Daphne

by Justine Picardie | Audiobooks |
ISBN: 9781408401651 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Apechild of York, North Yorkshire United Kingdom on 5/19/2022
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Apechild from York, North Yorkshire United Kingdom on Thursday, May 19, 2022
Bought this from a local library sale this year.

Journal Entry 2 by Apechild at York, North Yorkshire United Kingdom on Thursday, May 19, 2022
I finished listening to this one in April....

What a lucky find this was, in a library sale of audiobooks. I’d never heard of it before, but it has so many of my favourite things in it: Daphne Du Maurier, the Brontes… and I’ve learned a lot more about her life. I really need to crack on and read her book about Bramwell Bronte.

From what I understand this is partly historical fiction – in the sense that it’s based on real events, and part just good old fiction. The story runs in two time periods, one modern, or at least when the book was written, which may be 20 years ago now, following a PhD student who has married very young, thinking about what to write her PhD on. She keeps coming back to Daphne Du Maurier which her academic husband, twice her age, mocks her for. Then she finds more about this book about Bramwell, and Du Maurier writing to Simmington, who had a chequered past with accusations of selling papers from the Bronte parsonage library, and a colleague of his possibly forging Charlotte Bronte’s signature. She remains nameless for a lot of the story (although I’m sure at the end there’s a sequence with her long-dead mother, who calls her Jane – giving us a connection to Jane Eyre, me thinks), and married with this older man, haunted by the memories of his first wife, it has elements of Rebecca. And also My Cousin Rachel, for the wife isn’t dead, rather a brilliant academic called Rachel who went off to America. And then comes back to the UK and either befriends the narrator or uses her. There’s that creeping ambiguity that you also get in My Cousin Rachel.

We also go back to the 50s when Daphne is living in Cornwall at Manderbilly (no idea on the spelling, this was an audiobook for me), having troubles with her marriage and wondering what to do next when she comes upon the idea of Bramwell and starts corresponding with Simmington, up at Horsforth near Leeds, who is an ageing academic with said chequered past. People get obsessively sucked into Bramwell’s world, hoping/thinking/believing he might have been misunderstood, his work wrongly attributed to his sisters, and all hoping they’ll discover this and show the world. But Simmington never achieved any end result and Daphne’s conclusions are disillushioning (although I still fully intend to read her book).

It’s also interesting to follow Daphne through her life and find out her back story, the inspirations behind Rebecca, the odd relationships with her father and uncle, and the fact that the boys who inspired Uncle Jim/JM Barrie to Peter Pan, were also her cousins. Or that her father was the first to play Mr Darling and Captain Hook on stage. Fascinating but also very sad because that family did not have a happy life. Certainly not Michael or Peter.

And aside from all of that it’s just a really engaging literary detective story. Really enjoyed it.

Released 1 mo ago (5/24/2022 UTC) at Herriot Hospice Care Charity Shop in Thirsk, North Yorkshire United Kingdom

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Donating to charity next week.

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