Despite being a work of fiction, this book feels as though it tells a real-life tale of the author's personal feelings of isolation and longing. Set in the reign of Charles II, `Frenchman's Creek' tells the story of the restless and unhappy Lady Dona St Columb, who flees London after playing a practical joke on an unfortunate countess, egged on by the rake Rockingham. Feeling guilty about what she has done and unhappy at what her life has become, she seeks isolation at her husband's Cornish estate and finds joy in the simple pleasures of playing with her children and exploring the coast. On one such walk, she encounters a French pirate, Jean Aubrey, and her life takes an unexpected turn... Du Maurier wrote this book while in Langley End, Hertfordshire, away from the wild Cornish landscape which she loved, perhaps inspiring Dona's sense of longing in the story. Also, according to Sheila Hodges, Du Maurier's editor, Dona carries many of the authors own feelings about wanting to be a boy, the Cornish countryside and her passion for freedom (P. 30, the Daphne Du Maurier Companion, Ed. Helen Taylor). This was certainly the feeling I got while reading the book. Unfortunately, this view of the female experience has become a bit of a cliché in recent years and as a modern feminist, it made me a bit uncomfortable. I stuck with the book, however, and am glad that I did because the pace and adventure quickens as the story progresses, leading to a satisfying ending. Although I don't feel this is Du Maurier's best work and wouldn't recommend it to a first time reader (unless in their mid-teens!), it was enjoyable and should be accepted for what it is - a bit of romantic escapism.