Daphne: A Novel

Daphne: A Novel

2.2 5
by Justine Picardie
     
 

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Daphne is a marvelous story of literary fascination and possession; of stolen manuscripts and forged signatures; of love lost, and love found; of the way into imaginary worlds, and the way out again. The book is written in three entwined parts, which follow Daphne du Maurier herself, the beautiful, tomboyish, passionate author of the enormously popular Gothic

Overview

Daphne is a marvelous story of literary fascination and possession; of stolen manuscripts and forged signatures; of love lost, and love found; of the way into imaginary worlds, and the way out again. The book is written in three entwined parts, which follow Daphne du Maurier herself, the beautiful, tomboyish, passionate author of the enormously popular Gothic novel Rebecca; John Alexander Symington, eminent editor and curator of the Brontës manuscripts, who by 1957 had been dismissed from the Brontë Parsonage Museum in disgrace after being accused of stealing and forging Brontë manuscripts and who became Daphnes correspondent; and a nameless modern researcher on the trail of Daphne, Rebecca, Alexander Symington, and the Brontës.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Former BritishVogue editor Picardie (My Mother's Wedding Dress) gives us a fictional life of Rebecca novelist Daphne du Maurier (1907-1989) that founders in obsession. In the late 1950s, du Maurier, determined to establish herself as a serious writer, researched and wrote a biography of Branwell Brontë, the often-overlooked real-life brother of sisters Emily and Charlotte. Flash forward to the present, in which a nameless graduate student seeks out lost secrets about the relationship between du Maurier and John Alexander Symington, the Brontë expert and curator to whom du Maurier dedicated her eventual Brontë book. Picardie's novel quickly becomes a tangle of redundancies, as the student, in one plot line, grows increasingly obsessed with du Maurier and loses touch with reality. Meanwhile, in another thread, du Maurier and Symington both flirt with madness in their separate Branwell quests. Du Maurier's fictional characters, especially Rebecca, haunt the story unproductively, as do the Brontës, Brontë protagonists, and Barrie's Peter Pan and the Lost Boys (who were inspired by du Maurier's cousins). Picardie does best with Symington, whose career ended in scandal: she portrays his dissolution coldly, letting observations rip in a way she never quite manages with the fictive Daphne. (Aug.)

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Library Journal

Picardie's well-researched novel about Daphne du Maurier is sure to send readers scurrying back to all those books they should have read in college. Du Maurier's works are referenced, as is her fascination with the Brontë family. Toss in Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie and various members of the rare book and manuscript community, and you have an intriguing fictionalization of many intertwining literary lives. The novel is written from the perspectives of du Maurier, manuscript curator J.A. Symington, and a nameless researcher, with each of their stories spiraling upon the other to create a century-spanning novel hidden in lucky coincidences and missing papers (including those of the Brontës). The result is an absolute gem of a novel that will be a hit with fans of du Maurier, the Brontës, and British fiction generally as well as the avid bibliophile. It should serve as an excellent book club selection that may prompt an interest in these literary figures. Highly recommended.
—Leann Restaino

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781608196012
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
10/01/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
904,617
File size:
868 KB

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Justine Picardie is a journalist, novelist, and editor who lives in London. She is the author of My Mothers Wedding Dress (Bloomsbury 2006), If the Spirit Moves You: Life and Love After Death, and the novel Wish I May, and the cowriter or editor of several more. She was formerly the features editor of British Vogue and editor of the Observer magazine.
Justine Picardie is a journalist, novelist, and editor who lives in London. She is the author of My Mothers Wedding Dress (Bloomsbury 2006), If the Spirit Moves You: Life and Love After Death, and the novel Wish I May, and the cowriter or editor of several more. She was formerly the features editor of British Vogue and editor of the Observer magazine.

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Daphne 2.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
RobinTN More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for sex, drugs and rock and roll, look somewhere else. This is a civilized mystery and literary treasure hunt. I enjoyed the story, the characters and the plot. I will readily recommend this novel.
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