and the settings. I highly recommend Manderley Forever for fans of du Maurier and for those who have a desire to learn more about her. With a new movie version of My Cousin Rachel due out this summer, there could not be a better time to read about Daphne du Maurier. Manderley Forever would also be a great pick for book clubs. Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for allowing me an advanced copy to read in exchange for an honest review. Also, a big thank you to Tatiana de Rosnay for offering Manderley Forever as a goodreads giveaway, of which I was lucky enough to be a winner! I was so excited about this, as I would love to lend it to my mother and to have it for my personal library next to du Maurier's other books that I own.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lynne

    This book was full of great information about the life of Daphne Du Maurier. It's interesting to see what influenced her and motivated her to write the books and plays. She was definitely a multidimensional person. She had many interesting experiences and secrets which enabled her various story lines. Surprisingly, the writing in this book was a little dry to me and although it was interesting, I had a difficult time engaging in it. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC. This book was full of great information about the life of Daphne Du Maurier. It's interesting to see what influenced her and motivated her to write the books and plays. She was definitely a multidimensional person. She had many interesting experiences and secrets which enabled her various story lines. Surprisingly, the writing in this book was a little dry to me and although it was interesting, I had a difficult time engaging in it. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Beth Bonini

    I heard Tatiana de Rosnay speak about this book, and her lifelong fascination with Daphne de Maurier, at the Waterstones Bookshop in Hampstead in October 2017. Her enthusiasm was incredibly infectious and I came away from the evening feeling incredibly excited to read this book. In her talk, she referred to the fact that there had already been several du Maurier biographies, and that she herself was a fiction writer - and not a biographer. She talked a great deal of her process in entering DdM’s I heard Tatiana de Rosnay speak about this book, and her lifelong fascination with Daphne de Maurier, at the Waterstones Bookshop in Hampstead in October 2017. Her enthusiasm was incredibly infectious and I came away from the evening feeling incredibly excited to read this book. In her talk, she referred to the fact that there had already been several du Maurier biographies, and that she herself was a fiction writer - and not a biographer. She talked a great deal of her process in entering DdM’s story, and personality, and in the first third of the book there are several chapters which describe how she followed in Daphne’s footsteps: visiting the houses that Daphne lived in - Cumberland Terrace, Cannon Hall, and the famous (the infamous) Menabilly in Cornwall. There was no doubt about her love for her subject, but what I found very strange was that this ‘love’ was not communicated to me as a reader. De Rosnay takes a big gamble on the ‘voice’ she uses to narrate her book, and for me, it didn’t really work. While Daphne (or more often ‘she’ is described in the third person), de Rosnay uses the present tense at nearly all times. Example: “Becoming Mrs. Browning is not an easy task, despite the love she feels for her husband. Marriage deals a blow to her precious freedom. How will she manage to write?” This present tense is meant to create an atmosphere of intimacy, but for me it always struck a false note. I could never quite get used to it. And after reading this book, I wanted to read one of the other biographies to put this one into context - and to help me decide what I felt about it. I ended up reading Margaret Forster’s ‘Daphne du Maurier’ (1993) directly after finishing de Rosnay’s biography, and I much preferred it. I realised that what I had missed in ‘Manderley Forever’ was the kind of informed analysis that makes a personality really cohere for the reader. The Daphne that de Rosnay created was an artificial and brittle creature for me. I found her quite selfish and ruthless; I didn’t much like this Daphne. But having said that, there is a huge amount of interesting material in Daphne’s life and de Rosnay is certainly more thorough at exploring the importance of the French family connection, du Maurier’s school years in France, and her intense (and long enduring) relationship with Fernande (‘Ferdie’) Yvon - the headmistress of the school which Daphne attends. Her biography also provides more detail about Daphne’s sisters, in particular Angela - who is also a writer. And in quite a different way from Forster, de Rosnay explores Daphne’s alter ego: the ‘boy in the box’, also referred to as Eric Avon. Perhaps on a second reading, I would feel differently about de Rosnay’s biography; but despite the fact that it is definitely an engrossing read, I always felt at an uncomfortable remove from the subject. 3.5 stars

  13. 4 out of 5

    Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition

    Beautifully written biography by Tatiana de Rosnay and wonderfully narrated by Charlotte Wright. Dapne duMaurier led a charmed life - full of privilege, fame and fortune. She may have not been always have been an easy person to live with and was not immune to heartache, but I had tears in my eyes at the end of this extraordinary account of her life.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    It was fascinating reading about the life of Daphne Du Maurier. I’ve only read Rebecca, but it’s one of my top 3 favorite books, and I’ve read it twice. Now I want to read absolutely everything she’s written, as you may have gathered from my recent TBR additions. I didn’t know a whole lot about her life, other than the basics of her love for the Menabilly house, which inspired Rebecca. There were connections I wasn’t aware of, like being cousins with the boys who inspired Peter Pan, her husband It was fascinating reading about the life of Daphne Du Maurier. I’ve only read Rebecca, but it’s one of my top 3 favorite books, and I’ve read it twice. Now I want to read absolutely everything she’s written, as you may have gathered from my recent TBR additions. I didn’t know a whole lot about her life, other than the basics of her love for the Menabilly house, which inspired Rebecca. There were connections I wasn’t aware of, like being cousins with the boys who inspired Peter Pan, her husband being the treasurer for the Duke of Edinburgh, and having royal visits from Phillip and Elizabeth, once each. Daphne is a very different person and had a very different lifestyle than me, but I still feel a connection to her, for her love of old houses and physical locations. She died the day after I was born, and depending on time zones and the precise hour at which she died (in her sleep, overnight, in England), may have actually died the day I was born in the Pacific Northwest of the US. As for the biography itself, it’s written with a narrative voice rather than typical nonfiction bio. This style bothered me when Daphne was a small girl aged 4-10 but then worked better as she grew older. It bothered me again during the death scene, when Daphne, succumbed to a pervasive mental fog in the last phase of her life, and having gone to bed one night, suddenly sees her life and works flash before her and remembers her whole life. There is no way to know if this actually happened and it felt like the author was trying to make more meaning and a better book ending, out of the death of an author who was barely herself at the end of her life, and couldn’t remember her own books.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rikke

    Rosnay merges biography and fiction beautifully in this book about Daphne du Maurier's life. Reading it felt like watching a biopic; so tangible, real and thought-provoking. I'm not sure how to describe it, define it or even categorize it. But it was something quite pleasant. Rosnay merges biography and fiction beautifully in this book about Daphne du Maurier's life. Reading it felt like watching a biopic; so tangible, real and thought-provoking. I'm not sure how to describe it, define it or even categorize it. But it was something quite pleasant.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Camille de Fleurville

    I read the last pages of this biography about Daphne Du Maurier last night and was glad I was done with it. It is in French, the author is Anglo-French and wrote it in French. And a lot is made of Du Maurier's French roots, made almost as an obsession for her. Well, the whole thing did not work with me. It does not work as a researched biography although it certainly is. I am probably too much used to academic biographies with dates, details, references, footnotes, etc. This is said as an argument I read the last pages of this biography about Daphne Du Maurier last night and was glad I was done with it. It is in French, the author is Anglo-French and wrote it in French. And a lot is made of Du Maurier's French roots, made almost as an obsession for her. Well, the whole thing did not work with me. It does not work as a researched biography although it certainly is. I am probably too much used to academic biographies with dates, details, references, footnotes, etc. This is said as an argument for sale that it reads like a novel, and like a novel it reads. It reminded me of a novel Justine Picardie about a woman writing a biography about Du Maurier writing the biography of Branwell Brontë. Some kind of boxes or matriochkas going one inside the other). Although almost hagiographic in its wishes, the book shows a wilful and selfish Du Maurier, sacrificing everything and everyone to her "oeuvre", which is described as a masterpiece undervalued by the critics and totally misunderstood as "romance", "gothic", "parochial", "eclectic without reason"... My opinion, for what it is worth (and I concede it is not much), is that there are very good things in Du Maurier and others that are less. Perhaps her "noir" moments are the best or those where no real ending is given. As to my opinion about this biography, it is certainly biased by the fact that I knew friends of Du Maurier and the portrait they drew while talking of her was not what I found in this book. Otherwise, a very easy reading in French that an be useful as an introduction to the author when one has read Rebecca for the first time.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    I feel that I am being generous with my 2-star rating, here, because, honestly, I didn't care for this book. It was a huge disappointment to me, in fact. Yes, I am one of those poor saps who considers Rebecca to be one of my favorite books. To know Du Maurier's opinion of us was a bit crushing. But that is not this author's fault. And maybe the thing that bothered me the absolute most about this book wasn't her fault, either. And that is that the entire book is written in the present tense. That I feel that I am being generous with my 2-star rating, here, because, honestly, I didn't care for this book. It was a huge disappointment to me, in fact. Yes, I am one of those poor saps who considers Rebecca to be one of my favorite books. To know Du Maurier's opinion of us was a bit crushing. But that is not this author's fault. And maybe the thing that bothered me the absolute most about this book wasn't her fault, either. And that is that the entire book is written in the present tense. That drove me crazy. Perhaps, she, too, had problems with the translation of her book as, apparently, Du Maurier frequently did. Perhaps the translator only knew the present tense of all these tricky English verbs. I don't know. But the other thing that really bothered me was the author's fault, and that is the use of the Du Mauriers' "code" words throughout the entire book. I can understand the use of them in a direct quote or letter, but other than that it went from cutesy to obnoxious pretty quickly. I DON'T WANT to keep referring to the glossary at the end of the book. Just treat us all like adults and tell us that Daphne and Tommy hadn't had sex in a long time, for example. Thank you. I don't exactly know why, but I did read the entire book. I couldn't recommend it, though, and, in fact, am a bit sorry I learned the things I did about Du Maurier. Again, not this author's fault, but it added to the general distaste I felt for the book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Denis

    Daphne du Maurier is the intriguing writer of irresistible popular fiction that deserves to be better appreciated than it has been, but Tatiana de Rosnay, herself a popular French writer, isn’t up to the task. Her book reads more like an easy, romantic best-seller than a serious biography. Her writing lacks in style and can be sloppy, her analyses are mediocre at best, and she even makes some jarring mistakes (saying for example that Charlotte Brontë wrote Wuthering Heights). What saves her book Daphne du Maurier is the intriguing writer of irresistible popular fiction that deserves to be better appreciated than it has been, but Tatiana de Rosnay, herself a popular French writer, isn’t up to the task. Her book reads more like an easy, romantic best-seller than a serious biography. Her writing lacks in style and can be sloppy, her analyses are mediocre at best, and she even makes some jarring mistakes (saying for example that Charlotte Brontë wrote Wuthering Heights). What saves her book is her subject: Du Maurier’s personality, work, and life are complex enough to keep the reader’s interest. Her relationship to the ocean, especially, and her complicated love affairs, are interesting. De Rosnay obviously has made some serious research, but there’s nevertheless something lazy about the result.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rozanne

    2.5/5. Bought this book alongside Rebecca, to not only read the classic but learn about the author as well. In the latter I was not disappointed, but only because my knowledge of her was zero. The biography itself is written lineary, birth to death. Each and every novel or short story mentioned and summarized. Too much repetition in the descriptions, too little insights in Du Mauriers life's choices. 2.5/5. Bought this book alongside Rebecca, to not only read the classic but learn about the author as well. In the latter I was not disappointed, but only because my knowledge of her was zero. The biography itself is written lineary, birth to death. Each and every novel or short story mentioned and summarized. Too much repetition in the descriptions, too little insights in Du Mauriers life's choices.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty

    I love du Maurier, and she is easily one of my favourite authors. I have also really enjoyed de Rosnay's work to date, and when I found out about the French publication of Manderley Forever, I willed it to be translated into English as soon as was possible. I love the way in which Manderley Forever is written. I found the first section particularly incredibly spellbinding. There was almost a magical quality to its prose, as well as the story it relayed. Whilst the rest of the book was undoubtedly I love du Maurier, and she is easily one of my favourite authors. I have also really enjoyed de Rosnay's work to date, and when I found out about the French publication of Manderley Forever, I willed it to be translated into English as soon as was possible. I love the way in which Manderley Forever is written. I found the first section particularly incredibly spellbinding. There was almost a magical quality to its prose, as well as the story it relayed. Whilst the rest of the book was undoubtedly fascinating, I do feel as though it unfortunately lost a little of its sparkle. Perhaps this is because I knew relatively little about Daphne as a child, but was well versed in her life and writing from adolescence onward. The childhood section was refreshing, I suppose, in that it held some surprises for me. There is an undoubted admiration on de Rosnay's behalf, and the whole has been written and researched lovingly. I really liked the way in which de Rosnay drew a parallel story alongside du Maurier's biography, by going on a personal 'pilgrimage' to all of the places in which du Maurier lived and visited. De Rosnay is thorough, and presents her subject in such detail. The section which included du Maurier's obituaries was a really nice touch, particularly with regard to the legacy which she left behind. It also drew a very fitting conclusion to the biography. The translation, too, was flawless. One can certainly tell that de Rosnay is first and foremost a novelist. I can only hope that she writes more such fantastic portraits as this in future.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Josee Leclerc

    Great biography where I was able to walk beside the writer Tatiana de Rosnay. She wrote this biography of Daphne du Maurier with great respect and huge passion, keeping us on track with great and colourful descriptions about Daphne du Maurier's living places. I just felt that I could walk beside Tatiana de Rosnay, following her into the moods, choices and writing patterns of Daphne du Maurier. It reminded me how important it is for a writer to follow the inspiration and create a routine so that Great biography where I was able to walk beside the writer Tatiana de Rosnay. She wrote this biography of Daphne du Maurier with great respect and huge passion, keeping us on track with great and colourful descriptions about Daphne du Maurier's living places. I just felt that I could walk beside Tatiana de Rosnay, following her into the moods, choices and writing patterns of Daphne du Maurier. It reminded me how important it is for a writer to follow the inspiration and create a routine so that the story comes out. Yes, the price to pay is high and Daphne du Maurier showed us that all her life was dedicated to sharing her stories with us. She paid the price as the last part of her life was a huge challenge for her but I believe for her surrounding too. I will read it again. Thank you Tatiana de Rosnay.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Hermien

    I listened to a Dutch translation of this French biography so not entirely sure whether this had anything to do with the fact I thought the writing wasn't particularly good. It had however a lot to offer in terms of information about Daphne du Maurier so enjoyed it overall. I listened to a Dutch translation of this French biography so not entirely sure whether this had anything to do with the fact I thought the writing wasn't particularly good. It had however a lot to offer in terms of information about Daphne du Maurier so enjoyed it overall.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    Rating clarification: 4.5 Stars Extremely well done!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    It's good and truly is a great window into the elites of her period. She was about 10 years younger than my Grandmother and I have tons of reference from those early 20th century years from her telling me details of her own life. She lived to be 99 and had a great memory for her youth and middle age. This biography was done very well historically and culturally. A full 3.5 stars. I couldn't round it up because for some reason I never thought I knew Daphne's soul from this. Just her skills, obses It's good and truly is a great window into the elites of her period. She was about 10 years younger than my Grandmother and I have tons of reference from those early 20th century years from her telling me details of her own life. She lived to be 99 and had a great memory for her youth and middle age. This biography was done very well historically and culturally. A full 3.5 stars. I couldn't round it up because for some reason I never thought I knew Daphne's soul from this. Just her skills, obsessions, opinions and habits. I would have given it a full 4 stars until just past the half. She's distant, almost barricaded into her own reality. Don't know why, but she seems above the fray for some reason. The first person voice style didn't help that aspect either. Actually, my liking for Daphne truly took a plummet with her Paris "finishing" years. How she was above making her own bed because she never had to do such a thing in her life before. And manipulated friendship as she did, not just for servant services but for breaking into the "favorites" room barrier. UGH! Nothing in this well told book relating her life's tale, surprised me. Her connection with her father was especially something that you can connote also in her fiction. Mothers not so much. I've read all her fiction. Rebecca is the one that most readers remember but they are all quite good. Her reading habits and language context practiced throughout her life, it shows in her work.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Contrary Reader

    What a biography! What a woman. Or man (Eric Avon). I am resolutely digging about under the surface looking for slugs - and now have to read everything she has ever written.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Small

    This was not a good biography, nor was it a good fictionalized take on a real person. I fell in love with Rebecca and despite owning a collection of her short stories, I have yet to read much more. However, I am fascinated with the life that this woman had lived, skirting out of the traditional route and into a self providing one, focusing her attention on grim prose, telling stories of women and men who were often less than likeable or trustworthy. Historically, this woman lived through a perio This was not a good biography, nor was it a good fictionalized take on a real person. I fell in love with Rebecca and despite owning a collection of her short stories, I have yet to read much more. However, I am fascinated with the life that this woman had lived, skirting out of the traditional route and into a self providing one, focusing her attention on grim prose, telling stories of women and men who were often less than likeable or trustworthy. Historically, this woman lived through a period of change. Technology shifts, gender roles being adapted and huge economic periods where nothing was the same as what it had been. Daphne Du Maurier lived in an extraordinary life and was an extraordinary woman. It is a shame that Tatiana de Rosnay could not represent this. I have read memoirs and biographies that split historic, true fact content with fictionalized narration quite nicely. de Rosnay failed completely at presenting facts in their true form, limited her sources throughout the book and often gave out very odd accounts that seemed like she was tucked away in du Maurier's head because there is no evidence of much of the early part ever existing. de Rosnay likes to add poetic flourishes, which are fair. Books tend to sound nicer with flowery images and biographies are hard to format like that. However, her images that she portrayed were a disaster. The section of the du Maurier sisters standing on the dock, watching the boats and Angela's arm slipping around her shoulders was so painfully awkward and supposed that it should have been crossed out entirely. If de Rosnay had managed to footnote/endnote some concrete proof that this had occurred, such as a journal entry specifically stating this, I would have been more accepting of this artistic license. Instead, she tried her artistic nonsense constantly through the first half, bogging down the biography constantly. A real problem was a lack of seen sources. There were so few footnotes in the first half to make the book concrete and real. de Rosnay has an enjoyment of adding herself as a wallflower to the story, having a first hand idea of the thoughts going through the minds of the family. It was a wretched story and one that should have been heavily edited. The second half, based on du Maurier's success as a writer was much more accurate and showed a historic timeline, filled with actual pieces of evidence. Evidence is the use of articles, quotes, letters, journals and court documents. I feel the need to say this because de Rosnay is an incompetent biographer, who struggles with the concept of primary evidence to build an argument. I spent days struggling to get through this because there seemed to have been no real worth to completing it. The book itself is worthless and I couldn't recommend it to anyone.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Maren

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Admittedly I have never read a book written by Daphne du Maurier even though Rebecca has been on my TBR forever. So I was a little nervous going in to this biography of her. The few biographies I have read in the past of other people have been kind of hard for me to get through. This book couldn't have been more different. Almost from the beginning I was hooked onto the way the author decided to write the bio. It I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Admittedly I have never read a book written by Daphne du Maurier even though Rebecca has been on my TBR forever. So I was a little nervous going in to this biography of her. The few biographies I have read in the past of other people have been kind of hard for me to get through. This book couldn't have been more different. Almost from the beginning I was hooked onto the way the author decided to write the bio. It felt more like a novel than the standard repetition of names, places, dates, etc. The book is divided into sections based on where Daphne's main place of residence was. Because Daphne put so much stock into the places she stayed and went I thought this was the perfect way to go about it. The author did a marvelous job of transporting me to the time and place she was writing about so I felt very close to Daphne throughout the book. I loved seeing all of the connections that I never knew about. For example, the du Maurier's are cousins of the Llewellyn-Davies brothers that J.M. Barrie based Peter Pan on. I also did not know that Daphne is the original author of The Birds, which Alfred Hitchcock appeared to take several liberties with along with a few other pieces of Daphne's work that he had adapted for the screen. There were so many things about this book that I loved that its hard to write about them all in one review. There were only a few times I found it to be a bit slow but overall I very much enjoyed reading this biography. I have since added many of Daphne's works to my never ending TBR. Reviewed on The Worn Bookmark

  28. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    TRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASH. It's supposed to be a biography but she wrote it to read like fiction. NOPE NOPE NOPE. You don't know what people were thinking to the minute detail that you can get away with this BS. If you wanted to write a historical fiction take on du Maurier, cool, but don't you dare market it as non-fiction and discredit the work actual historians do. TRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASH. It's supposed to be a biography but she wrote it to read like fiction. NOPE NOPE NOPE. You don't know what people were thinking to the minute detail that you can get away with this BS. If you wanted to write a historical fiction take on du Maurier, cool, but don't you dare market it as non-fiction and discredit the work actual historians do.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bridget Vollmer

    I've only read Rebecca, but loved it and when this was offered in a goodreads giveaway I entered and won. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the life of Daphne du Maurier and her motivations for her writing. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of Daphne's books. I've only read Rebecca, but loved it and when this was offered in a goodreads giveaway I entered and won. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the life of Daphne du Maurier and her motivations for her writing. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of Daphne's books.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    Written with a novelist’s insight and empathy, this is a thoroughly enjoyable biography of Daphne du Maurier. Tatiana de Rosnay is unashamedly an enormous fan of the writer, and inserts herself into the narrative on occasion, and these personal comments add rather than detract from the narrative. Well-researched and well-written, this otherwise conventional biography is as compulsively readable and absorbing as any of de Rosnay’s own novels, and yet remains balanced and objective throughout. Hig Written with a novelist’s insight and empathy, this is a thoroughly enjoyable biography of Daphne du Maurier. Tatiana de Rosnay is unashamedly an enormous fan of the writer, and inserts herself into the narrative on occasion, and these personal comments add rather than detract from the narrative. Well-researched and well-written, this otherwise conventional biography is as compulsively readable and absorbing as any of de Rosnay’s own novels, and yet remains balanced and objective throughout. Highly recommended.

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