An Unforgettable Book Gift: Frenchman’s Creek
I received a copy of Frenchman’s Creek, by Daphne du Maurier, for Christmas, when I was eighteen years old. It was my very first introduction to her work, and I was instantly hooked. She is now my favourite author and that dates back to that Christmas. She is also a huge inspiration to me as a writer and my fantasy is to be able to write like her.
The book is set in Cornwall – you can’t go wrong there of course, I now live in Cornwall – and also set in my favourite historical time period, the late seventeenth century. The time of beautiful dresses, horses, carriages and pirates. Pirates who hide in secret Cornish coves. Beautiful but bored young ladies, disillusioned with their lives.
As soon as I started reading I was caught up in Dona’s life. As a teenager I totally understood her reluctance to toe the line, her desire to escape from the confines of her life in London and her rather outrageous behaviour. Her need for something new, something different, something dangerous. And she found all three at her secluded country retreat on a Cornish creek.
Staying there with just her two small children, a nanny, and a rather unusual butler, Dona begins her escape by just enjoying the Cornish weather, picnicking with the children and generally doing the things she couldn’t do in London. She avoids contact with the local gentry, who are keen to pull her into their claustrophobic round of dainty tea parties, and takes long walks on her own.
On one of these walks she spies a lone ship sailing towards the coastline, and finds herself wondering about its captain and its destination. She also discovers a book of poetry in her bedside cabinet, inscribed with a name she doesn’t recognise, and this leads her to wonder who it belonged to.
The untangling of these mysteries lead Dona to an adventure she could not have dreamt of, and a love so strong only one other thing outweighs it.
This is a book that I would highly recommend to anyone seeking pure, romantic escapism.
I was born in Essex, brought up in Hampshire, and then lived on the Isle of Mull for fourteen years, during which time I met and married my husband David, and had two children. In late 2000 when my son was a baby, the family moved to Cornwall where we have lived ever since. I began writing stories at the age of seven, and have been obsessed with writing ever since.
My debut novel, Storm Rising, is the first in the NightHawk Series, closely followed by Rhythm of Deceit, Cobwebs in the Dark and The Girl in the Painting. I signed a publishing contract with the Wild Rose Press in 2014 for the whole series and all four books are now all available in both e-book and paperback format.
In May of 2017 my first standalone romantic comedy, Breaking All The Rules, was published by the Wild Rose Press and a second standalone romcom, Practising for Christmas, came out in November 2018.
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About Vanessa Westermann
Vanessa is a Canadian crime writer. She is the author of Cover Art and other books. At the heart of all of her stories are strong female protagonists.