Farin's Reviews > Daphne

Daphne by Justine Picardie
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's review
Oct 25, 2011

it was ok
Read from October 25 to November 16, 2011

Daphne was a bit of a surprise and a bit of a letdown for me. Like most people, I picked it up because I'm a fan of Rebecca and was excited to read a historical fiction piece on its author. It's entirely my fault that I didn't reading the abstract before I checked it out of my library, because if I had I would have known that the story was less about Rebecca and more about Daphne's twilight years as she struggled through a turbulent marriage and an equally turbulent biography of Branwell Bronte. At first, the whole process was very interesting to me, and I enjoyed reading the back and forth between Daphne and Symington as she searched for some obscure manuscript that would vindicate Branwell, but I started to lose interest as things continued to drag on and the characters' neuroses began to dominate the plot. The three part narrative also got old after a while; I literally groaned when I turned the page to find that it was Symington's turn to take up the thread, and there were times when I wanted to smack our modern heroine. I didn't need these other narrators! I liked Daphne just fine!

However, Picardie scores two major points in the writing of this novel. The first is that she has clearly done her research well, and each chapter is rich in detail, most of which is factually correct. Those parts of the book were a particular pleasure to read. The second is that, despite how annoyed I became with some of the narrators' antics, it was all clearly a commentary on the process of researching and writing a book and how, much like in Black Swan, it can take over your life and make you crazy.

I agree that fans of Daphne du Maurier and the Brontes should definitely give this book a shot. As for me, I'm going straight back to my library to check out a Daphne biography.
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09/13/2016 marked as: read

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