Friday, 15 June 2018
Daphne du Maurier by Margaret Forster
I wanted to know more about her and although I read the book Manderly forever by Tatiana de Rosnay, but this is of course a fictionalized biography.
So I wanted a real biography! Margaret Forster had access to the letters Daphne du Maurier wrote and interviewd people who knew her and her children.
The result is an excellent biography, well written and interesting and it really gives an insight into Daphne du Maurier.
Daphne was not always an easy person to live with. On one hand she could be charming and funny, but she had a deep need to be alone and to write.
She married Frederick Browning and together they had three children. But for Daphne, motherhood was never as important as her writing, and although she loved her children, taking care of them and making sandwiches or other mundane tasks were not for her. Fortunately she was in the position to hire nannies.
Daphne hired Menabilly, the house in Cornwall she desperately loved. She was never able to buy it and when the owner died, his heir wanted to live there himself. Although she put up a fight, she lost and in the end Daphne had to move to another house.
After the war her marriage to Frederick was in trouble, but divorce was never an option. He lived in London and worked at the royal palace, and Daphne was in Cornwall, and was writing her books. Her marriage was also not helped by the fact that they were both very private persons who did not know how to talk about their feelings and Daphne was terribly conflicted about her feelings. A couple of times in her life she fell in love with a woman, but she refused to consider herself a lesbian (being bisexual did not exsist in those days I imagine) and thought she was completely unique in her feelings.
She was always afraid that one day her books would not sell anymore, or worse, that she could not write anymore.
Margaret Forster has written a very good biography which has both the details to make it a rich story and the perspective it needs. It has dept and loads of interesting facts, but it is still very compact and readable, you do not drown in details. It gives pychological insight in her personality, but also in her books.
If you want to know more about the woman who wrote Rebecca, My cousin Rachel and haunting stories like The birds and Don't look now, read this biography. It is the only one you need.