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Mary Anne

3.39  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,186 Ratings  ·  123 Reviews
Master storyteller Daphne du Maurier, bestselling author of Rebecca, evokes the rise and fall of one of her most unforgettable characters. An ambitious, stunning, and seductive young woman, Mary Anne finds the single most rewarding way she can rise above her miserable cockney world: she will become the mistress to a royal duke. In doing so, she provokes a scandal that rock ...more
Poche, 408 pages
Published February 17th 2000 by Phébus (first published January 1st 1954)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,670)
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This is the story of Daphne du Maurier’s great-great-grandmother, Mary Anne Clarke, born into a poor family in the East End of London, married at fifteen and the mother of four children by the time she was twenty-three. Mary Anne became a notorious courtesan and mistress of the Duke of York and was later the central figure in a political corruption scandal, the repercussions of which ultimately led to her downfall.

According to Lisa Hilton, who wrote the introduction to the 2003 Virago edition, d
I'm a bit conflicted about this book, I liked it and I'm glad I read it, but at the same time it really bothered me, it was depressing and I found myself alternating between being really proud of Mary Anne for being so strong and smart and being angry with her for being so foolish.

Mary Anne Clarke was Daphne Du Maurier's great-great grandmother. She was clever, witty and beautiful. She was a mistress to Frederick Augustus Brunswick the Duke of York and Albany, son of King George III. She was als

Although I would have previously sworn that it was impossible for du Maurier to write a bad book, this one comes periously close and although it had all the right elements; good story, fascinating real life people, great period setting, royalty, scandal etc it just never really came together for me. It felt disjointed, uneven, lacking in emotion and with a lacklustre, prosaic feel that du Mauriers other books just don't have. I missed her lyrical descriptions. I also struggled to sympathise with
I've given this an A for narration and a B for content at AudioGals, so that's a solid 4.5 stars

Written in 1951, Mary Anne is the fictionalised account of the life of Mrs Mary Anne Clarke, who was the author’s great-grandmother, and who is famous principally for being the mistress of Frederick, Duke of York (second son of King George III).

Mary Anne Thompson was born in 1776 in the East End of London, and by her twenties, had become one of the most famous courtesans in London. Before I wrote this
Heather *live on coffee and flowers*
I'm not sure how to feel about this book. On one hand, I really admired certain traits of the title character, Mary Anne. She was ambitious, tenacious, and always thinking of her children. She would do almost anything to keep a roof over her head, no matter how her name got dragged through the mud.

On the other hand, she, and almost every other character, was an idiot about money. They all saw no problem living endlessly on credit in order to maintain luxurious lifestyles. Hardly anyone ever made
Nathaniel Irvin
In a word, dull.

It started out so well. The first chapter is well written, taut, and promises the intriguing tale of a social climber and her downfall. Then, in an excellent reversal of expectations, the first 100 or so pages tell instead the story of an extremely relatable, even heroic girl who is fighting against all odds to make some kind of decent life for herself, who falls in love, and gets wrapped up in the things beyond her control. I especially liked that she was depicted as a good and
Mar 23, 2009 Misfit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned....

A bit different from your usual Du Maurier novel, in this one she tells the story of her great-great-grandmother Mary Anne Clarke. Borne into a poor London family, Mary Anne marries Joseph Clarke who ends up drinking and gambling away any money he gets from his family. Disgusted with the marriage and desperate to support her children, Mary Anne finds herself tempted by a *cough* broker for the wealthy nobility and becomes mistress to Frederick Duke of Yo
Nov 05, 2010 Maureen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
it's definitely not your typical du maurier: her imaginative powers are reined in by her account of woman's true story, a woman she was actually related to, and no doubt her acting family relished the connection to the mistress of the duke of york who had pulled herself out of the gutter. it's not what i look for in a du maurier novel but up until the endless courtroom scenes that make up the last three quarters of the book, she kept me interested. i found jamaica inn much less palatable than th ...more
I have long been looking forward to reading this book. I love reading about the regency period, love Daphne du Maurier and add in the interesting notion that du Maurier is writing about her own great-great-grandmother and this seemed to have the potential to be a very good read indeed. However it is also one of her novels that is most capable of polarizing her readers. Du Maurier herself did not consider it one of her best novels and in the somewhat lukewarm introduction in the edition I was rea ...more
Nov 19, 2011 Tita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: meus, livros-2011
Este é o quinto livro que leio de Daphne du Maurier, sendo que achei-os todos diferentes uns dos outros, no entanto, “Mary Anne” é o mais diferente. Ao contrário dos outros livros, este não tem elementos mais obscuros que criam o clima habitual de tensão.

Neste livro, Daphne conta-nos a história da sua trisavó Mary Anne Clarke, numa Londres nos finais do século XVIII, inícios do século XIX, em que mistura um ambiente de sedução com escândalos de corrupção e políticos.
Mary Anne é uma jovem pobre,
Mary Anne is an odd sort of beast, a mix of historical fact and fiction that doesn't quite work. Mary Anne Clarke was the scandalous mistress of George III's son the Duke of York; she was also du Maurier's great-great-grandmother. Clearly, Mary Anne led a very interesting life; unfortunately, though du Maurier succeeds in drawing the strength of her character, her style of telling Mary Anne's story is lackluster. It would have been better as straight historical biography or as historical fiction ...more
Aug 30, 2009 Bethany rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Although I finished this book, it was a huge temptation to just drop it and move on to the next. I didn't understand it at all. I couldn't follow the story and the characters infuriated me. Maybe, and this is very very likely, I am just not cut out for politics and however much I blame my ignorance in the subject on lack of interest maybe it's just one of those things that I just can't comprehend.
I would never have though I could give any book by Daphne Du Mauriers one star, yet here we are.
Thomas Strömquist
As always well written and a very good narrative. Unfortunately, the fictionalized story of the authors great grandmother Mary Anne Clarke, mistress to the Duke of York (being one in a considerable line of men) in the late 18th century really does not keep the interest up. The final third of the book concerns complicated court proceedings and not much else. Read some of the very productive and fine authors other books instead.
May 07, 2013 Steph rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Let me begin by saying I love Daphne Du Maurier. This is the fourth of novel I have read by her and each one has proved to be unique, innovative and often brilliantly atmospheric (the best, of course, being 'Rebecca'). So I was pretty determined that, despite the slightly bad reviews I had seen elsewhere, to like this novel because I AM a du Maurier fan. Moreover, the novel sounded fabulously engaging.

(view spoiler)
A Bookworm Reading (Plethora)
Daphne du Maurier's great-great-grandmother certainly was the talk of the town in her day. This historical fiction work is based upon Mary Anne Clarke, a mistress to the Duke of York in early 1800's.

Mary Anne started life out basically in the slums and living day to day was a struggle for her family. When her father was stuck ill she decided to save the family by tricking his boss. She was a determined young lady, that determination never left her and she fought for what she wanted her entire l
This book is about Mary Anne Clarke, the Monica Lewinsky of her day that brought the Duke of Yorkshire (King George III's younger son) to ruin after he ends their affair and casts her aside. He ended up resigning his command of the English Army. This is a true story and Daphne du Maurier's Great Great Grandmother.

I thought the first two thirds were great. Mary Anne's climb from London street rat to the mistress of a Prince through her wits (and wit) alone are very interesting and engaging. She
Jul 18, 2012 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a massive Du Maurier fan, so this is going to be very biased and no surprise that I really enjoyed it.

Mary Anne is a historical novel based on Du Maurier's great-great-grandmother, who was the mistress of Fredrick, Duke of York. Later on when the relationship fizzled out, she testified against him in the House of Commons that she had sold army commissions and that he knew all about it. This is the main focus of the story although it charts both her life before the Duke and touches on her be
Dec 20, 2010 Diane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Synopsis from book: An ambitious, stunning, and seductive young woman, Mary Anne finds the single most rewarding way to rise above her miserable cockney world: she will become the mistress to a royal duke. In doing so, she provokes a scandal that rocks Regency England. Mary Anne glitters with sex, scandal, corruption, and the privileged world of high society. Based on the true story of one of du Maurier's own distant relatives, Mary Anne's love of money and the men who spend it embroil her in ri ...more
Apr 23, 2016 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK, don't judge me. I love du Maurier. Picked this one up for seventy-five cents and sure got my money's worth!
Oct 08, 2014 Ana' rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mary Anne was the “great-great grandmother” of the author. She became the mistress of one of King George III son, the Duke of York and Albany, for a short period of time, at the beginning of 19th Century. This is a sad story of a woman who was ambitious, full of pride, fearless, hardheaded, vengeful; very set in her ways beyond reason. There is not much to celebrate here, no virtues to exemplify, no dignity. She boldly chose a demerit "chemin" to provide this grandiose life she so much dreamed o ...more
Jul 19, 2008 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a hardback book. Ms. Du Maurier researches her books before writing them so it appears as historical fiction and is this adds to my interest in reading the book.
I was intrigued by the whole idea of the author basing this story on her great great grandmother, Mary Anne Clarke. However, I quickly found that Mary Anne is not a likeable character. She is plucky, cunning and seemingly without morals (it seemed like any peer could spend the night for a price and she would quite readily resort to extortion and blackmail). I grew tired of the unending legal issues and at times I felt like I was reading a dry court transcript. The highlight of the story was actu ...more
Oct 18, 2015 Caroline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
'The more pulpy the fruit, the more smashing the fall'

From Bowling Inn Alley, to the bedroom in Gloucester Place of the then Duke of York and Albany, Prince Frederik Augustus, to jail and then in exile in France, Mary Anne evokes the rise and fall of an ambitious, seductive, intelligent woman.

Married young to Joseph Clarke, whom Mary Anne believed to be a wealthy and talent man, disillusions comes and never leaves the young woman's life. Following the death of her elder son, she faces the true
Jun 16, 2010 Janet rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is not at all like I expected - a far cry from "Rebecca". I didn't pay attention to Daphne duMaurier's dedication page until after I began. I didn't realize that Mary Anne Clarke was a real person and actually Ms. duMaurier's great-grandmother. The time period was Regency England and I'm surprised that I don't recall hearing anything about the scandal in any of the Regency genre books that I love to read.

I know some may praise Mary Anne for her ambition and determination but I just viewed
This book started off well but really dragged by the end.

The concept of the book is excellent. Mary Anne is a poor, lonely child who constantly watches her mother go through hell for a man who barely appreciates her. Being smart and passionate, she escapes through her first marriage, a partnership that ends in disaster when she discovers her husbands drinking, debts and lack of success. Being a destitute but pretty woman, she turns to the option of selling herself, even going so far as to being
Oct 05, 2010 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, historical, 1950s
If you approach this book expecting another 'Rebecca' then you will be disappointed; however, if you're looking for a well-researched piece of historical fiction then this is quite a good read. Mary Anne herself is a wonderful, complex character. She is quick-witted, charming, warm and endlessly engaging to read about, yet she is also selfish, cunning and ruthless. I definitely enjoyed the way that du Maurier portrays her as a flawed character, rather than showing a bias towards her relation as ...more
Aug 21, 2007 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all my Ladies looking for a Reminder of how Powerful we really are
This woman is my idol.

Review from
Opened in a flashback style, beautiful and tempting, the biography of Mary Anne Clarke, the notorious heroine, unfolded. Based on her great-great-grandmother, Ms. Du Maurier weaved a story of a woman's power struggle and web of intrique played in society dominated by men. Set in London at the time when Paris was being ruled in Terror regime, London was in parliamentary turmoil and both countries are in war at the end of 18th century.

Mary Anne, with he
Sep 24, 2013 Emma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Daphne and whilst this book isn't up to her usual excellent standards it is still a good read and kept me interested right until the end. The thing about Mary Anne that is compelling is that she was actually one of Daphne's family members (aunt, great aunt, can't quite remember) and so the part is written with empathy for someone who was quite often not very nice!

What I love about the character is how modern she is even by today's standards, the way she behaves is not dissimilar to many y
2.5 stars.

Mary Anne Clarke was on of Daphne du Maurier’s ancestors. This book is a work of fiction about her life. Mary Anne got out of a marriage to a drunk and a gambler, but she needed money to survive and to take care of her children. She eventually makes her way to becoming the mistress of a duke.

Now, my summary is only about the first half of the book. I found most of the book boring and/or confusing. I couldn’t keep straight a lot of the characters. I didn’t like most of the characters.
Rachel Hannusch
Mary Anne is a well-written book, although I didn't recognize anything of Du Maurier's usual style. The beginning, which relied mostly on the author's imagination in a historical setting, was quite interesting; the second half, which has a much greater depth of historical documentation, was rather boring. The wealth of facts and historical details hindered Du Maurier's inventive writing and made the remainder of the book somewhat dull, to be honest.
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If Daphne du Maurier had written only Rebecca, she would still be one of the great shapers of popular culture and the modern imagination. Few writers have created more magical and mysterious places than Jamaica Inn and Manderley, buildings invested with a rich character that gives them a memorable life of their own.

In many ways the life of Daphne du Maurier resembles that of a fairy tale. Born int
More about Daphne du Maurier...

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