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Daphne Du Maurier [Paperback]

Daphne Du Maurier , Margaret Forster
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 May 1994

Rebecca, published in 1938, brought its author instant international acclaim, capturing the popular imagination with its haunting atmosphere of suspense and mystery. du Maurier was immediately established as the queen of the psychological thriller. But the more fame this and her other books encouraged, the more reclusive Daphne du Maurier became.

Margaret Forster's award-winning biography could hardly be more worthy of its subject. Drawing on private letters and papers, and with the unflinching co-operation of Daphne du Maurier's family, Margaret Forster explores the secret drama of her life - the stifling relationship with her father, actor-manager Gerald du Maurier; her troubled marriage to war hero and royal aide, 'Boy' Browning; her wartime love affair; her passion for Cornwall and her deep friendships with the last of her father's actress loves, Gertrude Lawrence, and with an aristocratic American woman.

Most significant of all, Margaret Forster ingeniously strips away the relaxed and charming facade to lay bare the true workings of a complex and emotional character whose passionate and often violent stories mirrored her own fantasy life more than anyone could ever have imagined.

Frequently Bought Together

Daphne Du Maurier + Myself When Young: The Shaping of a Writer (VMC) + Daphne du Maurier : A Daughter's Memoir
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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; New Ed edition (5 May 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099333317
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099333319
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Altogether a model biography - human sympathy tempered with honesty and spiced with real intelligence" (Lorna Sage Observer)

"A startlingly good biography" (The Times)

"Convincing throughout ... Margaret Forster's interpretation of her subject is so complete and so persuasive that it leaves nothing for the reader to do except admire and enjoy" (Independent on Sunday)

"Forster's acute and sensitive book succeeds on many levels ... Its most important achievement is to disprove the highbrow assumption that bestsellers are shallow ... and do not ... engage the depths of the psyche" (John Carey Sunday Times)

"Margaret Forster can do no wrong ... The story is as gripping as Rebecca, as full of surprises as My Cousin Rachel ... affectionate, honest, unsentimental and perceptive" (Daily Mail)

Book Description

A meticulously researched bestseller; a masterpiece of biography and storytelling about one of Britain's best female authors. du Maurier's books were adapted into some of Hitchcock's most successful films, yet little is known about her private life. In this definitive book about the author of The Birds and Rebecca, readers are granted an insight into the life of a great, psychologically complex woman.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a real insight into the mind of a writer 24 April 2010
By hiljean VINE VOICE
Daphne du Maurier is known primarily now for her most famous novels, Rebecca, Jamaica Inn and Frenchman's Creek. But she actually wrote in a variety of genres and it is a mistake to dismiss her as a "romantic novelist". Less well-known is the fact that she wrote a number of collections of macabre short stories including "The Birds" on which the Hitchcock film was based, and "Don't Look Now", which resulted in that extremely creepy film by Nic Roeg starring Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland. All of this goes to demonstrate what a complex and torn person she was and Margaret Forster analyses this brilliantly in her biography (it is not "part novel" as one reviewer here suggests).

Du Maurier was a prolific correspondent and using her letters and notes Forster illustrates what a fascinating woman it was who wrote these well known works and what inspired her to write them. Much has been made of the revelation in this book that Forster seems to have had a physical relationship with the famous actress Gertrude Lawrence and the evidence presented in letters written by Forster does seem to confirm that view. All of which only goes to make her a more interesting character. Her husband, Tommy, rose to the top in the army and joined the royal household, adding another interesting strand to their lives together (Prince Philip called at their home in Fowey on several occasions). Du Maurier's obsession with Cornwall and Menabilly, her home for many years, is also examined.

This biography grips right to the end and whether or not you are familiar with du Maurier's work, you will enjoy reading about this extraordinary woman. With luck it may make you seek out some of her less well-known, but equally impressive works, such as The Scapegoat, which is one of my personal favourites.
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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent biography of a fascinating woman... 13 Dec 2003
I ordered this biography after reading Rebecca and Jamaica Inn, they were so good I had to know more about the author Du Maurier. This biography got me hooked from the beginning, its written part novel, part fact based. It doesnt bore you with lots of dates and names but includes all the important stuff with Forsters own interpretation of Du Mauriers life. Well written, lovely photos throughout. A highly recommended book to anyone wanting to know more about Daphne Du Maurier and her extremely fascinating life that reflects itself in her novels. One of the best biographies I have read in a long while...
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellently written 3 Jan 2011
I have read a great deal of literary biographies particularly of authors such as The Brontes and Austen. The writing style of these biographies tend to be dry, formulaic and slow, filled with dates and timelines, complete sentences and jumping back and forth with terms such as 'could be' or 'allegedly' but no real engagement with the writer they are writing about. Reading Forster's Daphne Du Maurier marked a change for me in how a biography should be in the extent to how well written this book is. It is as engaging as Du Maurier's own writing style in places and reads so very easily. Du Maurier is brought to life in a way that you know in reading her, she would have very much approved of. Du Maurier was a wonderful character in real life as much as her fictional characters were and no-one else could have done such justice to the life of this amazing writer.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonder biography 1 May 2008
This is a truly beautifully written biography. It is insightful and intelligent, and is one of the best biographies I have read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book 7 Oct 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I loved Daphme Du maurier books ever since I was kid and my sister and I and our mother watched 70's adaptation of rebbeca. I was drawn to this book after reading Justine Picardie' Daphne. After reading this book I can truely say I feel as if I know Du Maurier, foster paints such a vivid picture of the woman and her complexed charector. This is very good read for anyone seeking the truth behind the woman of all those wonderful novels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful 16 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is how biography should be written: thoroughly researched, even handed but with a detached sympathy for the subject. I only knew of Daphne du Maurier through the 3 films Rebecca, the Birds and Dont Look Now. I had the mistaken impression she was a romantic novelist a la Georgette Heyer. This biography is not merely a full depiction of her life and loves but a superb critical analysis of her writings rightly placing her much higher in the literary canon than as a popular but lightweight novelist. Margatet Forster also makes the link between the darker side of Daphne du Maurier's personality and the spark to her imaginative writing very clear.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Daphne du Maurier by Margaret Forster 2 Jan 2010
By Briona.
A very readable biography with much attention to detail. Very well researched. A well-rounded depiction of an unusual and difficult character, it holds one's attention from the start. But would this quite reclusive woman have wanted her entire life made public? Nevertheless, it is beautifully and sympathetically done.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, comprehensive and very well written 23 Mar 2011
Have been entranced with Daphne du Maurier since reading Rebecca and was always keen to know a little more about her. Excellent biography - well researched and written in a very balanced way. Didn't end up liking Daphne du Maurier very much but have a lot of admiration for Margaret Forster and would definitely read another of hers. Excellent.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Biography
This is a wonderful book on Daphne Du Maurier. It was not what I expected but found it a riveting read. Would highly recommend it.
Published 1 month ago by Rowenna Fitton
I felt this was a truthfully written biography which provided the reader with insight into another age and another lifestyle - one where you had servants and were not expected to... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Ann
5.0 out of 5 stars no problem
très bon état arrivé rapidement aucun problème et je déteste qu'on m'oblige à compter les mots la prochaine fois je ne mets plus rien
Published 11 months ago by Micha
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic biography
I enjoyed this book immensly and would certaily urge others to read. I liked Daphne's books so this told me quite a lot about the person she was. Thank you.
Published 11 months ago by Mrs phoebe a coleman
5.0 out of 5 stars Dapnne du Maurier biography.
Really good, really adds to understanding her writings, partic Rebecca. Formidable and interesting character, ; walked near Menabilly recently and also saw Ferryside, her home at... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Dr Peter Bellamy
1.0 out of 5 stars A well written book.
I chose this book as we were reading it for my Book Group. Although it is a very well written book, the content is very controversial. Well it was in my book group. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Barbara Friggens
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Very interesting, in depth writing giving an excellent insight into this author's life and the way in which it insulated her books. Hilary
Published 13 months ago by Hilary
4.0 out of 5 stars more interesting than I expected
It took me a while to get into this book as I am not a particular fan of Daphne Du Maurier. I found it hard to empathise with someone who lived such a privileged life, but the... Read more
Published on 17 Jan 2012 by BrynG
3.0 out of 5 stars Diverse Daphne!
Margaret Forster has provided a chronological detailed insight into the complicated life of the author Daphne du Maurier. Read more
Published on 9 Jan 2012 by Onora
4.0 out of 5 stars Daphne du Maurier written by Margaret Forster
A wordy but comprehensive biography of Daphne du Maurier. Well written and interesting and a book that leaves no doubt as to Daphne's creative and sometimes obsessive... Read more
Published on 7 Oct 2010 by D. Rowley
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