Daphne: A Novel by Justine Picardie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Fascinating look into the author DuMaurier of Rebecca fame and her quest to discover the unwritten tale of Branwell Bronte, brother of the more celebrated group of sister writers.
Her research prompts her to take up correspondence with Mr. Symington, former head of the Bronte library and also a lover of Branwell and the unknown. Unfortunately, Mr. Symington is so ardent in his quest for all things Bronte, that he is accused of stealing some of the documents and is dismissed from his position. Daphne knows none of this history and buys a number of Bronte documents from him.
A secondary storyline is of a modern day researcher of DuMauier and her life at Menebilly. Her recent marriage to a much older scholar is not going well and his take on her DuMaurier interest is a sore spot.
Underlying it all is DuMauriers' distress at her inner demons as well as those that inhabit her marriage in the form of her husbands' affair.
Daphnes close relationship with her cousin Peter is also important to her and his tragic life cause her great grief.
Although she does complete the novel on Branwell, it is rather anti-climactic, as he does not reveal himself to be much of a writer or a man.
Although fiction, this story is based on truth and the author has researched the DuMaurier archives to bring a credible voice to the book. It is an excellent look into the life of a beloved author.
View all my reviews