25 April 2008

Daphne Du Maurier: Book Reviews (Edited)

While on our trip this past weekend, I did lots of reading. It was so nice! On the way I finished up My Cousin Rachel by Daphen Du Maurier. It was a very good read and kept me interested until the very end. It was not a truly dark story (as the author can be known for since several of her works have been made into Hitchcock films), but rather had an underlying sense of impending doom even though all seemed right. It's that underlying sense of doom building and building that I love! I would definitely recommend this as a good read if you like classic stories set in the English countryside. Here's what the cover of the book says in summary:

A young Englishman, Philip Ashley, becomes obsessed with Rachel, the mysterious widow of his older cousin Ambrose, even though he suspects she may have murdered her husband. When cousin Rachel Coryn Ashley, half-English and half-Italian, arrives at the house Philip has inheirited, he is prepared to hate her. Instead, he falls irrationally and hopelessly in love. At first she seems to return his feelings, but later events make the older woman appear to be more interested in his money. Philip is so smitten that he hardly cares about her intentions, until a mysterious illness fells him. My Cousin Rachel is the portrait of an enigmatic woman who might be devil or angel, but who will remain in your memory for a long time to come.

Next I began reading Jamaica Inn. Now, this was a truly dark story, very sad. It definitely kept me wanting to read the next chapter, and then the next and the next, wanting to find out what happens to the poor heroine. Here's a summary of the story:

The coaches avoided Jamaica Inn hidden in the harsh Cornish moors not far from the coast, for it's name was evil and no one knew what horrors its dark shutters hid. Yet it was to Jamaica Inn that Mary Yellan went after her mother died, to join her aunt Patience and the man her aunt had married, Joss Merlyn, landlord of the inn. Only too soon was Mary to learn the full tale of the inn's horror, though she stayed beneath its roof because her aunt, so lovely once, was now battered and haunted....and because of a handsome rouge. Mary Yellan and the spirit of the English countryside spring to vivid reality in this romantic, full-blooded, and unforgettable tale.

In retrospect, I think that I liked her book Rebecca the very best of the three that I've read. If you haven't read it, I very highly recommend it! It's been a while since I've read it so I won't do a review on it here and now. But check it out sometime! However, she is a really great writer and I definitely recommend these two books also.
EDITED: For a really great review of Rebecca, go to my sister Kari's blog, logorrhea, and see what she has to say. She's an English major and does this sort of thing much better than I!


Songlee said...

Awesome reading. Perhaps I should add that to my list. I do think I will add Hemingway too! Good reading!!!!

Kari said...

I'll have to read these, too. Rebecca's the only one of her books I've read.

Betsy said...

I've read Rebecca ~ very good, and loved the older movie of the book (I think there are two, but the older one is best). I also have a sequel to Rebecca written by Susan Hill called Mrs. de Winter. I have it ready to take on my cruise. It's supposed to pick up where Rebecca left off and is supposed to be written in the same De Maurier style. I'll let you know how it reads!

Heather & Reese said...

Lora, thank you so much for these reviews. I've seen both versions of the movies Rebecca(the old one IS better), but never read any of the books. You've reminded me that I always intended to read Rebecca, and convinced me to find these other two as well.

:) Reese

Lora said...

Well, I am definitely going to have to see the older movie version of Rebecca! Thanks for the tip!