Adventures, Books, Recommendations

Daphne du Maurier, or, finding out what I’ve been missing

I’m going to Cornwall this summer. I’ve never been, and I’m excited. I’ve got a google map with loads of places saved on it already. With any luck, I’ll get to swim in the sea, which is a joy, always. 

In preparation, I figured I really ought to read Rebecca. I knew the first line, knew that a lot of people whose book opinions I value really love it, but didn’t really know anything else. I sort of vaguely expected a romance, Cornwall, a previous wife, but that was all. It took me by surprise, taking me by the hands and whirling me through all its twists and turns. I loved it. So Katie lent me her copy of Mrs de Winter, by Susan Hill, a sequel to Rebecca or, as Katie put it, published fanfiction. I paused it when I went to Glasgow, wanting to take two whole books with me, and picked it up again for my commutes this week. It’s good fun, but I haven’t finished it yet.

Once I finished Rebecca, I took home Jamaica Inn. I read half of it on my way home from Glasgow and I was transfixed, totally gripped by it. I found the plot more exciting, and I liked the fast-slow-fast pacing: of the two, I think I preferred it. I liked the focus on the landscape – the setting is so important, and I’m looking forward to seeing it with my own eyes (we’re staying sort of nearby, and we’ll at least drive that way if nothing else). I love bleak landscapes, and I think that influenced my enjoyment.

Reading a classic “late” can be difficult, sometimes. I have long been intimidated by classics, after a couple of bad experiences at school, and snobbery from all sorts of directions at what I chose to read. These days, I’m much more comfortable, and sometimes it means I find a gem. Sometimes it means I find two!


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