Any Daphne Du Maurier fans out there? discussion

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message 1: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 150 comments I have about 100 pages left on this book and am enjoying it very much. This one involves time travel via a 1960's experimental drug, and for once I'm enjoying the story in the present time more than the story in the past.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Doesn't she do a great job of writing from a man's viewpoint? I became very fascinated by Roger, the guy back in time that he always follows when he travels back.

I am wondering if Rowling got her time travel idea slightly from reading this as I was thinking about it as Harry and Dumbledore put their faces into memory "fluid" in a basin and stepped back to previous memories.

What do you think about him falling in love with the woman back here? I cannot think of her name at the moment. Seems like an ancient love story name...Tristan and Isolde. (that is how I remember it) Do you think he was Roger Kylmerth in the previous life?


message 3: by Vena (new)

Vena | 22 comments Alice, the 14th-century woman Dick was smitten with -- as was Roger Kylmerth -- was Isolda Carminowe. As for why Dick was fascinated with Isolda: I think that, besides her beauty, there was something about the unattainableness of this "lass unparalleled." Isolda had been dust for six centuries; Dick couldn't even touch her; but he could observe her, and perhaps understand something about her, in a way that he could not a woman of his own time. She was, also, in a way, a contrast to his own wife, the modern-American Vita. At least that's the way I've interpreted Dick's reaction to Isolda.

I don't think Dick was a reincarnation of Roger, but Roger was Dick's predecessor at Kilmarth so there was something of Roger left in that place that the drug brought forth to Dick -- an undying memory, the spirit of the man, or in 1960's parlance: Roger's vibes still existed.

I agree that Daphne du Maurier wrote very convincingly from a masculine point of view. She also did it in The Scapegoat, My Cousin Rachel and The Flight of Falcon.




message 4: by Vena (new)

Vena | 22 comments Oh, I meant to add above: Do you know that Isolda de Ferrers Carminowe, Sir Otto Bodrugan, and many of the other 14th-century characters were real people? I can imagine D du Maurier looking through genealogies and trying to imagine what happened in the lives of these real people and that's what gave her the idea to 'time travel'. She made it all very believable, I think.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Vena wrote: "Oh, I meant to add above: Do you know that Isolda de Ferrers Carminowe, Sir Otto Bodrugan, and many of the other 14th-century characters were real people? I can imagine D du Maurier looking throu..."

NO! How exciting!!! I had no idea they were real people altho they sure seemed real. What an imagination she had. So when she describes Dick searching the old genealogies she was describing her own search. How did you find that out? I just love that. Do you suppose that Isolda really had a pet squirrel? I admired Sir Otto Bodrugan so much and to think he was a real person.

Dick was certainly obsessed with Isolda. Your explanation is a very good one. Thanks for your insight.




message 6: by Vena (new)

Vena | 22 comments Alice, some time in the 1980s (about fifteen years after I first read THOTS), while I was researching the Arundells, I ran across the name of Isolda de Ferrers, second wife of Sir Oliver Carminow(e), Sheriff of Cornwall. It dawned on me: Hey, that's Isolda in D du M's book! Then I kept running across more and more names that D du M used, including the Champernounes, Isolda de Cardinham (our Isolda's grandmother), the Bodrugans, the Polpeys, etc.

My first inklings were before the Internet, but as soon as I became web savvy I sought out more information. It has steadily increased in availability, so now all you have to do is 'Google' any of those names and the genealogy sites pop up.

Interestingly, many of the old Cornish families and their names feature in other D du M books; for example, descendant Champernounes (of the 17th century) appear in The King's General.

It's possible that Isolda did indeed have a pet squirrel. I like to think that she did anyway.

There's so much in THOTS that fascinates me -- I'm afraid I could bend your ear, so to speak, far too much. :-)


message 7: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 150 comments I found his fascination with Isolda quite interesting, but I did have a hard time following the characters in the past and their relationships. I think its the first time slip book I've read where I was more interested in what happened in the present than the past. At the end, I had to ask myself what really happened?


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Vena wrote: "Alice, some time in the 1980s (about fifteen years after I first read THOTS), while I was researching the Arundells, I ran across the name of Isolda de Ferrers, second wife of Sir Oliver Carminow(e..."

Oh, please bend my ear as I have read THOTS 7 times. If I am upset about something its a book that will make me forget everything except what I am reading. I did a little genealogy but not online as much. I did most of mine when I lived in NM with a Mormon church there so I will google these people just so I can see this. Isolda was very fascinating to me and I guess it was due to Dick's fascination.

People had such unusual pets back then it seems. I have read where several people had monkeys which to me would have been so hard to keep especially back then.




message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Misfit wrote: "I found his fascination with Isolda quite interesting, but I did have a hard time following the characters in the past and their relationships. I think its the first time slip book I've read where ..."

Misfit, that think is why I have read this book 7 times! I have also read Penmarric 7 times by Susan Howatch. There are so many details but very interesting ones to me. I was obsessed with the past in THOTS.




message 10: by Vena (new)

Vena | 22 comments Misfit, THOTS is perhaps the only time travel book I've read where I find the present-day story as interesting and compelling as the past events. I've read other time travel/reincarnation stories that were good, but I got impatient with the modern parts and wanted to stay in the past. In these cases I've wished the writer had just written a straightforward historical novel without the time slip feature.

However, the way D du M structured her tale with the interweaving of the two times, the contrast is what does the trick for me. Even after many rereadings I can still feel wonderment at "the light of other days" and the sensation of being jolted back to the modern story makes the past feel, I think, all the more authentic. D du M seemed to stay truer to what the historical reactions of her characters could possibly have been -- not like so many writers who, I think, dress their characters in historical clothes and put them in historical settings but have them think and act with 20th/21st-century motivations.

What is it, Misfit, that you most enjoyed about the modern story?


message 11: by Vena (new)

Vena | 22 comments Alice, what did you find the most affecting scenes with the 14th-century characters and happenings?

There are several scenes that come to my mind, but I'll just mention a couple:

Remember when Dick watches -- along with Roger of course -- through the window of the semi-empty house as Isolda and Sir Otto are playfully enjoying their tryst. Dick and Roger feel a poignancy in their voyeurism. It's powerfully evocative writing for me to feel, as a reader, that I'm complicit in voyeurism, too.

The other scene actually combines the past and the present stories: Remember the valley where Dick reaches out to help Isolda cross the stream only to be jolted into the present by the rattling blur of the passing train wagons on the railway. Later when Magnus met his fate in that same valley, Dick knew what had happened...and he blurted out at the inquest the fact that snow had been falling, only of course it was not snowing in the modern-day summer.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Vena wrote: "Alice, what did you find the most affecting scenes with the 14th-century characters and happenings?

There are several scenes that come to my mind, but I'll just mention a couple:

Remember whe..."


Yes, all those scenes also touched me. I also recall when Sir Hugh was out on his boat? and Isolda's husband somehow murdered him. I believe he drowned? I was so upset by that. I wanted to save him as I felt Dick did too.

I also felt so sad for Dick as he began to get the past and present mixed up. I admired Roger so much for saving Isolda from a horrible fate with her husband but then later......well, I guess he poisoned her? But it was out of kindness really. Am I right on this?

I felt that Dick didn't really want to go on after he had lost touch with Isolda and couldn't see her anymore. I still feel there was some connecton between him and Roger as they both loved Isolda so much.




message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

from google (how wonderful to find this online)

Isolda married Sir Oliver DE CARMINOW, son of Sir Roger DE CARMINOW Lord of Trelowith and Joanna DE DINHAM. (Sir Oliver DE CARMINOW was born in 1274 in Carminowe, Cornwall, died in 1345 in Trenowyth, Cornwall and was buried in Grey Friar's Church, Bodmin, Cornwall, England.)



message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

page 104 - reference to the first poisoning?

"I kept thinking of Roger Kylmerth in his sleeping quarters over the kitchen of the original farmstead, and wondering whether his brother had thoroughly scoured out the bowls six hundred and forty years ago. He must have done so, for Henry Champernoune to lie undisturbed in the Priory chapel until that chapel had crumbled into dust as well."

I searched back for the first bit about poisoning as I have had no one to talk to about this and I do wonder about it all, if my interpretation is correct?

Page 87 in my old book:

"No two men are alike in sickness," Roger answered. "What will save the one will trouble the other. If Sir Henry wandered in his mind it was his misfortune.
"Made the more effective by the potions given him," she said. "My grandmother, Isolda de Cardinham, had a treatise on herbs, written by a learned doctor who went to the Crusades, and she bequeathed it to me when she died, because I was her namesake. I am no stranger to the seeds of the black poppy and the white, water hemlock, mandragora, and the sleep they can induce."
Roger, started out of his attitude of deference, did not answer her at once. Then he said, "These herbs are used by all apothecaries for easing pain. The monk, Jean de Meral, was trained in the parent-house at Angers and is especially skilled. Sir Henry himself had implicit faith in him.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

"the link between brains"...This is another thing of great interest to me (on page 58) of my old copy.

Magnus is speaking to Dick. He says "Incidentally, heave you noticed how one gets the sense of the conversation without conscious translation from the mediaeval French they seem to be speaking? THAT'S THE LINK AGAIN, BETWEEN HIS BRAIN AND OURS.

Maybe this link is because they were descendants?


message 16: by Vena (new)

Vena | 22 comments
THAT'S THE LINK AGAIN, BETWEEN HIS BRAIN AND OURS.

Maybe this link is because they were descendants?
Alice, that's a possible interpretation I wondered about as well. But isn't there also mention that the specific place where the drug was ingested is also important? I don't have a copy of the book at hand so I'm doing this from memory, but I recall a mention that if the drug were taken in, say, London or at the university where Magnus taught, the things experienced in the past would be different, with a different 'guide' (which is essentially Roger's role).

Yes, I think you're right about Roger's 'aiding' in Isolda's despatch, which I think is what she wanted him to do. She no longer wanted to live once Sir Otto was gone, and she knew that Sir Oliver already had his eyes on Sibella (I think that was her name). She suspected that Sir Oliver would get rid of her (Isolda), but she preferred that he would not get to do it his way.

Alice, I'm glad you found the Carminow genealogy. Oh, yes, the Internet is marvelous for things like that.

I'll get a copy of THOTS tomorrow and find the scenes and quotes you have mentioned. It's such fun to discuss this book with people who know it well.





message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Vena wrote: "THAT'S THE LINK AGAIN, BETWEEN HIS BRAIN AND OURS.

Maybe this link is because they were descendants?Alice, that's a possible interpretation I wondered about as well. But isn't there also menti..."


Oh, will have to search for that as I didn't pick up on it. Thanks for this pointer.




message 18: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 150 comments "What is it, Misfit, that you most enjoyed about the modern story?"

I found the slow descent into the past along with his growing reliance on the drug very compelling - let alone all those places he "woke up" at. That time he reached out to help Isobel through the snow. Yikes!


message 19: by Vena (new)

Vena | 22 comments Alice, I now have a copy of THOTS, though apparently not the same edition you have, but perhaps we can figure out the locations in our books of the various scenes.

I did some quick skimming of the part in the snowy valley and now realize that I remembered it imperfectly -- Magnus actually experienced it before Dick. And Dick didn't reach out to help Isolda, as Magnus did, though he certainly considered it until some instinct of self-preservation stopped him -- a good thing or he would have met the same fate as Magnus.

I haven't found the explicit reference about 'place importance' to help you out, Alice. Now I'm beginning to think I inferred it from Magnus's actions of going to Cornwall to share 'a trip' with Dick and to see Isolda for himself. If place wasn't important, then he would not have had to go physically himself to Cornwall. I need to read more closely to see if I can find the place where I picked up the impression. Alice, if you find it specifically, or if you think it might be implied, please let me know. I'll be worrying a pulled thread until I figure it out. :-)


message 20: by Vena (new)

Vena | 22 comments Misfit, Dick took the last of the drug, but D du M left us with ambiguity: Was there to be residual or lasting effect on him?

As much as I've always loved D du M's novels, sometimes the endings have made me want to grind my teeth. THOTS and My Cousin Rachel have alternately puzzled and exasperated me, yet it's probably for those very reasons that they have also exercised my mind the most. I have reread both many times, half expecting and half wanting clarity that I somehow have missed so far.


message 21: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 150 comments Don't her ambiguous endings drive you nuts yet leave you fascinated at the same time? Either one would make a great group read that we can argue about the ending into eternity.


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Vena wrote: "Alice, I now have a copy of THOTS, though apparently not the same edition you have, but perhaps we can figure out the locations in our books of the various scenes.

I did some quick skimming of..."


If I find it I will sure let you know. I had migraine aura this afternoon so didn't get much reading done. Its clearing now but I am still "out there".
Daphne Da Maurier can certainly make a persons imagination work overtime as hers was going so fast.

Well, I believe at the end that Dick was on his way to the funny farm and was probably going to die. I don't feel sad about it tho as I think he was too unhappy. Maybe he would get to see Isolda when he crossed over? When he lost his grip on the phone it made me think of myself at times when I drop things. So the drug had a very bad lasting effect on his CNS.

My copy appears to be 1970 Avon and has an orange cover. Oddly enough there are little "starbursts" in the lower right hand corner that look remarkably like the aura I had today for nearly an hour. I have had this book at least 20 years! A couple of years ago I bought myself a new better copy but still refer back to this one as its so dog eared but also light weight so I don't drop it!




message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Misfit wrote: "Don't her ambiguous endings drive you nuts yet leave you fascinated at the same time? Either one would make a great group read that we can argue about the ending into eternity. "

I love most ambiguous endings more than everything all tied up real neat but there have been some that made me bonkers. None of Daphne Du Mauriers tho. I am very upset with her about Jamaica Inn at the moment tho and debating about whether to gripe about it here or not. I did a little venting in a neverending quiz question!




message 24: by Pat (new)

Pat | 17 comments I just finished this book. Ambiguous ending, YES! It sounds to me at the end when his hand and fingers go numb, that he is on his way back to the past again...although involuntarily. On his last visit, the country was engulfed with the bubonic plague and I am wondering if he will make it back alive this time. I remember on an earlier trip he came back with a swollen and bloodshot eye and he kept sweating profusely. He even referred to it as the "sweating sickness". Was he vulnerable to the diseases of the 14th century? With Roger and Isolda both dead, he seemed to have been freed of the past, but apparently the past was not done with him.

This is what is on the inside cover of my book.(1969)

"Miss du Maurier now lives in Cornwall as mistress of Kilmarth, the house whose 600-year past was the inspiration for this tale."

Not only are the characters real, so is the house.


message 25: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 150 comments I've rarely come across a book that leaves me wondering what the heck I've missed and want to read it again. I suspect we'll never know for sure.


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Pat wrote: "I just finished this book. Ambiguous ending, YES! It sounds to me at the end when his hand and fingers go numb, that he is on his way back to the past again...although involuntarily. On his last..."

I never realized that. I just thought he was dying from the drug. I am so glad I read this.
Alice


message 27: by Pat (new)

Pat | 17 comments I could be dead wrong, As. I think that only Daphne knew the deep secrets and mysteries contained in her novels.


message 28: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 150 comments Pat wrote: "I could be dead wrong, As. I think that only Daphne knew the deep secrets and mysteries contained in her novels."

I felt the ending was very ambiguous (sp?). You don't really really know what happened.


message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

Sometimes its good to leave it to the reader's imagination as you think about it more.


message 30: by Alicia (new)

Alicia (lishusm) | 3 comments I love that it's ambiguous! We're left to all our own imaginations! While Rebecca is THE book that started my passion for reading, THOTS is my favorite by Du Maurier.

I so, so, so, wish they would release them ALL for kindle. There are a couple on the UK amazon site but I'm not allowed to purchase them. Wonder what we'd have to do to get them rolling....


message 31: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 150 comments I haven't seen any on kindle, but I do believe if your kindle is .com based, you can't purchase .uk kindle items. Phhhhht.


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