Monday, 15 April 2013

'Frenchman's Creek' by Daphne du Maurier (1941)

Synopsis: Lady Dona makes a sudden visit to her husband's remote estate in Cornwall after becoming bored and weary of her lifestyle in London. Dona then discovers that the estate, unoccupied for years, is being used as a base by a notorious French pirate who is raiding the Cornish coast. Dona then meets this pirate and they embark on an affair.

I had very different reactions to the three Daphne du Maurier novels that I read before this one. I loved Rebecca, really liked My Cousin Rachel and really disliked Jamaica Inn. This book is only marginally better than Jamaica Inn.

Frenchman's Creek is another historical novel from du Maurier only this time it's set during the Restoration rather than the 19th century setting of Jamaica Inn. It also features a heroine who falls for a sexy French pirate. It sounds like a really fun and exciting read, right? Is it a really fun and exciting read? Erm... no. In order for me to enjoy a romance novel - and du Maurier did consider this to be her only romance novel - I really need to care about the characters and their romance. Here, I couldn't. Frankly I couldn't have cared less about Lady Dona and her lover. See I've even forgotten his name so that only goes to show just how little I cared! I felt no real passion or love between these characters and their romance was boring.

Lady Dona is a particularly irritating character as well. She didn't irritate me quite as much as Mary Yellan did in Jamaica Inn but she certainly came close! She's extremely shallow and selfish. She shows no love or even an interest in her children. She's happy to leave her children with her servants for days on end so she can go off and help her lover steal from her neighbours. The only reason why she decides to have an affair and steal from her neighbours in the first place is simply because she's bored. She'd be sent to prison or hanged if she got caught of course but the thought of leaving her children without a mother is obviously no big concern of hers!

This book does have some nice descriptive passages and I didn't hate it as much as Jamaica Inn so that's a bonus at least. And I will keep reading du Maurier's books because she's still one of my favourite writers and I know that she's capable of far, far better than this.

Rating: 2/5

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