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Daphne du Maurier

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  450 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Rebecca, published in 1938, brought its author instant international acclaim, capturing the popular imagination with its haunting atmosphere of suspense and mystery. du Maurier was immediately established as the queen of the psychological thriller. But the more fame this and her other books encouraged, the more reclusive Daphne du Maurier became.

Margaret Forster's award-wi
Paperback, 455 pages
Published May 5th 1994 by Arrow (first published September 1st 1993)
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Community Reviews

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In The Uncommon Reader, Alan Bennett has his main character, Queen Elizabeth II, reflect that authors are "probably best met within the pages of their novels" and are "as much creatures of the reader's imagination as the characters in their books". There’s wisdom in that attitude. It’s quite possible that I’d be disappointed if I encountered one of my favourite novelists at a dinner party and that experience might colour how I react to their writing in the future. And yet, I still find myself dr
I picked up this biography a few years ago from the discard shelf of my local library. How sad! Published in 1993, it seems it should still be relevant. Even if all Du Maurier ever wrote was Rebecca, that's still impressive, isn't it? makes her worthy of today's library shelves? I didn't know much about her but her list of titles--novels, plays, short stories, family and historical biographies--is long. Still the biography sat on my stack of unread books for a couple years.

A few months ago I cam
A very complete, no holds barred biography about an author whose novels I have long admired.

Forster had access to hundreds of family and friend letters, as well as being able to interview those close to Du Maurier. Her written portrait of Daphne paints a woman both brilliant and conflicted in her sexuality, her marriage, her role as a mother and her overriding need to express all these inner conflicts through her writing. Forster not only sketches the life history of Du Maurier (which is fascina
This was a very interesting and thoroughly researched read. However I found it diminished rather than enhanced my view of Daphne Du Maurier and her oeuvre. Her was a woman who lived to write and wrote to live and everyone and everything apart from perhaps Menabilly took a second place to that. It is easier I suppose to accept as a modern day reader to accept her conflicted sexuality but not so easy to accept her self confessed disinterest in her children and laterally her grandchildren. She also ...more
This was a pleasant read – as good as any novel about a strange, elusive woman who happened to have written a lot of books, have a desire to be a recluse and whose inner life was often a struggle between different personalities.

I had recently seen a BBC production about Daphne du Maurier, and having read some of her books and being fascinated by the era she belonged to as well as the area she lived in, I was curious to explore her life further. And what capable hands her life is in in those of M
Feb 28, 2014 Mary rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes non-fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Paperback Swap
This biography explores the motivations behind Daphne du Maurier's numerous spellbinding works. In a prolific writing career that began in 1931 with The Loving Spirit and subsequently spanned fifty years, the portrait that emerges is that of a woman constantly at odds with herself. Her various literary achievements coupled with a drive to succeed often conflicted with her role as a wife and a mother.

Access to Daphne's personal correspondence has allowed the author to reveal such private details
An excellent biography by a superb writer.

Margaret Forster explores Daphne du Maurier's background and details her sometimes difficult relationship with her famour father, Gerald, before examining Daphne's complex and intriguing character.

She has the co-operation of Daphne's family so every little aspect of her life is looked at in detail and nothing is ignored; her troubled marriage to 'Boy' Browning and how she battled to keep it going, her various love affairs and how she handled Daphne No1 a
Marguerite Kaye
In many ways, Daphne du Maurier is as unlikeable as the heroines of some of her greatest books, but in the same ways, she's also compelling. This was an excellent bio, candid without being lurid, enquiring without going too wildly astray into the author's own theories. As a writer, I'm always fascinated by where other writers get their ideas from and how they go about writing. Du Maurier was a major and detailed plotter, keeping immense amounts of notes and diaries, and only writing (save one bo ...more
There is something faintly disconcerting about the stripping away of someone’s private life in non-fiction writing. Reading not even between the lines, the vision you get of Daphne du M is that she was rather a self-absorbed and even a rather selfish character. She lived a fairly sheltered and privileged life, and indeed seemed more preoccupied with remaining the inhabitant of the house of Menabilly than with her own children. She certainly wasn’t particularly maternal or sociable. She was somet ...more
I was content to look at the pictures; I'm afraid to learn stuff that will just annoy me
Forster has given us a well research and well written portrayal of du Maurier. She shows us the story of this oft troubled, conflicted writer who never gained sufficient self-confidence to understand her own level of genius and creativity. Daphne, the child, was the darling of her dad and never developed a proper mother-daughter relationship, yet her relationship with her dad was not totally healthy as she so wanted to be his good and proper son. This may have led to a deeply rooted conflict whi ...more
I must confess I have not read any of Daphne De Mauriers books, all I knew of her was through the Dirk Bogarde Autobiography's, in which she had made her disatifactio0n with Dirks portrayal of her husband ‘boy browning’
This book was given to me by my Mother… I think it was a sign from her that she was trying to understand my sexuality.I read the book keenly wanting to know how this lady had dealt with the demons we all have to face.It is a wonderfully written book, the family co-operated fully,
Wonderful biography of life of the very complex writer Daphne Du Maurier. Drawing from original letters, documents and interviews with family and friends this biography tells the story of a complicated and tormented woman, who felt at odds with the world her whole life. Born Into a theatrical family and the granddaughter of another famous novelist, Daphne Du Maurier had from all outward aspects a charmed upbringing, but nothing is at it appears on the surface. The book takes an unflinching look ...more
Daphne Du Maurier is a fascinating study. A woman way ahead of her time. An artist who was as dark and complex as her female characters. The Du Muarier family were all as interesting and as talented in other art forms as she was in the literary world. I thoroughly enjoyed this biography and would recommend it.
An excellent woman, writer and biography. At times totally heartbreaking as we see the writer whose full life is hollow when she cannot create.
A meticulously researched book which charts this well known and popular author's somewhat unusual, and at times surprisingly unconventional life from her childhood untill her death.
I became immersed in this biography, which was very well I had expected from it's author.
It was fascinating to read about the actual writing of du Maurier's books in such depth, and to learn of how many of them were inspired by real life people, places and events, and of how she returns time and time aga
Holly Weiss
It was fascinating as an author to read this excellent biography of another author. Life was not easy for Daphne du Maurier. Family relationships were strained at times. She was close to her father as a child, but he was very domineering. Thus she often wrote the men in her novels as uncaring, mysterious and distant. (view spoiler) ...more
Set during the years between the "Rebecca" trial and the writing of Du Maurier's short story "The Birds", including her relationship with her husband Frederick 'Boy' Browning, and her largely unrequited infatuations with American publishing tycoon's wife Ellen Doubleday and the actress Gertrude Lawrence.
Mary Dykas
I originally was only going to skim this book for some facts about the author for a book discussion group and once I started I could not put it down. I ended up reading every page and really feeling like I not only got to know Daphne du Maurier well but to understand her writing. A terrific biography.
Lynn Kearney
I enjoyed this very much, though I think I'd read it a while ago. I've always loved Rebecca, had forgotten she also wrote The Birds, and don't think I ever knew she'd written Don't Look Now, which I know only as a film. Interested in her relationship with Gertrude Lawrence.
This is one of the best biographies I have read. If like me you are a longstanding Du Maurier fan and have read almost all her books, it makes for totally fascinating reading as the case the author makes is that D Du M was intimately emotionally involved with her characters and her plots, obsessing about the themes in Rebecca up to 50 years after she wrote it. However, she also doesn't spare the reader/fan her conclusions about the misery and depression that dogged D Du M's final years, nor abou ...more
I always enjoy reading about authors I love. This book has received criticism in that some say Forster mis-interpreted some of Daphne's fantasies as reality. Whether or not Daphne was bi-sexual is of little concern to me. I enjoyed the glimpse behing the scenes and can take it all with a grain of salt.
Excellent combination. Forster writing about Du Maurier.
Fascinating subject (du Maurier) but probably more than most of us want to know about her. Forster has obviously done her research, but I'm not convinced she's always got the backstory just right. Some of Forster's conclusions seemed a bit shaky to me.

Also, in the book I had, one of the pages (p. 279) had been duplicated and the duplicate replaced p. 297 so I missed an entire page! A few odd spellings as well. None of these niggles took away from the story of a very complex, very unique woman,
Kay Robart
I have enjoyed reading Daphne Du Maurier’s books for many years, so I was interested to come across this biography by Margaret Forster. The main revelation of the biography is that Du Maurier struggled with bisexual and homosexual feelings all her life and always thought she was putting on a show of a normal life. The biography is interesting and well written.

See my complete review here:
While I think Forster did a very good job researching and writing about Daphne's life, I think I should stop reading biographies of writers because I invariably find the reality less interesting than the writer's books. As Nick Hornby says, the story of the writing process always resembles this: "'He thought up an idea. Then he wrote it. Then it got published.' Who wants to read about that?"
This is a good overall, introductory view of Daphne du Maurier's life, times, writing, relationship to the world of film, etc., and thus serves as a decent beginning to a biographical study. A more detailed study about both her work and life and the relationship between the two from today's perspective would be more informative.
Mary Newcomb
My book group read Rebecca and I came upon this biography, it felt like Kismet so I read it. Du Maurier was a most interesting person and author, it contributed to my thoughts about Rebecca as well as the subsequent discussion. Now to return it to the library as other book group members want to read it!
Ant Harrison
A beautifully written biography of one of the world's literary greats. Margaret Forster's compassion for her subject comes through, but never to the extent that she avoids being critical when necessary. This really is the seminal work on du Maurrier.

I loved this book.

Koplowitz 2012
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Margaret Forster was educated at the Carlisle and County High School for Girls. From here she won an Open Scholarship to Somerville College, Oxford where in 1960 she was awarded an honours degree in History. The day after she finished her final exams, she married the writer Hunter Davies, whom she met and fell in love with at the age of 17.

Since 1963 Margaret Forster has worked as a novelist, biog
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