It is 1957. The author Daphne du Maurier, beautiful, famous, despairing as her marriage falls apart, finds herself haunted by Rebecca, the heroine of her most famous novel, written twenty years earlier. Resolving to write herself out of her misery, Daphne becomes passionately interested in Branwell, the reprobate brother of the Bronte sisters, and begins a correspondence with the enigmatic bibliophile Alex Symington as she researches a biography. But behind Symington's respectable scholarly surface is a slippery character with much to hide, and soon truth and fiction have become indistinguishable.In present-day London, a lonely young woman, newly married after a fleeting courtship with a man considerably older than her, struggles with her PhD thesis. Her husband, still seemingly in thrall to his brilliant, charismatic first wife, is frequently distant and mysterious, and she can't find a way to make this large, imposing house in Hampstead feel like her own. Retreating instead into the comfort of her library, she begins to become absorbed in a fifty-year-old literary mystery. The last untold Bronte story, "Daphne" is a tale of obsession and possession; of stolen manuscripts and forged signatures; of love lost, and love found. It is a beautiful, original novel from the acclaimed author of "Wish I May".
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Justine Picardie is the author of If the Spirit Moves You: Life and Love After Death, the novel Wish I May and, most recently, My Mother's Wedding Dress. She is also the co-writer or editor of several other books. She was formerly the features editor of British Vogue and is now a columnist for Harper's Bazaar and the Sunday Telegraph Magazine. She lives in London with her husband and two sons.From The Washington Post:
Reviewed by Nicholas Delbanco
The Daphne of this novel's title is a novelist herself, Daphne du Maurier, the bestselling author of Rebecca (1938). Among her other books is a speculative biography, The Infernal World of Branwell Brontë (1960), for which she's less well known. Yet du Maurier was haunted by the figure of the Brontë brother, that hard-to-decipher and troubled boy who chronicled the world of Angria, an imaginary kingdom he and his sisters could shape. In minuscule script, he dreamed of adventure and conquest, calling himself the Earl of Northangerland; he may have furnished a template for Emily's Heathcliff or Charlotte's Mr. Rochester. When Branwell died at 31, in 1848, he left behind both thwarted ambition and -- with reference to who wrote what -- some mysteries unsolved. Was he an important talent or an artist subject to delusion; which manuscripts are genuine, which forged and when, for what reason, by whom?
Justine Picardie's Daphne is a complicated tale-within-a-tale about literary detective work, the tangled web we weave when trying to make sense of earlier deception. The novel begins in 1957. Du Maurier is famous, 50 years old, unhappily married to an ex-soldier and anxious to prove her intellectual credentials to those who scorn her as merely successful. Compelled by the world of the Brontës, she makes contact with a reclusive editor of their work, buying (on her part, innocently) purloined memorabilia and seeking his advice. In real life, du Maurier did dedicate The Infernal World of Branwell Brontë to John Alexander Symington, a "now-forgotten Brontë scholar" to whom she wrote letters and from whom she received epistolary suggestions; their actual letters are reproduced here. In this fictional treatment of their encounter, the portrait of Symington is deftly drawn, and Picardie evokes the world of scholarship and how it can edge up to self-destructive obsession.
Du Maurier herself came from a family more bohemian than Gothic. Her grandfather was a close friend of Henry James; her father was a friend of J.M. Barrie and played both Captain Hook and Mr. Darling in the first production of Barrie's "Peter Pan." In this novel's accomplished retelling, Picardie moves with ease from Daphne's memories of Barrie ("Uncle Jim) and Gertrude ("Gertie") Lawrence to her attempt to unravel the question of authorship of the Brontë siblings' poems and even, perhaps, the great prose.
Most of this sleuthing is performed by a contemporary narrator, a young woman living in London (near the du Maurier home and burial ground), as haunted by du Maurier as du Maurier was by Brontë. Orphaned, old-fashioned and working ineffectually on a Ph.D., she travels to Yorkshire and visits the Brontë manse, Haworth, then gets lost in the woods of Menabilly, du Maurier's retreat in Cornwall. Near action's end, she explains her compulsion: "I feel alive when I think of Daphne du Maurier; I feel that her life contains all kinds of clues and messages that might help me make sense of mine."
Less successful as a character is the narrator's husband Paul, a "Heathcliff and Mr. Rochester and Maxim de Winter" out of central casting. He may look the part of a romantic hero, but he's a middle-aged scholar of Henry James who still yearns for his first wife, Rachel. As the narrator observes, "I must say, there's nothing like being lectured on Henry James by one's husband to put you off both of them." Rachel, a seductive poet also fascinated by du Maurier and the Brontës, gets equally embroiled in the hunt for lost texts; there's a kind of Keystone Kop scramble for who will find which notebook first. Unfortunately, Picardie's mirroring stories grow not so much illuminating as repetitive, and we care less than do her characters about who first wrote what.
The narrator spells out the problem: "What right do I have to try to make connections between [du Maurier's] books and her life? It's dangerous territory -- like all those dated, sentimental Brontë biographies, spinning the myth about saintly Charlotte and spiritual Emily and bad Branwell and gentle Anne. Those kinds of books make me feel uncomfortable; it's the literary equivalent of catching butterflies, and then killing them, in order to pin them down and display them in a box."
But the reader need not be a devotée of Branwell Brontë or Daphne du Maurier or even the Gothic genre to take pleasure in this novel; the butterflies are brightly colored and the display well-lit.
Copyright 2008, The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved.
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Descrizione libro Bloomsbury Publishing. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. 0747587027 All our listings are Brand New copies held on shelves and ready to be dispatched right away. Super-fast delivery. Excellent value for money with 100% money-back guarantee. Buy with confidence. 3.5.3-dj-r-m.tk. (5). Codice libro della libreria 4U-A11B-7E94
Descrizione libro Bloomsbury Publishing. Condizione libro: New. pp. 416. Codice libro della libreria 57095414
Descrizione libro Bloomsbury, London , England, 2008. Hard Cover in Dust Jacket. Condizione libro: New. Condizione sovraccoperta: New. Alison Lang cover illustration (illustratore). First Edition - 1st printing. 2008 FIRST EDITION 1st printing Hardcover book in DJ . BRAND NEW from 2008 publisher . Never opened, Never owned, Never marked . Jacket protected in New non-stick clear mylar sleeve . There is a tiny crease and faint edge marks to the fragile decorated soft paper decorative jacket as is usual with this volume, not as noticeable inside new clear protective sleeve; this is especially Nice Clean Gift giving quality . Handsomely presented book, black boards with Copper gilt title impressed onto spine; pale green endpages, with merlot colored faux silk ribbon bookmark attached; in beautifully decoarted pale burgundy soft paper jacket with raised glossy black & white illustration and decorations embossed to front , back and inside flaps . The jacket illustration by Alison Lang, and design by Sarah Morris ; there is a small B&W photograph by Colin Bell of the author, on the inside flap . 405 pages . British author Justine Picardie of London was formerly features editor of British Vogue, and columnist for the Sunday Telegraph magazine and also writes for Harper's Bazaar . She has written and co-written and edited many books. This one, while presented as a novel, is based upon a true story . In 1957 the author Daphne du Maurier, beautiful and famous, despairs as her marriage falls apart . Restlessly roaming through her remote mansion by the sea in Cornwall , England , she is haunted by regret and by her own creations . namely Rebecca , the heroine of her most famous novel . Seeking distraction from her misery , Daphne becomes passionately interested in Branwell , the reprobate brother of Charlotte and Emily Bronte . Daphne begins a correspondence with the enigmatic scholar Alex Symington as she researches a biography on Bramwell . But behind Syminton's respectable surface is a slippery character with much to hide . Meanwhile . in present-day London, a lonely young woman, newly married after a fleeting courtship with a man considerably older than her, struggles with her PhD thesis on Daphne du Maurier and the Bronte sisters and all the Brontes . Her husband, still seemingly in thrall to his brilliant, charismatic first wife, is frequently distant and mysterious with her, his present wife, and she can't find a way to make the large imposing house in Hampstead feel like her eown . Retreating into the comfort of her library , she becomes absorbed in this fifty-year-old literary mystery . This is a thrilling untold Bronte story . Daphne is a tale of obsession and possession; of stolen manuscripts and forged signatures ; of love lost and love found . It is a beautiful, original, novel . " Daphne " . by Justine Picardie . published by Bloomsbury, London , England . 2008 Hardcover in Dustjacket 1st edition *** Securely packed for Safe delivery ~ Shipping safely Worldwide, since 1965 *** 5-1/2 x 8-3/4 x 1-1/2 ". Codice libro della libreria 6883
Descrizione libro Bloomsbury Publishing, 2008. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria DADAX0747587027