cover image Manderley Forever: A Biography of Daphne du Maurier

Manderley Forever: A Biography of Daphne du Maurier

Tatiana De Rosnay, trans. from the French by Sam Taylor. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-2500-9913-6

Novelist De Rosnay’s (The Other Story) nonfiction debut is a fascinating, in-depth portrait of Daphne du Maurier, the prolific author of the now classic thrillers Rebecca and Jamaica Inn. Her own writing heavily influenced by du Maurier’s penchant for houses and family secrets, De Rosnay undertakes a literary pilgrimage in her idol’s footsteps, from her birthplace of London to her eventual home of Cornwall, seeking the true essence of du Maurier and her work. De Rosnay, who met with her subject’s children and grandchildren, creates a multifaceted portrait of a successful writer unfairly scorned by critics for her popularity. We learn of du Maurier’s early and lasting passion for reading and writing; euphoria over publishing her first novel, The Loving Spirit, at age 23; and skepticism regarding the concept of marriage—which didn’t prevent her from entering into a 33-year-long one. De Rosnay also vividly conveys du Maurier’s independent and brazen spirit. The book ends with enlightening quotations from newspapers upon the author’s death in 1989, succinctly capturing how the world viewed her legacy. Through De Rosnay’s novel-like narrative, exhaustive research, and unbridled admiration, du Maurier’s spirit comes alive on the page, endearing her to a new generation of fans. (Apr.)