Monday, May 20, 2024

Frenchman's Creek (1941) by Daphne du Maurier

🛶 Frenchman's Creek is set in the 17th century of Cornwall. After my first acquaintance with du Maurier through Rebecca (loved it), I have since read My Cousin Rachel (quite like it, though not as wholesome as Rebecca). I've been wondering what to read next, when I read The Cornwall Sabbatical (a memoir) by Jonathan E. Cox last year, where Frenchman's Creek and Jamaica Inn (both are set in Cornwall) were mentioned. Then I knew what I should pick for next read. I found that Frenchman's Creek is in very different league with Rebecca, though equally entertaining.

🛶 Dona, the Lady St. Columb, was thirty, and mother of two children. Bored with the frivolousness of London's high society, and, partly, with her dull and foolish husband, Dona fled with the children to their ancestors' house in Cornwall, the Navron house.

🛶 She felt peaceful at first, but began to notice mysterious things like a jar of tobacco and a poetry book inside her bedroom's drawer, whom do they belong to? William, the butler? Very unlikely... Then, there's a secret meeting between William and a man at night outside the house. Who is he, and what they're discussing? Then one day Dona took a walk along the stream towards the river, and accidentally found a beautiful and secluded little creek. And there, totally hidden from outsiders' sight, a ship was anchored - a pirate ship!

🛶 There had been concern among the gentries in the village. A group of French pirates had been robbing their belongings for sometimes, but they failed to catch them. But they had had enough, and now, helped by some soldiers, they intended to capture and hang the pirates, especially the captain, a Frenchman called Jean-Benoit Aubéry.

🛶 The same Frenchman captured Dona during her walk, but rather than afraid, she was fascinated by the ship, the captain (a cultured and pleasant man), and by the overall idea of freedom, adventure, a bit of danger, and excitement of pirating. Moreover, she began to fall in love with the Frenchman - a feeling reciprocated by the other.

🛶 Now, what will Dona do - will she let her foolish husband and his peers capture and hang her lover, keep her love affair a secret, then be back to her London life as a wife and mother? Or will she throw her former life away, fight against the hypocrite landlords, and embrace the Frenchman's offer of a new life of love and freedom she really wanted? Whichever option she'd pick, it shows how unfortunate to be born as a woman in that era!

🛶 If you think this is a pure romance story, you're wrong. There's still the trace of du Maurier's remarkable quality of gothic-thriller writing, and vivid story-telling in this book. The romance and adventures just made this book more entertaining, with a touch of deeper subject of women's constraint versus men's freedom.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

1 comment:

  1. Great review! Maybe I should try this one next.
    I recently devoured The Scapegoat, not reviewed yet.
    I always said Rebecca was my favorite. Well, I think The Scapegoat is even better, you absolutely need to read it! Amazing psychology of characters


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