Linda W. (Summit, NJ)
I thoroughly enjoyed Rosnay's biography of Daphne Du Maurier, one of my favorite authors when I was younger. I knew nothing about Du Maurier's family of her life story and found this account fascinating, especially her love of houses. This recurring theme provides a look behind the writing style of Du Maurier's most recongnizable novels with their historical settings and detailed, emotional descriptions of the homes where all of the starring characters are located.
It was also quite engaging to read about Du Maurier's passionate, but on again, off again relationships with women and men. Rosnay hints at a bisexual orientation that would have been scandalous in the English caste society, but Du Maurier's ambivalent nature travelled between sophisticated Parisian culture and the Cornwall coast with reluctant sojournes in London. She is pictured as living as self-centered, indulgent life that revolved around her need for freedom in movement, nature and intellectual pursuits. A very good read for a frosty, wintery day.
I had trouble getting used to the writing style (third person, present tense), but once I did, I found myself enjoying "Manderley Forever" much more than I initially thought I would. I didn't know much about Daphne du Maurier's life to begin with, so I was very much a blank slate. I now have a much deeper appreciation for her novels, and can't wait to read more of them!
Elise B. (Macedonia, OH)
I have been intrigued with Daphne Du Maurier for years as several of my favorite authors have name her as one of their biggest writing influences. What a fascinating woman! Tatiana de Rosnay does an excellent job writing this biography as if Daphne du Maurier is actually doing the narrating. Although the biography is a factual account of du Maurier's life, it reads as a novel. I would recommend this book to anybody interested in Daphne du Maurier and/or her many novels and short stories, the process/inspiration of creative writing, strong women, and LGBT issues. I am looking forward to reading many of du Maurier's novels, especially My Cousin Rachel, before the remake of the movie is released this July, 2017
Deborah M. (Auburn Hills, MI)
So much More Than Rebecca
I really liked this book. I have always been intrigued by Daphne du Maurier and the book Rebecca and the Birds, even though I had never read that book. I believe I will now as it's very interesting how many of her books and short stories were made into movie but then were almost unrecognizable to her. The story reads so clearly and friendly, also like a fiction story instead of a very concise biography of an author who really didn't get the respect she deserved. I believe I will also look into Sarah's Key by de Rosnay. I enjoyed her style.
Ann B. (Kernville, CA)
A must-read for DuMaurier fans and those who enjoy biographies that read like novels
With Manderley Forever, novelist Tatiana de Rosnay has hit two birds with one stone in terms of my reading affinities. First, as a writer of creative nonfiction, I am a huge fan of using fictional technique in nonfiction. I very much enjoyed de Rosnay's novelistic tone and present tense POV to make us feel as if we were in scene with DuMaurier. I am also a huge fan of Daphne DuMaurier, having read most of DuMaurier's novels, with particular faves being The House on the Strand, Jamaica Inn, and Rebecca. In fact, I have read and reread Rebecca and watched and rewatched Hitchcock's film of the book. I enjoyed how de Rosnay wove the inspiration and development of DuMaurier's novels and books into her biography.
Joan N. (Evanston, IL)
Reads Like a Novel
Manderley Forever, a biography of Daphne Du Maurier (1907-1989) was written by bestselling novelist Tatiana de Rosnay (Sarah's Key, among others). In her introduction de Rosnay writes "This book reads like a novel, but I did not invent any of it." It's true, it reads like a novel and is a most enjoyable read. I disagree, however, with the second part of her sentence. There are times when she recounts the thoughts of du Maurier, even on her deathbed, when I don't think it's possible that she could know them. That, and the almost fairytale life du Maurier leads until after World War II seem to me more like a novel, i.e., fiction, than biography. As a biography, it seems a bit rosy and superficial. Given that, it's a well-written novel about a writer whose fiction, like de Rosnay's, is compelling to read and enjoy.
Barbara Z. (Cherry Hill, NJ)
I requested to review "Manderley Forever" because I have read two of Tatiana de Rosnay's books, but I have never read any du Maurier books, but was aware that several were NY Times bestsellers and movies. I was not aware that one of du Maurier's short stories was the basis for the Hitchcock movie 'The Birds'.
I was positively surprised by the book. The majority of the book reads like a novel, but with great detail about Daphne's childhood, relationships, influences on each of her books, famous author grandfather, famous actor father and other relatives. I found her husband's career ascension equally fascinating.
It's obvious that de Rosnay is passionate about du Maurier's life and writing, but I suspect also some similarities in ancestry (Anglo-French), and each having a book that with commercial success that overshadows all other published works by each author.
The book leaves questions about the psyche of du Maurier, as well as same sex and other relationships. Yet, in the end Daphne du Maurier had three wonderful children and a 33 year marriage that began with great passion and mutual admiration. And, close relationships with her two sisters, one who also had more than a dozen published books.
As a result of reading this book, I may decide to selectively read some of Daphne's books and watch the film versions, but I don't know that her stories appeal to me, but this biography does. I think this book would appeal to Bookclubs.