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Castle Dor

3.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  345 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
Both a spellbinding love story and a superb evocation of Cornwall's mythic past, Castle Dor is a book with unique and fascinating origins. It began life as the unfinished last novel of Sir Arthur Quiller- Couch, the celebrated 'Q', and was passed by his daughter to Daphne du Maurier whose storytelling skills were perfectly suited to the task of completing the old master's ...more
Hardcover, 274 pages
Published 1962 by Doubleday & Company, Inc.
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Sarah (Presto agitato)
The legend of Tristan, the Cornish knight, and his doomed love for Iseult, the wife of King Mark, is an ancient one, appearing in many variations for hundreds of years. Castle Dor is a retelling of that story set in Cornwall in the 1840s. It was begun by Arthur Quiller-Couch, a British novelist who wrote under the pen name “Q,” but left unfinished mid-chapter. Many years after his death, his daughter asked Daphne du Maurier to complete it.

Daphne du Maurier, queen of the Gothic novel, would seem
A rather less read du Maurier book -- fascinating, seeing her continuing someone else's work. And I agree with the introduction that it's hard to tell where she picked up the story: there's a shift somewhere, I think, in the tone of the beginning and the tone of the end, but it all flows smoothly enough.

I can't really give it four stars in terms of enjoyment, because I thought some of the parallels with the Tristan and Iseult story were overlaboured, and all the details of geography meant little
Feb 07, 2011 Hannah rated it it was ok
Set in 1860's Cronwall, Castle Dor weaves the boring tale of Amyot (a young Breton sailor) and Linnet (the young and beautiful wife of an extremely old man). How the pair meet, love and ultimately live out the tragic end of their fabled counterparts (Tristan & Iseult) makes for a snooze fest of epic proportions.

Hard to imagine Daphne duMaurier co-authored this book. IMO, Arthur Quiller-Couch wrote the majority of it, since it was extremely dry and esoteric, and I know for a fact that duMau
“She’s dearer than life itself, that’s all I know”

WTF did I just read?

Like seriously, I have no idea. I started this book and the prologue was weird, but I thought ‘hey, it’s just the prologue…’ haha silly me thinking it would get better. Nope, it only got worse.

I picked this book believing it was only written by Daphne Du Maurier. I’m not that into the Tristan and Isolde myth, but I thought if Daphne Du Maurier with her haunting storytelling takes on that legend, it can only be good and atmos
May 05, 2009 Misfit rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Not in your world.....but in some borderland of buried kings and lovers"

Linnette Lewarne, married to a much older man, meets Breton Amyot by pure chance and their fates are forever sealed as they begin to relive a past that has happened time and time again through the centuries - that of Tristan and Iseult. Doctor Carfax watches from the sidelines as he puts the pieces of the puzzle together with that of the legends and ends with a race against time to stop the legend from repeating itself into
Mar 05, 2010 Misfit rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Not in your world.....but in some borderland of buried kings and lovers"

Linnette Lewarne, married to a much older man, meets Breton Amyot by pure chance and their fates are forever sealed as they begin to relive a past that has happened time and time again through the centuries - that of Tristan and Iseult. Doctor Carfax watches from the sidelines as he puts the pieces of the puzzle together with that of the legends and ends with a race against time to stop the legend from repeating itself into
It's been years since I last read a Du Maurier novel. I do love her writing so perhaps it's an odd choice to go for Castle Dor as it's not really her novel. It's also my least favourite of all her work I've read to date. Really this is Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch's unfinished novel. He died before he could complete it and his daughter gave it to Du Maurier to complete. I think she's kept the voice consistent throughout, so she's done a good job. But it's not the Du Maurier that I love, and I did fi ...more

I don't recall how I first heard about Castle Dor. I think it was reviewed by one of my Goodreads friends. Since I am doing a completist reading of du Maurier's novels, I added it to my list.

Castle Dor was an incomplete novel by the very literary and august (according to my research) Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. He died before finishing it. The du Mauriers were friends of Quiller-Couch so his daughter asked Daphne du Maurier to take over and write the rest of the book.

The story is based on the Celt
Stephanie Davies
I'm not going to do a proper review, I just want to share the first description of the titular castle that you see in the book:

“This most ancient cirque of Castle Dor, deserted, bramble-grown, was the very nipple of a huge breast in pain, aching for discharge.”

That's all.
Carrie Robinson
Good but not great.

I'm a big fan of Daphne du Maurier which is why I read this book and while I thought she finished it fairly well, as would be expected from her, I felt it lost some of the atmosphere created by Quiller-Couch. Quiller-Couch's style, at least in this book, I haven't read anything else by him, reminds me a little of Thomas Hardy, in his descriptions of the English countryside. I think Q-C's descriptions of the country, landmarks and history were a crucial part of this story and n
Aug 12, 2014 Peter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a child I remember my maternal grandfather had a reasonably well stocked library and in it included most of the works of Arthur Quiller-Couch (Q). So it was with some interest that I discovered that this book had been started by Q and finished by du Maurier at the behest of Q's daughter so was intrigued as to how this collaboration would work.

Firstly let me say that it appears seamless and it is hard to see which author wrote what (good or bad depending on your taste) although there did seem
Sally Flint
Just finished Castle For and I’ve got to admit the last hundred pages got a cursory reading. It is a novel started by Q and then Daph finished it. Hard to spot the join and she has done a good job of initiating his style, but I couldn’t really get into it. The story is good in a Romeo and Juliet type way, and there is a strange mystic sense throughout of the main characters being in a different time and place, but it creeped me out a bit, but can’t really say why. The character Dr Carfax who kin ...more
I really liked the idea of the love story of Tristan and Iseult repeating itself in 19th century Cornwall, but "Castle D'Or" has two major problems:
1) we all already know the story and how it will end, therefore the only reason to read this book would be that we really care for this characters who are going to share the famous lovers' fate - only that said characters are so cardboard and uninteresting that they barely hold the reader's attention
2) it's not an original novel by du Maurier, who i
This book sets itself out as a Tristan & Isolde retelling. But it's kind of meta, for it doesn't just retell the story in a more modern setting (1840s Cornwall), it also discusses the original texts from the Middle Ages we still possess nowadays. So, this book is very T & I overkill. If you're familiar with the medieval texts, it's fun spotting the references. I think I got most of them, but then I am currently studying those exact texts at the moment. If you're not familiar with them.. ...more
Jul 25, 2012 Bev rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, gothic
Synopsis: "The castle and the hills around it had seen a doomed love affair before, but the impulsive young woman and the impressionable young lad from Brittany with whom she discovered a love heretofore denied her knew nothing of the past. They knew only the present--a present suddenly alive with enchantment, love and danger.

Linnet Lewarne at nineteen was married to a crotchety, wealthy man forty years her senior. One day there came to the seaport town where they lived a Breton, named Amyot Tre
Jul 22, 2014 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, but found it hard to get into at the beginning, probably because the book was started by Arthur Quiller-Couch and finished by Daphne Du Maurier. At first it was heavy going and I'm sure if I re-read it I could pinpoint the place where Daphne took over and I do recall suddenly starting to enjoy the story more, part way through. The parallels between the age the book written in against the age of Iseult and Tristan, and the coincidences in names and places, lead to a good stor ...more
Victoria Conlan
Feb 11, 2016 Victoria Conlan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A rather sad and meandering tale, I found this rather similar to du Maurier's House on the Strand.
The story itself is slow and yet fanciful. But I do find du Maurier remarkably readable, even knowing the story itself is never going to be what I would call exciting. Despite not actually liking any of the characters (except perhaps the doctor), I was involved enough to want to know what was going to happen to them. Which was nice.
Sep 23, 2015 Kerry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Du Maurier completed this book, and the ending was far, far better than the beginning...but on the whole it was not up to her superb writing skills. I don't know how much of the book she wrote, but the flavor did change at some point, and it improved, but there were gaps in the tale. The old story of Tritan and Isolde with a different slant.
Peter Herrmann
Tedious. Even Du Maurier couldn't rescue this dog begun by Q. 2 stars instead of 1 star, because it might inspire a reader to learn more about the Tristan theme (but not this reader).

Apr 29, 2015 Caroline marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Flyss Williams
Fated love story, with its foundations laid 100s of years in the past, the protagonists trapped in a tragic retelling of Tristan and Isuelt.
Jun 11, 2014 Kimberly rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
With the exception of some hints of Du Maurier's writing here and there, the rest felt absent of her storytelling overall. Maybe that's why I didn't care for this book so much, or she did such a wonderful job changing her usual style to fit that of the first author who began the tale.
I want to believe that I was unbiased about this book despite my desire to read a Du Maurier story at the time. Maybe I'll try to read this again one day with a different frame of mind. For now, I rate it upon my i
Jan 11, 2013 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was ok. I usually love Du Maurier books so it was probably the fact that it was only about half her book that meant I didn't enjoy it as much.

I couldn't really get into it until at least half way through and even then I didn't feel that the story or characters gripped me. Because it didn't grip me meant I was reading it quickly and probably missing things as a result.

The introductions and development of the characters were lacking as even after finishing it I didn't feel as though I engaged w
Jul 27, 2011 Emma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Started by du Maurier's father and completed by her upon his death it is almost impossible to tell where he finished and she picked it up, so flawlessly does she imitate his style. The moderate update to an old story, that of Tristan and Iseult, is well done except I struggled to engage with Linnet, the Iseult to onion-seller Amyot Trestane's Tristan. As always I enjoyed du Maurier's writing style but failed to fully sympahise with the characters, Linnet seems immature and selfish making Amyot's ...more
Jul 12, 2015 Kerensa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think I hate all Tristan and Isolde stories.
Stephanie Lane
Not sure what I thought of book hard book to read . It was ok .
John Newcomb
I know Daphne took over this project and finished a part written novel, but I suspect she rewrote most of it but stuck to the rather silly idea. I am not sure that she would have started this project and I am surprised she took it on. Perhaps she felt obliged. All in all Tristan and Isolde are reborn and re die in the 18th or 19th Century.
I began this book because I saw that Daphne DuMaurier had finished the last book of Mr. Quiller-Couch who had died. Aside from a few delightful superstitions and anecdotes, I just couldn't get into the book. I had trouble deciphering the very old way of speaking or writing. I may try it again sometime but for now it just didn't work.
Aug 27, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in the mythic past of Cornwall this book was right up Daphne du Maurier's alley. Started by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, Daphne du Maurier finished it and it is almost impossible to see where the change in author occurs. I didn't think it was one of Daphne's best, but it was definitely her style of book.
Jan 04, 2012 Georgina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not the usual Du Maurier fare, I found this turgid and unengaging - I forced myself to finish it. If Tristan and Iseult is one of the greatest love stories in literature - this was one of the worst. Its only charm is the evocation of historic Cornwall that Du Maurier does so well.
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Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch was a Cornish writer, who published under the pen name of Q. He is primarily remembered for the monumental "Oxford Book of English Verse 1250-1900" (later extended to 1918), and for his literary criticism. He guided the taste of many who never met him, including American writer Helene Hanff, author of 84 Charing Cross Road, its sequel, Q's Legacy, and the putatively ...more
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