by Daphne du Maurier
The Restoration Court knows Lady Dona St Columb to be ripe for any folly, any outrage that will relieve the tedium of her days. But there is another, secret Dona who longs for a life of honest love - and sweetness, even if it is spiced with danger. Dona flees London for remote Navron, looking for peace of mind in its solitary woods and hidden creeks. She finds there the passion her spirit craves - in the love of a daring pirate hunted across Cornwall, a Frenchman who, like Dona, would gamble his life for a moment's joy.
In 2014 I finally ticked Daphne du Maurier off the list of authors I desperately needed to read when Frenchman's Creek helped me to recover from a post-MA reading slump. I hadn't realised at the time just how desperately I needed a fun adventure story, and how badly I needed the comfort of historical fiction, one of my favourite genres.
I'd wanted to read Frenchman's Creek for a while; when it comes to historical fiction I love stories set during the 16th and 17th centuries, and a setting like Cornwall, where a lot of du Maurier's stories take place, added that extra bit of something to this premise. There's something mystical about Cornwall that makes any story just a little more enchanting than it was before.
During the reign of Charles II, Lady Dona St Columb, adventurous, flirtacious and bored, takes her children and their maid to her husband's estate in Navron. Fed up and somewhat ashamed of both her life and her husband, Dona spends some blissful days with her children in the comforting isolation of her husband's estate. That is until she stumbles across a French pirate who has been plundering the Cornish coast.
Frenchman's Creek isn't just a piece of historical romance, it's a fun, absorbing adventure story that sucks you in from start to finish. Initially I worried that Dona was going to irritate me, but she quickly grew on me, and I loved the chemistry between her and Jean-Benoit.
As is to be expected, du Maurier's writing style was lovely throughout. She had a wonderful talent for both writing beautifully and writing in such a way that her novels aren't an effort to read. Her stories are so easy to fall into, and I can't wait to read more of her historical fiction.
Basically I loved this book, and whether you're completely new to Daphne du Maurier's work or you've read her stories before I recommend giving Frenchman's Creek a try!