Manderley forever, Tatiana de Rosnay

This is the Dutch cover.
I love that photograph!
Daphne Du Maurier  was born in 1907 in a famous family, her father was a well-known actor and her grandfather was a writer. She herself was passionate about writing from a young age and was determined to earn her own living with writing, so she could be independent.

She was proud of her French roots, was shy in company and loved Cornwall from the moment she first came there when her parents bought a house there. Here she began to write her first books.

Daphne married Frederick Browning, a soldier, who would later play an important role during WWII. Together they had three children, the youngest son was Daphne’s favorite.

When her husband was stationed in Egypt, Daphne went with him, although it was hard for her to be away from her beloved Cornwall. That is why she began with what finally would be her most successful book; Rebecca. The critics were full of praise and the book had record sales.

This success gave her the opportunity to rent the mansion Menabilly, a house she was fascinated by from the first moment she had seen it. The estate Manderley from Rebecca was also based on this house.
She would live here for more than 20 years, and even when her husband lived in London after the war because of his position at court, Daphne refused to leave Menabilly. This was the place where she could write and her love for this house was greater than her love for other things, or even almost, other people. 
Daphne and her children at Menabilly
Critics did not always take her books seriously. Often she was just seen as a writer of romantic novels. This did hurt a little, but it never deterred her from writing new books and exploring new genres and often to shock her readers with her macabre stories.

Manderley forver is the fictionalized biography of Daphne Du Maurier by the French-British author Tatiana de Rosnay.

The other book I read by Tatiana de Rosnay was Her name was Sarah and I thought that was absolute crap, so I was a little hesitant to buy this one. However, Daphne Du Maurier is a fascinating subject and I took the risk.

And I must admit, it was 100% better than I had thought. Of course, the writing style is a bit overly melodramatic every now and then, but on the whole I thought it was a very good and pleasant book. It reads like a novel and this is done very well, Daphne Du Maurier, with all her contradictions and peculiarities, really comes to life.

Tatiana de Rosnay tells about Daphne’s childhood with an overbearing father and a mother who did not really care for her, she also tells about the marriage between Daphne and Frederick and the affair Daphne had as a young woman with a female teacher at the French boarding school she attended and she does this with a lot of feeling for her subject.

There is also a lot of attention how Daphne began to write and how her novels were written and this is very interesting.
Daphne du Maurier when she was older.
Every now and then you read a chapter on how Tatiana de Rosnay is looking for remains of Daphne’s life, for example by visiting the houses she lived in and this is a fun little extra.

If you want to read an academic biography with footnotes, then you should leave this book alone, because this is too much like a novel (with a lot of speculation about what Daphne Du Maurier thought and said).

But if you want to read a very pleasant book about the life of Daphne Du Maurier, that actually does have good research, then pick this one up, because you will not be disappointed.

Manderley forever did awaken my interest in the other novels by Daphne Du Maurier, and that is something I really like in a book, if it is capable of making you want to read more.

Published in 2015