cover image Daphne Du Maurir

Daphne Du Maurir

Margaret Forster. Doubleday Books, $25 (457pp) ISBN 978-0-385-42068-6

Prolific English author Daphne du Maurier (1907-1989) was best known for her imaginative suspense novels (especially Rebecca , 1938), although she also published biographies and plays. Here Forster ( Elizabeth Barrett Browning ) sharply analyzes du Maurier's work and, aided by access to previously unavailable papers and correspondence, illuminates her subject's character. Du Maurier hid an intensely passionate nature behind the facade of a reserved wife and mother. Aware of her sexual attraction to women since childhood, she repressed her bixsexual urges during the early years of her marriage to British war hero Major F. A. M. ``Tommy'' Browning, with whom she had three children. During WW II she became involved with another man and afterward had an affair with actress Gertrude Lawrence. In a portrait revealing of du Maurier's inner and everyday life, Forster energetically limns a personality that will surprise and engross readers. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)