Posted in Interesting News & Commentary

Author Spotlight: Daphne du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier was a writer and playwright born in England in 1907. She is most commonly known for penning the renowned 1938 Gothic novel Rebecca, but Rebecca was not her only great work! Throughout her life, she wrote three plays and numerous novels, including The Scapegoat and The House on the Strand. Since the release of her debut novel, The Loving Spirit (1931), du Maurier produced bestseller after bestseller. Her debut was so popular and well-received that the man who would become her husband read The Loving Spirit and sought her out after enjoying the novel so much.

Most of her works are based around historical events and people (sometimes even her own ancestors), and often have strong themes of romance and the paranormal. McCain Library has copies of eight of her works. Find descriptions and catalog links for these eight below!

Rebecca – Rebecca follows an unnamed young bride through her marriage to a wealthy widower. She soon discovers, however, that her new husband has allowed the shadow of his late wife, Rebecca, to control his life. Living in a house haunted by the memory of Rebecca, the young woman attempts to uncover the secrets behind their marriage and just who Rebecca really is.

The Scapegoat – After a chance encounter at a train station, strangers John and Jean discover they look so alike they could pass as doppelgangers. The pair talk over drinks, and John wakes the next morning to find his double has stolen his identity. He decides to take Jean’s identity in return and finds himself in a life full of secrets and family drama. Will John be able to get his old life back? Will he want to?

The Glass-Blowers – Loosely based on du Maurier’s family history, The Glass-Blowers recounts the lives of a peasant family of glass-blowers during the French Revolution. Sophie Duval, who narrates the story to her long-lost nephew, shares a side of the French Revolution that often gets overlooked – the experiences of the lower class living through social and political turmoil in the French countryside.

The House on the Strand – When Richard Young leaves behind his dreary existence to move into the home of a biophysicist he once knew, he agrees to be the test subject for his friend’s new drug. The potion sends Richard back in time to the fourteenth century, where he soon becomes intertwined with the lives of several locals. The drug only allows him to stay in the past for a few hours at a time, but he soon becomes addicted and travels between the past and present whenever he can. Two things stand in his way, however: his family in the present and the dire consequences of touching another human in the past.

Mary Anne – A fictionalized account of du Maurier’s great-great-grandmother’s real life, Mary Anne recounts the experiences of a young woman born into a poor family, now trapped in an unhappy marriage. In an attempt to rise above her past and to achieve the rich and glamourous life she has always desired, she successfully seduces the Duke of York and Albany and becomes a notorious courtesan and eyewitness to the many scandals of Regency London.

Hungry Hill – The Brodricks and Donovans have feuded for nearly one hundred years, ever since the Brodricks, now rich and powerful, took control of Hungry Hill while leaving the natural owners, the Donovans, to suffer. Morty Donovan cast a curse on his rival that will impact his enemy’s family for years to come. Over the course of five generations, the Brodricks struggle with revenge, hate, love, loss, and disappointment that leave readers wondering, will they break this curse or are they doomed to suffer forever?

My Cousin Rachel – After marrying the young and mysterious Rachel, Philip’s cousin Ambrose passes away, leaving behind a large inheritance. Suspicious of this new bride and angry with the surprise marriage, Philip plans to despise Rachel. Until he meets her. Suddenly, Philip too has quickly fallen in love with this beautiful woman, but it isn’t long until he begins to suspect that his cousin’s death occurred under much more sinister circumstances than expected. And Rachel might be involved.

The King’s General – Sir Richard Grenville met Honor Harris at a young age and the pair fell deeply in love. But tragedy tore them apart and they were lost to one another for years. As the English Civil War wreaked havoc on the country, Sir Richard rose through the ranks of the army and established a career under King Charles 1st. Decades later, Sir Richard goes searching for his lost love and when he finds her, Honor learns that her old flames might be ignited once again.

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