#162 ~ Frenchman’s Creek ~ Review and Giveaway


Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier

The Review

Dona St. Columb, a woman bored with her life in London, is determined to flee from the city the day after her participation in a practical joke along with Rockingham, her husband’s best friend, makes her ashamed of the woman she has become. She is driven to distraction by her husband Harry and his incessent yawning and drinking habit, and decides to leave for her husband’s family estate in Cornwell with only her two children and their nanny.  For all of his faults, Harry is besotted with his wife and agrees to let her go to Navron alone. The countryside proves very relaxing to Lady St. Columb, but little did she know that she would find the adventure she had always longed for in the notorious pirate who has been looting the area in her husband’s absence. While she longs to learn all that her Frenchman wants to teach her about life, love, and adventure, Dona has to weigh the rewards against the loss of her family, her already questionable reputation, and her life itself if she were to be caught.

dumaurierIt has been a long time since I’ve read Rebecca, the novel for which Daphne du Maurier is most well known. Rebecca is one of those rare jems where I love the novel and the film equally.  In fact, I was introduced to du Maurier through the movie in the first place.  I have always wanted to re-read the novel and explore her other titles, so I quickly requested a copy of Frenchman’s Creek from Sourcebooks as soon as I found out that they were available for review. Dona is such a different character from the second Mrs. De Winter and I absolutely loved her. She was a woman who loved her children but wanted more from life than motherhood during the reign of Charles II, when there weren’t really many acceptable outlets.  Although her feelings for Harry were cold and judgemental, his lax nature was a saving grace of sorts.  It’s far better to do as you please and feel shame for the things you’ve done than suffer from the strangulation of a strict and domineering husband.  Just like Harry, I loved her despite or perhaps because of her faults.

The first chapter got off to a slow start for me, but that was quickly forgotten when Lady St. Columb reprimanded her driver for letting the horses  rest on the way to Navron. It was when Dona met William, the man in charge of caring for Navron, that du Maurier really worked her magic.  Their dialog and interactions are so human and so full of sacrastic wit, double meanings, and complete understanding. It was a treat to read each and every time that spoke to one another. Much the same could be said of her relationship with Frenchman.  The two spoke the same language of escape and dreams. It was hard for me to find fault in Dona when in such a short period of time William and the Frenchman knew her better than her husband and their friends in London. Harry had no clue how to love his wife because he couldn’t understand her and Rockingham was simply acting upon his base nature. He never cared for Dona the way that William or the Frenchman did.

deppbloompiratesIn everyone’s life there comes a time when daydreaming of running away from reality makes the idea so very appealing.  Frenchman’s Creek is the perfect novel to read to fulfill those fantasies.  Although I’ve never been one for pirates (not even when portrayed by Johnny Depp or Orlando Bloom), I could not help being drawn in to the lure of sailing away from the world with a dashing pirate. This novel isn’t about pure escapism, though.  It is quick to acknowledge the costs of acting impulsively and experiencing the greatest high you had ever imagined.  At some point, you must come down from it. It isn’t just the appeal taking up with pirates that makes this novel special.  du Maurier’s dialog provides just as much spark as the Frenchman while her prose creates both the calm tranquility and the absolute danger that Dona encounters in Cornwall. Be careful when you set out to read this novel. Daphne du Maurier will capture your imagination with more stealth, speed, and skill than any of her pirates ever could.  

The Giveaway

cover-of-my-cousin-rachel1Today is what would have been Daphne du Maurier’s 102nd birthday! In honor of the author’s special day, Sourcebooks is providing a copy of Frenchman’s Creek and My Cousin Kate for me to give away!  If you live in the United States or Canada, enter to win both novels by leaving a comment here about your favorite escape. You can earn an extra entry by mentioning this giveaway via email, a blog post, or Twitter (just be sure to let me know so that you will get credit).  The contest is open until Tuesday, May 19 at 11:59PM EST. I’ll use List Randomizer to pick the lucky winner. Good luck.


To buy this novel, click here.

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  • At 2009.05.13 08:26, Melissa said:

    These sound awesome!

    • At 2009.05.13 08:41, Meghan said:

      I’ll take one of those pirates! 😉

      I also really liked this book. Even though I don’t personally have a thing for dangerous men, I could understand the pirate’s appeal to Dona. Even though her behavior is nothing like I’d ever imagine myself doing, it is very easy to feel for her in this book. Great review. =)

      (No need to enter me in the giveaway!)

      • At 2009.05.13 09:02, Amanda said:

        Great giveaway! I love this book but haven’t read it since high school. I’d have to say my favorite little escapes are obviously books and movies. But for bigger ones, long road trips/camping trips are my favorite. Just getting away from it all.

        • At 2009.05.13 10:34, Kimmy said:

          First of all, I must confess to my absolute obsession with Daphne Du Maurier! I am pretty convinced I’m her biggest fan! Rebecca is my favorite and the Hitchcock film (which I love) is what first introduced me to her as well. So obsessed am I, that I own 8 copies of Rebecca (the novel, though I do also have the film on DVD) Also, my email address reflects my obsession as well;-)

          I have not read Frenchman’s Creek yet, so I am VERY excited about this giveaway! Also, did you happen to mean My Cousin Rachel, not Kate?

          As for my favorite escape..on a small scale, it’s a trip to Barnes & Noble or diving into a good book at home. On a larger scale, vacations, pretty much anywhere make me happy;-)

          Thanks for the giveaway and please forgive my over-enthusiasm! Happy Birthday Daphne Du Maurier!

          Kimmy’s last blog post..Just Desserts

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          • At 2009.05.13 10:40, Kimmy said:

            I also just Twittered this giveaway.


            Kimmy’s last blog post..Just Desserts

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            • At 2009.05.13 10:57, Ti said:

              Thanks for posting this giveaway. FYI..there is a typo on the title for My Cousin Rachel as you called her Kate. LOL.

              I just bought myself another copy of Rebecca. I just love DDM’s writing.

              As for my escape…

              It’s sort of sad but when my son is rehearsing for the show I sit in the car, with my booklight and read my book. Here in Ca. the weather is so mild at night so I roll down the windows and all the scents of the blooming flowers fill the car and I just sit there in my little cave for 1.5 hours. Heaven.


              Ti’s last blog post..My Rock Star Daughter (Video)

              • At 2009.05.13 11:05, Kathy said:

                I knew you’d have a great review of this book. I’m with Meghan, both of those pirates look good to me. My favorite escape is definitely a good book!

                Kathy’s last blog post..Wondrous Words Wednesday

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                • At 2009.05.13 11:30, Literate Housewife said:

                  LOL about the typo! I finished this around midnight and didn’t feel like adding a screenshot of the cover at the time. Now I wish I did. I might have figured out that Kate is not Rachel – or is that the other way around? LOL!!!

                  Kimmy, I can definitely tell that you are a huge fan. Isn’t it wonderful that Sourcebooks is re-releasing these books again? I love their covers. They’re so good at that.

                  Amanda, where is your favorite place to camp? I love to do that, too.

                  All of your escapes sound wonderful. Ti, I wish I could sit with you in the car and read, too.

                  Meghan, I like my bad boys to at least appear to have better hygiene than pirates, but maybe that’s overrated. LOL!!!

                  Kathy, I do like Mr. Bloom and have the READ poster of him that I won from Chartroose hanging over my computer. He sure looks good clean shaven…

                  • At 2009.05.13 11:38, claire said:

                    I would love to read these! My favourite escape is a good book anywhere, especially at the beach. And browsing through bookstores. 😀

                    claire’s last blog post..Little Bee by Chris Cleave

                    • At 2009.05.13 13:10, Jessica said:

                      My favorite escape definitely involves sun, quiet, a comfortable chair, and lots of books.

                      I’ve love to win either of these books! Thanks.

                      Jessica’s last blog post..Book Awards III Challenge

                      • At 2009.05.13 13:42, bethany (dreadlock girl) said:

                        Hey! I have this on my shelf and cannot wait to read it- even more so after reading your review! Thanks 😉

                        Oh, but I am SO into pirates…and if you told my little boys that you aren’t really that into pirates they would probably hang you from the center mast of the pirate ship by your big toe! Ha, no. They would most likely want to keep pirates all to themselves.

                        PS. How could you not be into Orlando and Depp?? Oh goodness.

                        • At 2009.05.13 14:17, TammyD said:

                          My favorite escape is very simple. I love to spend time siitting on the beach soaking up the sun and enjoying the sound of the waves, birds and kids playing. It may not be as exciting as pirates, but is thoroughly enjoyable. Please enter me in the giveaway.

                          • At 2009.05.13 14:29, Word Lily said:

                            My favorite escape? I love escaping into spinning and knitting. Books work too. On a larger scale, getting out of town, even for just a brief time, can work wonders. Bigger than that? They’re mostly still dreams.

                            Word Lily’s last blog post..Words from my reading

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                            • At 2009.05.13 15:17, lilly said:

                              I have just discovered your blog via LT. I’m glad you liked The Frenchman’s Creek. I enjoyed it as well. The funny thing is this one was my first du Maurier novel, even though Rebecca is the most famous and I do have it on my TBR shelf. I’m enjoying scrolling through your blog and I’m glad I found it. 🙂

                              lilly’s last blog post..Happy Birthday Daphne! Giveaway

                              • At 2009.05.13 19:38, Holly said:

                                This looks great. Thanks for a great giveaway. My favorite escape is the beach. Although, now that I live so far away from it, I just curl up with a good book and lock my bedroom door! LOL.

                                Holly’s last blog post..A Lady of Hidden Intent

                                • At 2009.05.14 18:49, chartroose said:

                                  Count me in for the giveaway! Why couldn’t you have made the Depp/Bloom picture bigger?

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                                  • At 2009.05.14 21:16, Cheryl S. said:

                                    My favorite escape is a good book.

                                    Please count me in – Thanks!

                                    • At 2009.05.14 21:20, DianeG said:

                                      Mmmm…My favorite escape??? right now–any time I can spend a few minutes outside listening to the birds, river, ocean or wind!

                                      Hope all is well, Jennifer!

                                      • At 2009.05.14 22:35, Luvdaylilies@bellsouth.net said:

                                        My favorite escape is reading a great book while enjoying the perfect cup of coffee=)

                                        Please enter me in the giveaway, what a super prize!

                                        Luvdaylilies at bellsouth dot net

                                        • At 2009.05.15 13:38, Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said:

                                          My favorite escape is anything that gets me out of work for a day or two! Anytime I have some extra time to curl up with a book is great.

                                          Thanks for the great giveaway!

                                          Melissa – Shhh I’m Reading’s last blog post..Review: Dry by Augusten Burroughs

                                          • At 2009.05.15 21:07, Just Mom said:

                                            My favorite escape…why reading, of course! Reading while laying on the beach sans children is even better.

                                            Just Mom’s last blog post..The Firemaster’s Mistress by Christie Dickason

                                            • At 2009.05.16 09:24, Literate Housewife said:

                                              You pirate lovers (yes, that includes you, Chartroose) are crazy, crazy wenches. LOL!!!

                                              Lily, thanks so much for your nice comments. I’m heading your way next.

                                              What a fun contest. Good luck everyone. You’re going to love these books.

                                              Literate Housewife’s last blog post..#163 ~ The Story of a Marriage

                                              • At 2009.05.16 11:45, Carlene said:

                                                My favorite escape, is in my bedroom, reading. Please inlcude me in your giveaway.

                                                • At 2009.05.16 18:24, Indigo said:

                                                  I’ve heard great reviews about both these books and I’m looking forward to a chance to get to read them.

                                                  As for my favorite escape – any road trip along narrow, harrowing mountain passes off the well traveled path will do. I can’t think of anything that takes me away from it all, outside of reading that is.

                                                  Thanks for the opportunity! Indigo

                                                  Indigo’s last blog post..The Onion Girl

                                                  • At 2009.05.17 18:44, MJ said:

                                                    favorite escape…..I have 2

                                                    Charleston SC
                                                    MurrellsInlet SC

                                                    Thanks for the contest!


                                                    • At 2009.05.17 19:05, Ann said:

                                                      My absolute favorite escape is to crawl into bed at night with a book. I’m totally serious!

                                                      • At 2009.05.17 19:16, Beth said:

                                                        This looks really good! Please enter me!

                                                        My favorite escape is to a bathtub full of bubbles and a lovely book! I also love to escape to the shore and spend the day at the beach.

                                                        capers02 AT gmail DOT com

                                                        • At 2009.05.17 19:17, Beth said:

                                                          I tweeted about this!


                                                          capers02 AT gmail DOT com

                                                          • At 2009.05.17 19:31, Anita Yancey said:

                                                            My favorite escape is reading really great books, and having a cup of my favorite coffee.

                                                            • At 2009.05.17 21:15, nfmgirl said:

                                                              I have several escapes. Aside from books, I enjoy camping or just being out in nature. Sometimes we’ll go kayaking.

                                                              I’d love a shot at these books. Please count me in. Thank you!

                                                              nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

                                                              nfmgirl’s last blog post..Book Giveaways in Blogworld (05-15-09)

                                                              • At 2009.05.17 23:09, Jake L said:

                                                                Very cool giveaway. Like several of the above commenters, my favourite getaway is reading.


                                                                • At 2009.05.18 03:46, Elizabeth said:

                                                                  My favorite escape from reality is going to the beach and just staring at the ocean. While it’s only a temporary fix, it does the trick.


                                                                  Elizabeth’s last blog post..Winner: The Ruins of California by Martha Sherrill

                                                                  • At 2009.05.18 09:37, Becca said:

                                                                    I have liked the du Maurier books I’ve read so I would love to read these as well. As for my favorite escape it would have to be those old ’50s or ’60s horror films with giant bugs or people in bad rubber suits. They are never actually scary at all but they are a lot of fun.

                                                                    Becca’s last blog post..Feel the Burn

                                                                    • At 2009.05.18 13:15, Marie said:

                                                                      The book looks wonderful, I would love to read it! My favorite escape is a small one since we can’t afford to go anywhere 🙂 I curl up on the couch with a good book and snack and enjoy some quiet time after the kids are asleep!

                                                                      • At 2009.05.18 13:36, scottsgal said:

                                                                        My favorite escape is travel – we love to cruise and go a couple times a year – those escapes tide me over til the next vacation – travel is a total escape for me and my family.

                                                                        • At 2009.05.19 13:50, gaby317 said:

                                                                          My favorite escape is a wonderful book with a cup of coffee, and maybe a little sweet (though I’m training myself to avoid them), by the beach.

                                                                          another favorite escape is just walking the brooklyn botanical gardens, with a book to sit at a nice spot!

                                                                          that would be such a wonderful few hours!

                                                                          gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

                                                                          gaby317’s last blog post..Brief Update: Books won and received!

                                                                          • At 2009.05.21 13:19, Chris said:

                                                                            My favorite escape…hmmm…

                                                                            When I’m having a bad day, I escape to the places I read in books, so I always curl up with a good book.

                                                                            In real life, my favorite escape was traveling to Portugal. Despite all the things that went wrong, it was one of the best trips of my life. It helped me figure out what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it.

                                                                            I also like walking to the park during lunch to read for a minor escape from work.

                                                                            • […] enjoying Frenchman’s Creek so much, I was a little concerned about how I would feel about My Cousin Rachel.  I didn’t […]

                                                                              • At 2012.01.09 19:22, June’s Bookmark ~ Bookmark It! Club said:

                                                                                […] by Sandra Novack The Story of a Marriage by Andrew Sean Greer Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier Coventry by Helen Humphreys Laws of Harmony by Judith Ryan Hendricks The […]

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