Sunday, 17 November 2013

Book Review: The Loving Spirit - Daphne du Maurier

Synopsis - Cornwall, 1900s.  Plyn Boat yard is a hive of activity, and Janet Coombe longs to share in the excitement of seafaring: to travel, to have adventures, to know freedom.  But constrained by times, instead she marries her cousin, a boat builder, and settles down to raise a family.

Janet's loving spirit - the passionate yearning for adventure and for love - is passed down to her son, and through him to his children's children.  As generations of the family struggle against hardship and loss, their intricately plotted history is set against the greater backdrop of war and social change in Britain.

Review - This wonderful début novel from Dapne du Maurier, written in 1929 and first published in 1931, puts her on the map amongst the greatest of British writers.  This story is set in du Maurier's beloved Cornwall, not far south from Plymouth.  A story which spans generations of one particular family.

What I love about this author's novels are the settings, the descriptions which always evoke visualisation for me.  I could see Janet Coombe standing on the clifftop, I could see her son Joseph commanding his schooner, his brothers running the boatyard and the mean, dispirited younger brother Philip Coombe dishing out his malice.  Without giving away too much detail and posting spoilers, I won't divulge anymore.  However, we are given the history of the Coombe's from Janet as a young maid about to marry through to her great granddaughter, Jennifer.  As the story unfolds, we get to know the strong, longing for the sea that runs through the generations.  I picked this copy up in the library sale for 20 pence, it was the first time I had heard of this book written by du Maurier.  Not one of the well known novels such as Rebecca, Frenchman's Creek and Jamaica Inn, but well worth reading, particularly for fans of this author.  4*

ISBN 1-84408-093-5

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