Recommended author: Daphne du Maurier

Welcome to the first in a series of posts! Basically I’ll be summarising the work of authors I like, which might help you decide whether to try them, or if you’ve already read one of their books, which others to read next. Today’s recommended author is Daphne du Maurier.

Rebecca is the best known of du Maurier’s novels. Atmospheric and menacing, the novel is a must-read. It’s influenced by Jane Eyre, in a good way. One interesting aspect of Rebecca is that we don’t find out the narrator’s name, which reflects her low self-esteem. The dead first wife, Rebecca, becomes the obsession of the second, unnamed, wife. There’s a sequel to the book, written by Susan Hill, called Mrs de Winter. I remember liking it, but I can’t remember much about the story.

One of the best things about Daphne du Maurier is how varied her work is, but you can be sure to find plot twists, atmosphere and compelling characters in all of her books.

Are you into time travel? Try The House on the Strand, the story of a man who tests a hallucinogenic drug (developed by his wacky scientist friend) and is transported to the medieval era. It all gets complicated when the past and present collide…

Interested in character-driven novels or family dynamics? The Parasites is in my opinion an underrated book and is probably based somewhat on the author’s own experiences.

If you’re a Wuthering Heights fan, try Jamaica Inn or Frenchman’s Creek. There’s a historical novel called Mary Anne, which I wasn’t a fan of, but then I’m not really into the genre. There are some oddities such as Flight of the Falcon, Castle Dor and I’ll Never Be Young Again, which I couldn’t decide if I liked or not.

My Cousin Rachel I would categorise as a psychological thriller and I think it’s equally good as Rebecca.

Daphne du Maurier wrote many short stories. These can be variable but it’s very subjective – it depends what you like in a short story. The must-reads are The BirdsDon’t Look Now and Not After Midnight. 

Want to read an excellent biography of Daphne du Maurier? I recommend Margaret Forster’s, which looks in detail at Daphne’s life, what she was like as a person, her relationships and how her work was received on publication.

 

20 thoughts on “Recommended author: Daphne du Maurier”

    1. According to my book database, I first read her in 2003 with ‘Rebecca’. I would’ve been around 15. I last read that book in 2014. Oddly I thought I’d read it very recently, which shows how fast the time is going…

      1. I think we read it in about the same year for the first time. But I was older, 20 maybe. She just stays with you so you don’t notice how time flies 🙂

        1. On my PC! I back it up every few months. I also keep a record in my diary just in case!!

  1. This is an excellent breakdown. I haven’t heard of this author before but will definetly pick up House on the Strand, it sounds like a good read!

    1. It’s a great read – sort of time travel crossed with historical fiction. I think there is a Daphne du Maurier book for everyone 🙂

    1. Oh yes 🙂 Rebecca is a must-read but I would also suggest My Cousin Rachel or The House on the Strand for your next du Maurier reads 😉

  2. Great post! I finished My Cousin Rachel yesterday, I loved it, and I love Rebecca, so I was just thinking about what I might read next by du Maurier.

    1. Thank you 🙂 I’m glad it was useful. You’ve read her two best novels, so your next one depends whether you like the sound of historical fiction, time travel, or contemporary social fiction best.

      1. I think I’m going with Jamaica Inn next, but I’m definitely also interested in The House on the Strand, which I hadn’t even heard of before your post!

        1. Personally I would go for House on the Strand, but I hope you enjoy any of hers that you pick up 🙂

  3. I’ve just re-read Rebecca with my book club and everyone loved it – it’s one of my faves. I love Daphne DuMaurier and will definitely have a look at some of the books you’ve mentioned that I haven’t read yet!

    1. Rebecca is more popular than ever it seems 🙂 She did write a lot of books, I haven’t read absolutely all of them but I have mentioned all the best known ones I think.

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