Title: Manderley Forever
Author: Tatiana de Rosnay
Translator: Sam Taylor
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Hardcover: 448 pages
Source: Goodreads FirstReads
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)
As a bilingual bestselling novelist with a mixed Franco-British bloodline and a host of eminent forebears, Tatiana de Rosnay is the perfect candidate to write a biography of Daphne du Maurier. As an eleven-year-old de Rosnay read and reread Rebecca, becoming a lifelong devotee of Du Maurier’s fiction. Now de Rosnay pays homage to the writer who influenced her so deeply, following Du Maurier from a shy seven-year-old, a rebellious sixteen-year-old, a twenty-something newlywed, and finally a cantankerous old lady. With a rhythm and intimacy to its prose characteristic of all de Rosnay’s works, Manderley Forever is a vividly compelling portrait and celebration of an intriguing, hugely popular and (at the time) critically underrated writer.
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Goodreads FirstReads in exchange for an honest review.*
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
I didn’t know a ton about Daphne du Maurier, but I absolutely love Rebecca and have been planning to read more of her works for a while now. I was thrilled when I won a copy of her biography on Goodreads, because I love learning more about authors’ lives and getting a sense of how their books were created. Manderley Forever does not disappoint. It’s clear that Tatiana de Rosnay loves du Maurier, and she treats this biography with a large amount of respect, very much making this biography a sort of homage to Daphne du Maurier.
Before each section of the biography, Tatiana de Rosnay follows in Daphne’s footsteps and brings us back to the present, describing the places where Daphne used to live as we can now see them today, and then she moves right along to Daphne’s story. This is one of my favorite parts of this biography; I love that de Rosnay took the time to visit France and Cornwall and describes how they look now to us. I felt like I was right there with her, viewing the places where Daphne used to live, nostalgically wondering how she must have seen and viewed them. It’s not a typical thing to include in a biography, but it’s an absolutely wonderful addition.
The biography itself is told from Daphne’s perspective in present tense, which lends a sense of immediacy and intimacy to the narrative. Rather than being told dry facts and dates, de Rosnay tells a story, borrowing heavily from Daphne’s journal to recreate thoughts and conversations, and allows the reader to be right there with Daphne as she hides from the crowd of people at her parents’ parties and travels to France for the first time. It was exciting to learn more about this author, how she thought, and who she considered to be friends. I had no idea she was so well connected in the literary and social world, though I should have suspected, given that women at this time had limited means to become prolific novelists.
Overall, this is an enchanting biography that includes all of the fun, exciting parts about meeting and getting to know a person better. Tatiana de Rosnay’s melding of research and story is masterful; I didn’t feel as though I were reading a biography, but rather as though I were meeting a new friend. I highly recommend this book to all fans of biographies, and most especially for those who want to learn more about the author of Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel.