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Review: House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier

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My Interest

I had three good reasons for picking this book.

  1. Daphne Du Maurier Reading Week,  May 11–17, 2020
  2. I’m reading DuMaurier’s full list of books
  3. This had a new drug–reminding me of the search for a COVID vax today

 

The Story

 

“The trouble is that day-dreams, like hallucinogenic drugs, become addictive; the more we indulge, the deeper we plunge….”

 

Dick has just left his publishing job and is at a loose-end. His best friend from clear back to their boarding school days is a Professor and has discovered a new drug. Will Dick try it out? His good buddy also loans him his house in Cornwall for the family vacation. Dick goes down alone before the stepsons get out of boarding school for the summer and while the wife is still away in the States. He takes the drug and discovers he can travel back in time in the same geographical location.

Best of all, it has a deliciously Du Maurier ending!

My Thoughts

Time travel is not usually my thing. I got through Outlander, but that’s about it. However, this being a Du Maurier book was done right. It wasn’t hokey. I enjoyed the time travel sections of the book a lot.

It was the  1960s part of the story that gave me pause. Had I not known who the author was, I’d have thought this was written by a man. In today’s terms, was Daphne Du Maurier a misogynist? Or did she just do a brilliant job of writing the character of a man over the romantic portion of his marriage?

“She had a new hairdo, more wave in it, or something; it looked all right but made her face too full.”

“Vita was a moderate drinker as a general rule, but when she had had one too many I found her embarrassing. Her voice took on a strident tone, or alternatively turned silky sweet.”

“The towel, wrapped turban-fashion around her head, and the mask of [cold] cream gave her a clown-like appearance, and suddenly I felt revolted by this puppet world in which I found myself, and desired no part of it, not now, nor tomorrow, nor at any time. I wanted to vomit…I went through the bathroom to the dressing room and she followed me, they silly shift she wore in bed flouncing round her knees, grotesquely ill-suited to the turban; and it struck me for the first time that the varnish on her fingernails made her hands look like claws.”

See what I mean? I’ll give you a woman with cold cream on her face and a towel around her head isn’t a picture of beauty. Still.

I also passed on the bizarre introduction to this edition which, when I briefly scanned it, mentioned three meanings for “Dick”–the man’s name. Oy!

My Verdict

This was a “good” book. Du Maurier tended to write “great” books. Two of hers rate a full 5 stars on my scale. I almost never rate a book that high.

4.0

 

House on the Strand by Daphne Du Maurier

 

I read this for Daphne Du Maurier Reading Week,  May 11–17, 2020, but got distracted and finished too late!

 

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10 thoughts on “Review: House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier

  1. I’ve been wanting to read this! Great review. Which two Du Maurier books get your 5 star rating? The only book of hers I’ve read so far is Rebecca, but I’m planning to read more!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review! I agree with you that the time travel sections were well done. I am looking forward to working my way through the rest of DDM’s books – I’ll definitely give The King’s General a look soon! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A great review – spot on. I enjoyed this read for it provided a new perspective on a writer’s life. I am going to go back to reread Rebecca and see if my thoughts have changed over the years.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t know how I missed this the first time around. I guess I thought the husband’s comments on his wife kind of showed how selfish he was and that to me was a theme of the book – lots of selfish single-minded people intersecting. And how that works out, eventually. I did some thinking about what era I’d like to be tossed back to in my most recent reading of this book (came to no conclusions).

    Like

      1. I’m still thinking about it. I get caught up in things like, what are the bathrooms (if any) like, or how it would feel to have to wear a great big giant dress of dozens of yards of fabric just hanging on me?

        Liked by 1 person

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