Mary Anne
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Mary Anne

3.34 of 5 stars 3.34  ·  rating details  ·  897 ratings  ·  100 reviews
"This novel catches fire." --New York Times

She set men's hearts on fire and scandalized a country.

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Published December 17th 2013 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 1954)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,963)
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Kim

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...more
Barb
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...more
Jemidar

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...more
Maureen
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
Misfit
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...more
Nate 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...more
Karen
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
Patricia Rodrigues
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,...more
Margaret
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
A Bookworm Reading
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...more
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. "
Bethany
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.
I...more
Nancy
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.
Steph
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)...more
Janet
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...more
Helen
Can't quite decide between 3 & 4 stars. This tells the tale of Du Maurier's great great grandmother, Mary Anne Clarke, who was mistress to the Duke of York. She was then pivotal in the investigation into the sale of commissions that took place in the House of Commons. A novelised biography, the first sections chart her upbringing in London poverty, then her hasty marriage and subsequent struggles with a lacklustre drunk of a husband. This wasnlt the life she wanted when she was in poveryt, a...more
Kelly
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...more
Katie
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
Linds
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...more
Katie
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...more
Heather
Aug 21, 2007 Heather rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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 Amazon.com:
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...more
Emma
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...more
Joan
What a wonderful adventure of a woman who does not back down, lay down or goes away. Rich in details that make the story come across so personal and vivid you can't help but keep reading well into the night. The story will capture your sense of indignation and cheer when all is righted. Beautifully written and richly savored.
Julie
Historical fiction based on du Maurier’s great-great-grandmother, Mary Anne Clarke, in the early 1800s. Mary Anne was born very poor in London, but improved her position through a series of liaisons—the most notable to the Duke of York. Not only did he set her up financially in a number of homes; but, most importantly, he followed her suggestions on who in the army should be promoted. Unasked by him, those wanting the promotions were paying her for her suggestions to His Royal Highness, also the...more
Kendra
I'd probably rate this one 3.5 stars. It started out really good and I was thoroughly enjoying it all. But it became tedious and difficult by the end. There was a bit of a language barrier although I'm not sure if that's because it was written in 1954 or if it was originally written for a British audience or if the confusion was from too many names, places, and events that I wasn't familiar with. All in all, I enjoyed the story of Mary Anne Clarke...especially knowing that the story was based on...more
Flissy
Oct 19, 2009 Flissy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Du Maurier fans
Shelves: 2009
This book is so different than Daphne du Maurier's other novels! It revolves around Mary Anne Clarke, who made her way through life as a mistress of the Duke of York (among others) and exploiting up-and-coming military men first by taking bribes, then by exposing all her dirty secrets. As scandalous as the plot sounds, it actually is told in a rather perfunctory fashion, forgoing all the juicy details for a more matter-of-fact, documentary tone. It was interesting to see Mary Anne's tenacity and...more
Diane
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
Td Lang
Interesting story, especially on account of du Maurier's relationship to the character. Definitely not a favourite that will be read over and over like some of her other books.
Amie
I'm a sucker for your average womens struggle/suffer type books. I seriously enjoyed the intelligence, confidence and utter arrogance that Mary Anne displays as she figures out how the world works at a young age and does what she has to to take care of herself, her family, and her loyal friends in the truley male dominated world she lives in. Good read!

Update: I was reminded of Mary Anne a few nights ago while watching Weeds season 5 and I was thinking that Nancy Botwin and Mary Anne were so fr...more
Robin
I never thought that the author of such a perfect novel as Rebecca could write anything I'd find tedious, but I found this novel about a mistress of the Duke of York circa 1805 and an ancestor of Du Maurier just that. For someone who has not read a lot on this period, Mary Anne Clarke's spunk and single-minded ruthlessness in living well and providing for her children a triumph of a downtrodden woman in a man's world. Her lack of scruples just made it hard to root for her, though the men she mad...more
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2001717
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
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