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Posts Tagged ‘Historical romance’

This week I only read one book, but what an odd book it was…

Book 4 – Frenchman’s Creek, by Daphne Du Maurier. I picked this from the shelf of inherited books because 1. I have read and enjoyed other Du Maurier and 2. it had a price sticker on the back showing it was bought in Germany.  This meant I knew approximately when it was bought and the circumstances of its purchase, which lent an emotional attachment to the book.

The story follows Lady Dona St Columb as she escapes her life in London with her disappointing husband and his inappropriately mannered best friend, to their country estate in Cornwall.  Dona is headstrong and wild, with a reputation for bad behaviour in London, but longs to leave that person behind.  On arriving in Cornwall, she is told of the French pirate who creeps unseen along the coastline to raid the rich and overwhelm the women.

Dona finds the pirate and despite the warnings she finds herself drawn to him – and as a result drawn into intrigue, criminality and a deep and passionate love that ultimately costs a life, and the possibility of future happiness.

Although it was a perfectly acceptable read, elements of this book were infuriating – in fact I am surprised it has such a good rating on Goodreads.  Dona wants peace and the chance to escape the foolish life she was living in London, and the shame of her poor behaviour – so of course she becomes a pirate.  She wants to be a proper mother to her children – so of course she feigns illness and runs away for a week.  She wants a future where there is the potential to be free to pursue love – so of course she tells everyone her name as she smuggles a gun and a knife into a prison…

I found Dona a frustrating lead – selfish, arrogant and vain, but also wild, reckless and indomitable.  I couldn’t understand why she would be so casual with her future, especially when she was warned many times that she had no future at all with Jean-Benoit, her pirate love. The flip side to that was that I could see she was much more engaging, witty, intelligent and brave than her husband, and how a life with him was a life forever stifled.

In many respects this was a good example of the historical romances popular in the post-war period – I’d liken it to a Jean Plaidy, in style.  I enjoy reading this type of book for escapism and a bit of courtly intrigue, and they are saved from being forgotten entirely by the quality of the writing itself.

I’m glad I read it, because there were some lovely sections, but I’m unlikely to read it again.  If I did, I’d end up shouting at Dona, I think!

Happy reading,

EJ

🙂

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