Frenchman’s Creek – Daphne du Maurier: Review & Recommend | CLASSICS CATCHUPS

Ahhh I love Daphne du Maurier. I suspected it after reading Rebecca, but now I know for sure. Frenchman’s Creek is a pirate story, a love story, and utterly gripping.

When I started Frenchman’s Creek, I did know the plotline, having googled it to fit it to a song on evermore for my evermore Songs As Classics post. However, while I’d realised it fitted “ivy” rather well, I hadn’t realised quite how much the song creates parallels to the book. I have no idea if it’s coincidence or intentional, but I love it, and if you enjoy the vibe of “ivy” then I definitely recommend Frenchman’s Creek.

The protagonist, Dona, has left her husband in town, and taken her two children and their nanny to her husband’s abandoned estate in Cornwall. Upon arrival, she finds but one servant caring for the house, and hears wild tales of a French pirate from those living nearby.

The plot has just the right balance of adventure and romance for me. I’m not a big fan of anything that feels over the top or too far-fetched, and this just about stayed within the realms of plausibility for me. It wasn’t quite instalove, though the bond between the pair did develop quickly. This felt like more a product of the book’s brevity rather than lazy writing, however, as many meetings between the two were alluded to, but didn’t happen on the page. Having these off-page, ultra-clandestine meetings allowed for the reader to have a taste of the secretive nature of the relationship: some things are off limits even to us.

Dona was a great character for the most part, but I did feel a bit as though she very easily sidelined her children in favour of adventure and romance. While I completely understand her abandoning her husband for the Cornish coast, I didn’t quite understand her willingness to potentially lose her access to her children (or in fact, lose her life) over a man she had just met. As such, she did come across rather selfish and a bit impulsive, which did put me off her slightly! Aside from that, I really loved her character arc, and the ways in which her past misdemeanors are played out again, on a larger scale, throughout the events of the story.

The other thing I have to talk about is du Maurier’s writing. It’s super accessible, and really vivid for me. I’m a massive fan of Cornwall, and I love how the atmosphere of her novels so perfectly recreates the atmosphere I’ve felt when visiting Cornwall. If you’re not used to reading classics (or I suppose this is more a modern classic as a 20th Century book) then I definitely think that du Maurier is a great writer to pick up, because she really incorporates a lot of the conventions of her time while simultaneously creating a timeless feel to her style.

Overall, as you can probably tell, I loved this book. I don’t often read romance, so the last two reviews I’ve published have been a bit of a departure from the usual, but both du Maurier and Austen incorporate such insightful and interesting commentaries on the society of their day and of the conventions of their time that I can’t help but love their work. I don’t think this quite beat Rebecca out for a spot on my all-time favourites list, but that’s only down to the fact that I preferred the Gothic mystery element of Rebecca over the adventure and piracy in Frenchman’s Creek.

I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good romance novel, particularly people who haven’t read a lot of classics but are interested in expanding into them. It’s a slightly lesser known classic, which is a shame because it is just so good! I love taking some time to just live in this kind of societal structure through the pages of books like this, and I will absolutely be reading other books by du Maurier in future.

Have you ever read a du Maurier book, be it this one or another? What did you think?

3 thoughts on “Frenchman’s Creek – Daphne du Maurier: Review & Recommend | CLASSICS CATCHUPS

  1. […] Frenchman’s Creek – Daphne du Maurier. 4.5 stars.I didn’t love it as much as Rebecca, but I certainly loved it all the same! I knew from the synopsis that the Taylor Swift song “ivy” followed a similar plot line to this, but I didn’t know how much the song would be stuck in my head while reading it. I have to say, pirates and romance are usually two things I steer fairly clear of, but when it’s Daphne du Maurier writing it, I can’t stay away. Find my review here. […]

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