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Mary Anne: A Novel by Daphne,Dame Du Maurier

  • Author: Daphne,Dame Du Maurier
  • Book title: Mary Anne: A Novel
  • Category: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
  • Subcategory: Mystery
  • Publisher: Linnaean Press; First Edition edition (June 1, 1954)
  • Pages: 351
  • ISBN: 0837604117
  • ISBN13: 978-0837604114
  • Rating: 4.5
  • Votes: 912
  • Other formats: docx azw lrf lrf
A reconstruction of the life of Daphne du Maurier's great-great grandmother, Mary Anne Clarke.

7 Reviews
There was nothing wrong with the book itself. I loved the plot, the characters, the pacing, and especially Mary Anne. The writing had all the subtlety of Daphne du Maurier at her best. However, this particular edition of the book was poorly proofread. There were missing quotation marks everywhere, one or two random paragraphs in the middle of dialogue, and quite a few misspellings. Most notable was "fainting on velvet" (painting on velvet). Some might be able to ignore the typos. I couldn't.

I would definitely buy this book again...but not from this publisher. Look for a different cover.
energy breath
Historical novel based on the life of the author's 2nd great grandmother. The title character is a mystery. Cheap hussy or woman striving to provide for her family. Hard worker or schemer and user? The Book is a fascinating read. Published in 1954. Dedicated to the real Mary Anne and also Gertrude Lawrence.
As ever with du Maurier, ease of phrase and elegant invention of metaphor are coupled with a master story-teller's weaving of interest and suspense. It is a pleasure to discover du Maurier's lesser known works (lesser known to our time, but not in hers) and to read literately crafted tales of intrigue, nuance and mystery rather than the generally inept and often ungrammatical writing of today. For Mary Anne one suspects that du Maurier reached into history, as she often does, to call forth elements of her story, but she does not fall into the genre of the historical novel: it's a good story and good entertainment.
Copyright 1954. I would classify this as an extremely intense psychological novel. It is one woman's labyrinth of getting from where she's been to where she believes she wants to be. She is strong-willed, has indomitable intent, and immense energy to go out and do it. Everything is a means to an end; the end is always justified; she just does it. Some of her means are: pretending for real, marrying a rich man, duping men, sexual favors, being kept by His Royal Highness, gifts for promotion, gifts for political action, or publishing for revenge.
I love Mercedes
The Napoleonic era was not easy for the people in England, especially for women like Mary Anne Clarke. In the 1790s, Mary Anne is a teenager with the intelligence and wit that men twice her age lack. And it is through this sharpness that she survives many downward spirals, including her stepfather's abandonment, which threatens survival for her and her family. She suggests offering lodgings to earn extra money, something that leads to her future problems, for she meets Joseph Clarke -- a young, handsome man from a rich family, or so he claims. Mary Anne fancies herself in love with him, and does everything in her power to secure a marriage with him. It is only after they marry and have children that she realizes her mistake. Joseph's father has washed his hands off him, leaving him at his brother's mercy. He goes downhill with drink and laziness. Fed up, Mary Anne leaves him and tries her luck as a courtesan. There she meets the Duke of York, a prince and commander-in-chief. He gives her a life that, to all appearances, is full of luxury and comfort. The truth is that she can barely make it with one thousand pounds a year. In order to make extra money, she uses her newfound influence on the duke to help army men get promotions, pay raises and whatnot. She becomes a middleman of sorts. But this newfound status doesn't last. Her husband makes sure of that. The duke seems to have his eyes set on other pursuits anyway. Mary Anne is left abandoned and humiliated. What is she to do now? One thing is certain: the sharp and cunning anti-heroine will not keep her arms crossed. She has never been idle when it comes to making things happen, and she definitely won't be idle now.

Daphne du Maurier had quite a fascinating family history. The daughter of an actor and granddaughter of a respected writer, she is also a descendant of Mary Anne Clarke. And she has penned a fascinating fictional take on her great-great-grandmother. Like in her other novels, feminism plays a major role in the story. Mrs. Clarke is depicted as a woman long before her time, someone who rebels against the conformities and prejudices set against women. She is who she is and makes no apologies. She even uses her feminine charms to her favor from a very early age. (Notice her subtle but determined flirtation when talking to Mr. Day.) This is yet another wonderful effort by this great writer. This isn't one of my favorites -- Rebecca and The House on the Strand still hold first place -- but it's definitely on top of my list. If you've never read anything by Du Maurier beyond Rebecca, then what are you waiting for? You won't regret taking the plunge.
She never fails to surprise me with her seemingly many different directions as far as plots go in her books. After reading Rebecca in high school, 40 years later I have "discovered" her many other novels. Some with REALLY surprising plots twits like The House on the Strand. and I have so enjoyed reading many more of them.
This is not du Maurier's best novel. She alters her writing style so it is choppy and somewhat hard to follow. But,all in all, it was worth reading, especially since it is based on the story of her great-grandmother
I became interested in this book after reading du Maurier's earlier works, "Rebecca" and "My Cousin Rachel". This book differs in the sense that there is not the whole murder mystery aura overriding the story. However, it is just as riveting because of du Maurier's excellent affinity for creating compelling yet restrictive dialogue between characters. The entire book seems to be a well-played game between two societal camps at war with each other, and this is reflected even at the level of polite banter among the characters. The fact that this fiction is based on a very real relative of du Maurier's makes the story even more attractive. This book provides numerous hedonistic pleasures from its veiled references to sex to its focus on scandal and exploitative trends in society. To be more explicit, if you like to pick up the occasional tabloid in the grocery store for some unknown reason, you will feel a very rich reward along those lines when reading "Mary Anne". Though fiction, it's stunningly exact in details and makes one wonder about du Maurier's own personal experiences w/the aristrocratic society of early 20th Century England.
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