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Daphne du Maurier

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  575 Ratings  ·  52 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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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
Mar 08, 2016 Jaksen rated it really liked it
Very clear, insightful biography of the author, with emphasis on her inner turmoil as she continually attempted to balance the needs of the outside world - society, family, husband's career needs, friends and confidantes - with the constant need to write. This is a dilemma felt by many writers, that in order to write, there's a need for long periods of solitude to think, reason, plan, research, write and re-write. I emphasize that this is not merely a desire, but a need, and one which most nonwr ...more
May 07, 2012 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, 2012-reads
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
Jul 14, 2014 Kaethe rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned, suspense
I was content to look at the pictures; I'm afraid to learn stuff that will just annoy me
Oct 15, 2014 Lynda rated it liked it
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
Apr 07, 2015 Nicola rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 10, 2014 Helle rated it really liked it
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 it was amazing  ·  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
Jan 06, 2011 Gerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 13, 2011 Marguerite Kaye rated it really liked it
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
Apr 15, 2012 Stephanie rated it really liked 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
Jan 26, 2013 LemonLinda rated it really liked it
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
Mar 31, 2010 Lucy rated it really liked it
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,
Apr 09, 2013 Audrey rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 18, 2016 Lizzie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Readers who've enjoyed her writing
I enjoyed this very much - Forster is a writer whose other work I've liked, and De Maurier was an interesting, complex person who Forster does a great job of interpreting. du Maurier's family cooperated fully and she lived in the era when letters flourished.

She grew up in an artistic family. Her grandfather was the writer and Punch cartoonist George du Maurier, best known for the novel Trilby. Her father was the actor-manager Gerald du Maurier who happened to be brother of Sylvia Llewelyn Davie
Aug 09, 2015 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Daphne du Maurier's books, "The Scapegoat" and "The King's General" are among my all-time favorite reads. Though I great enjoyed some of her more well-known books like "Rebecca," I've read these two multiple times. I own them both and will never let them leave my library. Thus I was curious to add to my scant info on du Maurier. A fascinating life and boo, though I did get tired of her obsessions by the end. The biographic details are of interest but the real meat of the story is what she wrote, ...more
Jan 26, 2008 Carolyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ant Harrison
Sep 14, 2012 Ant Harrison rated it it was amazing
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
Eternally  Dreaming of Libraries
Hello! This is my long overdue book discussion/review of Margaret Forster's biography of one of my favorite authors ever, Daphne du Maurier! Let's dive right in!

When I first came across this book in the summer of 2014, I absolutely couldn't believe it had never occurred to me to read a book about du Maurier's life even though I'd been obsessed with her for ages. It was only when I came across this same book this past summer in June at a Goodwill for the brilliant price of three bucks that I deci
Holly Weiss
Feb 01, 2013 Holly Weiss rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
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
Mar 29, 2015 Carmen rated it really liked it
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
Aug 26, 2014 Mary Dykas rated it really liked it
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.
Linda Gaines
Dec 04, 2015 Linda Gaines rated it really liked it
Forster is a wonderful biographer; I loved hers on Elizabeth Barrett Browning. This one on
du Maurier is well researched and tells a lot about the writer. She had a complicated life but her family was very important to her. Her grandfather was also a novelist and her father a famous actor.
I might read some of the other novels beside Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel now.
Lynn Kearney
Sep 24, 2014 Lynn Kearney rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 25, 2016 Karen marked it as to-read
A definitive exploration of the life of the author of Rebecca reveals many secrets about her turbulent, intensely private life, reviewing her troubled childhood, unfortunate marriage, and sexual ambiguity. #biography #bisexuality
Mar 06, 2016 Beth rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographymemoir
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christine Mathieu
I've read most of the Daphne DuMaurier biographies and this is my favorite. It's very thorough. Also recommendable Flavia Leng's "A Daughter's Memoir" and "The Rebecca Notebook and other Memories" by Daphne herself.
Feb 18, 2013 Alisonismail rated it really liked it
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
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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.

From 1963 Margaret Forster worked as a novelist, biographer and freelance literary critic, contributing regularly to book programmes on television, to Radio 4 and various newpapers and magazin
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