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The House on the Strand

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,831 Ratings  ·  559 Reviews
In this haunting tale, Daphne du Maurier takes a fresh approach to time travel. A secret experimental concoction, once imbibed, allows you to return to the fourteenth century. There is only one catch: if you happen to touch anyone while traveling in the past you will be thrust instantaneously to the present.

Magnus Lane, a University of London chemical researcher, asks his
Published (first published March 1st 1968)
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125th out of 968 books — 1,092 voters
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Jul 29, 2015 Jean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite a few of Daphne du Maurier's novels and short stories have been made into films, and this is how many people have come to discover her work. The House on the Strand is her penultimate novel from 1969. It is an unusual work about time travel and mind-expanding drugs; themes which could be thought of as apposite for the time.

The author thrusts us straight into the action with a beautifully written and vividly descriptive episode. The viewpoint character, Dick, is in the middle of a "trip" (
Daphne du Maurier and time travel? Sure, let's give it a shot.

That was my entire thought process when I decided to buy this from a secondhand bookstore last summer. Rebecca is terrifying and brilliant, and I figured that if du Maurier applied even a portion of her talent to this story, it wouldn't be half bad. And it wasn't. I still prefer Rebecca, but who doesn't.

Our protagonist is Dick Young, and he's agreed to be part of an experiment done by his college friend, Professor Magnus Lane. Dick wi
Apr 12, 2009 Misfit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"We are all bound, one to the other, through time and eternity"

While vacationing at the Cornwall home of old chum Magnus, Richard Young is convinced to act as guinea pig for his friend's latest experiment - a drug that enables the mind to travel into the past - although the body stays in the present. Richard's "trips" take him to the 14C where he is soon so wrapped up in the past that it becomes as addictive to him as a drug - or is it the drug itself that is addictive? Are the lives of those in
May 18, 2008 Elizabeth added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Carol Fullerton
Shelves: chocolate-club
An unusual DuMaurier in that it's a time-travel novel. I found it quite readable, but I could not make myself pay any attention to the complex relationships, housing arrangements and hierarchies of the 13th century characters--very odd, because I got the impression they were supposed to be so much more vivid and intense than the modern day characters. I had not before encountered the idea of time travel as an effect of inherited memory combined with hallucinogenic drugs... I liked the idea, it w ...more
Feb 24, 2010 Christine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: DuMaurier & history novel lovers
Recommended to Christine by: I read every DuMaurier book
This book is a wonderful time travel story.
When Daphne DuMaurier had to leave her home of 25 years, Menabilly close to Gribbin Head (the model for Manderley in "Rebecca") outside of Fowey, her husband signed a lease for another house close-by owned by the same Rashleigh family who owns Menabilly. So she moved to Kilmerth/Kilmarth shortly after her husband died (BTW her husband was Major Browning whose WW II quote "This was a Bridge too far" became famous and later even a book title).

In the basem
Joe Valdez
The next stop in my time travel marathon (November being Science Fiction Month) was The House on the Strand, the 1969 novel by Daphne du Maurier. I was delighted to learn that the author of Rebecca and The Birds had attempted to fuse one of her Gothic romances with time travel adventure and I had high expectations for this book. If written by anyone but du Maurier, it's unlikely I would've finished it. The author's depiction of how time travel could become an addiction and dissolve a modern marr ...more
Du Maurier's time-travel novel did not cast the same spell on me that her short stories or Rebecca did, but it's a captivating tale nonetheless. And well, there must have been something at work as I noticed that each time Dick, the narrator, was about to go back in time, I'd get antsy and feel the need to close the book for awhile. His need for the drug, for the journey to his corner of Cornwall in the 1300's, is palpable and as clear as any drug addict's: the addiction, the high, the inevitable ...more
Dec 10, 2007 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully eerie and entertaining book. I listened to an audio version that was really well produced. The musical interludes between each chapter actually heightened the spookiness.

This is DuMaurier at her best. Set in Cornwall (which, haven't been there, is a really good setting for spooky stories. Lots of craggy coasts, dense fog and and end-of-the-earth feeling) in the early 1960's (maybe the late 50's but I can't look at the title page for a date because this is an audio book), the story is
Amy Sturgis
Du Maurier is a master of the Gothic, and this work of time-travel science fiction is one of her finest. Dick Young epitomizes modern man: disaffected and aimless, he is disillusioned with his chosen career and increasingly distanced from his wife and stepsons. His one real (and multi-layered) connection is with his former college mate Magnus Lane, now a dedicated biophysicist. Lane offers Young the use of his family home on the Cornish coast while Young works through his period of personal mala ...more
Jan 31, 2016 Fiona marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Daphne du Maurier wrote a novel with time travel in it and you guys didn't even tell me.
I couldn't with any certainty say that this book is on par with other books I've read by the author over the years, but I did end up enjoying it far more than I initially thought I would. The beginning was a little slow to gather momentum but once it did it was difficult to put aside.

I loved the setting of Cornwall and the descriptions of past and present. The overall "sinister aspect" was well done, this was compounded by the fact that Richard in his travels was an observer to events unfolding
Sep 06, 2011 Ivan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read "Rebecca" and a number of Lady Browning's short stories (notably "The Doll," "Kiss Me Again, Stranger," "The Birds" and "Don't Look Now") and thoroughly enjoyed them. I've attempted some other novels and found myself unable to finish - they just ran out of steam for me. However, with "House on the Strand" that was not the case. This is a page-turner; a fascinating time travel novel set in Cornwall in the late 1960s. There is never a dull moment from start to finish; and even when the p ...more
Jan 01, 2014 Uncle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The House on the Strand (published 1969) is the second to last novel of Daphne du Maurier. A prolific writer, du Maurier enjoyed enormous popularity with readers during her lifetime, though the critical reception to her books was often much cooler. Attracted to the natural wildness and violent history of Cornwall, du Maurier escaped there from the spotlight , and frequently used it as a locale for her novels.

Dick Young is spending the summer at Kilmarth, the family home of his scientist frien
Sep 22, 2011 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2011
Interesting idea for a story - a man takes a formula and travels back in time and witnesses some events taking place around the area he lives in. However, is the past time real, is he hallucinating or as events seem to be blending together, is he slowly loosing his mind?

Yeah, I thought that sounded like a compelling story, too. However, though quite a bit was good, I found the main character to be on the selfish side, treating his wife shabbily. On the other hand, the wife was a bit of a shrew,
Apr 29, 2012 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It helps that I grew up very close to the locations featured in The House on the Strand, and perhaps that's one of the reasons for my particular fondness for this tale of love and longing.

The storyline weaves brilliantly between the twentieth and fourteenth centuries, with the hero, Dick Young, experiencing a grand passion for the unhappy Isolda, the enigmatic, medieval opposite of his mundane twentieth century wife, Vita.

I recently read Margaret Forster's biography of Dame du Maurier and noted
Feb 05, 2009 Penny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Really quite a dreadful novel, though a page turner as Daphne du Maurier books tend to be. Guy called Richard takes a vacation at his friend Magnus's house in Cornwall. Magnus is a biochemist who has created a new drug and convinces Richard to try it: the drug transports Richard back in time 600 years to be an unseen witness of events among the minor nobility in 14th century England.

Two stories unwind side by side, Richard in the present, and Cornwall in the 1300s. Both are a let-down. Richard
Nov 03, 2012 Angela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The House On The Strand is a novel which draws together many of Daphne du Maurier’s talents as an author. We have an excellent story line; descriptions of the Cornish coast - an area which she knew well - and a feel for historical detail. All of these things give life to the story of Richard Young and his trips into the unknown.

Acting as a guinea pig for his scientist friend, Magnus, Richard Young takes part in an experiment using a drug that has been developed by Magnus. The hallucinogenic drug
Nov 05, 2010 Maureen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
this is a time-travel tale, daphne du maurier style. the first chapter could also be viewed as a perfect little short story, and shows all the power of the author at the top of her game. the thing about her books is in addition to her mastery of language, and pacing, and dialogue, she also tells stories that i can never anticipate. i didn't know what was going to happen -- i had no idea how the story would unfold from moment to moment. this is a very weird book and there's a lot going on underne ...more
3 1/2 stars. An interesting plot, well-written but for some reason the narrator didn't ring true to me. Something about his narrative seemed feminine and I had to keep reminding myself that it was a man speaking. It also seemed a bit unbelievable that (view spoiler)

I did appreciate the deliberate a
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 18, 2011 Hannah marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
I feel like such a failure because I didn't finish this one, but honestly this book was so confusing and boring that after 125 mind numbing pages I knew I could not read 200 more.

Normally, I adore du Maurier, but she lost me with this one, and even the Cornish setting, the time travel plotline and the (still) beautiful writing couldn't salvage it for me this time around.

Oh well, I guess there had to be one of her books that I didn't like....but I still feel like a heretic...
This is not as wonderful as Rebecca. I wonder if authors like having their works compared to their other works. Probably not. It's might be like comparing children, which is never good to do especially in their presence.

I liked this, I just didn't love it. It is drug induced time travel which I thought was a probable idea since this was written in the 60's. I love the writing of Daphne du Maurier. She is so eloquent and precise. I love that. I didn't care much for the main protagonist. He was se
Dec 22, 2015 Ana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leituras-2015
Adoro livros sobre viagens ou saltos mo tempo e este começou por me intrigar verdadeiramente, mas a certa altura as personagens do passado ja nao me diziam nada, confundia tudo e comecei a achar uma grande salganhada que nao interessava nada. Acabei por "despachar" o ultimo terço do livro e o fim deixou um pouco a desejar...
Nov 29, 2014 Jenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are several things I really like about this book: the main character, Richard (Dick) Young, the concept, the theme, and the vividness of the present-time scenes (Dick, Vita, and Magnus's reality). I do not like, however, du Maurier's writing style overly much, the scenes that take place in the past-time, and the characters from that time.
As the book progressed, I became more interested in the past, its characters, and its happenings, but for most of the book, I just didn't find it compelli
May 01, 2009 Lobstergirl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Satanists
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: Helen Gurley Brown
Shelves: fiction
Richard, a somewhat unhappily married book publisher, is enticed by his best friend, homosexual biophysicist Magnus, to imbibe a potion that enables him to time travel from 20th century Cornwall to the exact same locations in 14th century Cornwall, where he encounters (but can't touch, speak to, or interact with) the local denizens. Richard rather rudely uses time travel to escape repeatedly from his American wife Vita (authors, please - don't ever succumb to the temptation to name a character V ...more
Oct 26, 2012 Space rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, time-travel
I think this had potential to be a great story. Unfortunately, it just didn't culminate that way. First of all, there were a whole slew of characters introduced all at the same time. If you've read any of my reviews you've probably seen evidence that I don't like this very much. I find it hard to get to know that many people all at once. Furthermore, all these people from the past are remarkably intertwined by - well, I guess by marriage, brotherhood, et cetera. Let's just say du Maurier is as b ...more
I have to admit that I started reading this with the excitement that this would be a gothic novel like Du Maurier's Rebecca. However, if it was meant to be a gothic novel, it's not a conventional one since the novel's ghosts aren't conventional ghosts. There's a Cornish slang phrase that describes people going mad and walking across the Bodmin Moors like ghosts. Such people are said to have "gone bodmin". And there's definitely no better phrase to describe Richard's and Magnus' obsessive roaming ...more
I don't know why I've always been reluctant about reading Daphne du Maurier's work: I don't know what I thought it was going to be like, because both this and Rebecca were atmospheric and intriguing. Slower than your average thrillers maybe, but I do think there's something in them that captures the mind. A little patience works wonders.

The narrator's background contempt for Vita, not fully realised by himself, is both well written and discomforting: the hints at the end that it could have been
Sarah Sammis
Apr 28, 2008 Sarah Sammis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: released
Daphne du Maurier wrote great beginnings and great endings but sometimes she got lost in the middle as she did with The House on the Strand. This novel comes late in her writing career in 1969, just before her collection of short stories, Don't Look Now.

Coming on the heels of A Traveller in Time I couldn't help but see similarities between the two books. Here, though, the reason is science, not magic. Biophysicist Magnus Lane has created a serum that when ingested allows one to experience the p
Dec 21, 2013 Shirley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
Another excellent story by Du Maurier. So glad I read this, she has that knack of drawing you into the story so that you are compelled to read on, you just can't get enough of it, and you are sad when it has finished. Rather like the main character, Richard, who becomes obsessed with the world he is "transported" to. This is cleverly constructed and well told and one of the best books I've read in 2013, although Rebecca is still her best that I have read.
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  • Mrs de Winter
  • Pomfret Towers
  • Green Darkness
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  • From Time to Time (Time, #2)
  • The Shooting Party
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  • Miss or Mrs?/ The Haunted Hotel/ The Guilty River
  • A Maggot
  • The Bird's Nest
  • Daphne du Maurier
  • The Road to Compiegne (French Revolution, #2)
  • The Mirror
  • Black Narcissus
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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