Piracy in Restoration England

After much wringing of hand and utter confusion and mental distress, I plodded forth to read Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne Du Maurier as part of my Reading England project, focusing on Cornwall. As many are already aware, I had no patience with Rebecca and completely lost my sanity with Jamaica Inn, why then would I venture to another Du Maurier? What can I say, except I was hoping for third time lucky??!! Not the best logic, but considering there is a huge reading population that swear by Du Maurier, I really really wanted to give her another chance before I shut the door completely, hence the Frenchman’s Creek adventure.

The book is set in Restoration England, and at the very onset, we are introduced to Dona, Lady St. Columb, who has made a hasty departure from the decadent London Court of Charles II and is heading for her husband’s Cornish country estate of Navron with her children. Dona who has been married for six years, has adapted to the life of Charles II court of being vacuousness and frivolity without really ever belonging to it. After an attempted practical joke on a old Countess, that jars Dona to reality, she heads to Navron, seeking peace and trying to find her true self, away from the bustle of London and her clumsy husband Harry. In Navron, she soon discovers, that the county has been pillaged  by attacks from a French pirate and Dona soon learns that Navron which overlooks the creek that flows into the ocean is used by the French pirate as a hideaway. Her exploration of the creek soon brings her in contact with the great Pirate himself and Dona seeking adventure, soon becoming friends and then falls in love with him. She finally agrees to go on piracy expedition with him against one of her neighbor’s vessels. The attack is a success and Dona promises to return to the pirate after she has met her children; however once she is back in Navron, she discovers that Harry and his detestable friend, Rockingham are back with some serious designs of harming the pirate and Dona has very little time to decide on actions that will determine the pirate’s as well as her fate!

Restoration England, Cornwall and Pirates, how bad can the book be? Guess again! It was TERRIBLE! No third time lucky for me. The characters are all ridiculous and unbelievable.Lets start with Dona, she is beautiful and she is bold. That’s the beginning and end of her. She married a man of her choice and them she found him clumsy, though through the novel I could figure out that Harry, albeit clumsy was devoted to Dona. She finds the life of London shallow., after indulging in all manners of shenanigans for six years. She finds Rockingham impertinent, after she allowed him to flirt with her and kiss her. I mean this woman does everything she wants, without thought or deliberation and when the results are not to her liking, she claims boredom and dissatisfaction. The way she treats Harry is disgraceful; she orders him about, never giving him any explanation of her conduct, behaving in a illogical autocratic manner through the novel. In my opinion, Harry should have left her to begin with. Then we have our Frenchman, who is a rich, aristocrat who indulges in  Piracy because of boredom. Arrrrgggghhhh! What is it with this boredom??? Is there no better way to kill it than doing something criminal.The justification Ms. Maurier is quick to point out is that the Frenchman only robbed the rich. I may have lost my common sense here, but being rich is not a crime for which you have to pay through the actions of a Robin Hoodsque character. However stealing last I checked was a crime, regardless whom you steel from! The remaining cast and crew are nothing to write about, there is the cliched loyal servant and the classic evil villain and the goofy nobleman. At least in Jamaica Inn, there was some brilliant and torrid description of the land and climate, that set the stage for the adventure; the language in this book is just placid; it hardly changes or moves, except for one reddening storm, which came and went! There is no originality in the plot nor is there any real thrill and  I kept going simply because I wanted to finish what I had started, as a form a self torture for picking up another Du Maurier.

I know I have sworn this before, but I am truly never ever reading any Du Maurier again! She is completely unbearable. A complete waste of time!

P.S. As I look back on my review of Jamaica Inn, O had warned me that this was a bad book and I had said I would not even venture near it and then I clean FORGOT!! Next time as an act of kindness if you see me attempting another Du Maurier, just point me towards Jamaica Inn review and then this one!


10 thoughts on “Piracy in Restoration England

  1. Well, what a coincidence… I am reading “Don’t Look Now and Other Stories” by the same author and quite like it so far (about halfway through the book). The stories are creepy.
    Sorry to hear this one has been such a disappointment. I’m going to have to read it just to see if it was that bad. Funny how things are, negative reviews don’t always make me want to skip reading the book. Oh, and I have “My Cousin Rachel” on my shelf as well.

    1. Stefanie! Thank You for trying to make me feel better! 🙂 Yes, I have the consolation to know that I will never read her again and I tried being fair to her!!

  2. I’m not going to say anything, other than you have my condolences. After your reviews, I really don’t think I can give her another try, or perhaps saying that it would be a waste of time to give her another try, would be more accurate.

    Have you ever read “The Scarlet Pimpernel”? That’s how I always expected du Maurier’s books to read ….. not high literature and sometimes belief is strained but at least it’s a good romp and fun to read. Sadly I’ve found her torturous and Rebecca is the worst “classic” that I’ve ever read ….. well, perhaps it ties with “The Catcher in the Rye”. So no more du Maurier! Onwards and upwards (from the dregs …) 😉 !

    1. To begin with Thank You! I know you are dying to say I-TOLD-YOU-SO! but have not! There is nothing like Scarlet Pimpernel in her book…I am all for good fun romping read, but her books are no fun and there is no sense of goodness! Don’t get me started on Rebecca. No more! Never again! Ah! Well! Am already swinging upwards…loving Zola’s The Fortune of Rougons!

      1. Yay, Zola! If you start to read the series, keep in mind there are two orders: the published order and Zola’s own recommended reading order. I’m reading the latter so I’m not sure how the two compare, but you might want to check it out.

      2. Hey …thanks for the update…I think i will go with Zola’s order, considering he wrote the books and he probably knew what should come before what!

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