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  • Published: 2 July 2007
  • ISBN: 9780099333319
  • Imprint: Arrow
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 480
  • RRP: $22.99

Daphne Du Maurier




A meticulously researched bestseller; a masterpiece of biography and storytelling about one of Britain's best female authors. du Maurier's books were adapted into some of Hitchcock's most successful films, yet little is known about her private life. In this definitive book about the author of The Birds and Rebecca, readers are granted an insight into the life of a great, psychologically complex woman.

The definitive biography of Daphne Du Maurier, one of history's greatest psychological thriller novelists

Rebecca, published in 1938, brought its author instant international acclaim, capturing the popular imagination with its haunting atmosphere of suspense and mystery. Du Maurier was immediately established as the queen of the psychological thriller. But the more fame this and her other books encouraged, the more reclusive Daphne du Maurier became.

Margaret Forster's award-winning biography could hardly be more worthy of its subject. Drawing on private letters and papers, and with the unflinching co-operation of Daphne du Maurier's family, Margaret Forster explores the secret drama of her life - the stifling relationship with her father, actor-manager Gerald du Maurier; her troubled marriage to war hero and royal aide, 'Boy' Browning; her wartime love affair; her passion for Cornwall and her deep friendships with the last of her father's actress loves, Gertrude Lawrence, and with an aristocratic American woman.

Most significant of all, Margaret Forster ingeniously strips away the relaxed and charming facade to lay bare the true workings of a complex and emotional character whose passionate and often violent stories mirrored her own fantasy life more than anyone could ever have imagined.

  • Published: 2 July 2007
  • ISBN: 9780099333319
  • Imprint: Arrow
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 480
  • RRP: $22.99

About the authors

Daphne Du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier, born in 1907, was the second daughter of the famous actor and theatre manager-producer, Sir Gerald du Maurier, and granddaughter of George du Maurier, the much-loved Punch artist and author of Trilby and Peter Ibbetson.  After being educated at home with her sisters, and then in Paris, she began writing short stories and articles in 1928, and in 1931 her first novel, The Loving Spirit, was published.  Two others followed.  Her reputation was established with her frank biography of her father, Gerald: A Portrait, and her Cornish novel, Jamaica Inn.  When Rebecca came out in 1938 she suddenly found herself to her great surprise, one of the most popular authors of the day.  The book went into thirty-nine English impressions in the next twenty years and has been translated into more than twenty languages.

There were fourteen other novels, nearly all bestsellers.  These include Frenchman's Creek (1941), Hungry Hill (1943), My Cousin Rachel (1951), Mary Anne (1954), The Scapegoat (1957), The Glass-Blowers (1963), The Flight of the Falcon (1965) and The House on the Strand (1969).  Besides her novels she published a number of volumes of short stories, Come Wind, Come Weather (1941), Kiss Me Again, Stranger (1952), The Breaking Point (1959), Not After Midnight (1971), Don't Look Now and Other Stories (1971), The Rendezvous and Other Stories (1980) and two plays The Years Between (1945) and September Tide (1948).  She also wrote an account of her relations in the last century, The du Mauriers, and a biography of Branwell Brontë, as well as Vanishing Cornwall, an eloquent elegy on the past of a country she loved so much.  Her autobiography, Growing Pains, appeared in 1977 and The Rebecca Notebook and Other Memories in 1981.  Her books have translated well to the cinema.  Sir Laurence Olivier starred in the filmed version of Rebecca, and Jamaica Inn, Hungry Hill and Frenchman's Creek have also been notable successes; as well as The Birds and Don't Look Now, both adapted from a short story.

Daphne du Maurier was made a D. B. E. in 1969.  She was married to Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick Browning K.C.V.O., D.S.O.  Daphne du Maurier died in 1989 at her home in Cornwall. 

Margaret Forster wrote in a tribute to her.  'No other popular novelist has so triumphantly defied classification as Daphne du Maurier.  She satisfied all the questionable criteria of popular fiction and yet satisfied too the exacting requirements of 'real literature', something very few novelists ever do.'

Margaret Forster

Born in Carlisle, Margaret Forster was the author of many successful and acclaimed novels, including Have the Men Had Enough?, Lady's Maid, Diary of an Ordinary Woman, IsThere Anything You Want?, Keeping the World Away, Over and The Unknown Bridesmaid. She also wrote bestselling memoirs – Hidden Lives, Precious Lives and, most recently, My Life in Houses – and biographies. She was married to writer and journalist Hunter Davies and lived in London and the Lake District. She died in February 2016, just before her last novel, How to Measure a Cow, was published.

Praise for Daphne Du Maurier

Altogether a model biography - human sympathy tempered with honesty and spiced with real intelligence

Lorna Sage, Observer

A startlingly good biography

The Times

Convincing throughout ... Margaret Forster's interpretation of her subject is so complete and so persuasive that it leaves nothing for the reader to do except admire and enjoy

Independent on Sunday

Forster's acute and sensitive book succeeds on many levels ... Its most important achievement is to disprove the highbrow assumption that bestsellers are shallow ... and do not ... engage the depths of the psyche

John Carey, Sunday Times

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