Frenchman’s Creek is the third book I read of Daphne du Maurier following My Cousin Rachel and Rebecca . And naturally, I expected a mystery. But I was really surprised to find that Frenchman’s Creek is an adventure story.
Du Maurier presents us with a female protagonist as unlike any other so far I have come across her books. Dona St. Columb is a wild and reckless woman whose spirit seeks action and adventure. Her mundane aristocratic life which is wasted in idle occupation does not suit her well. She seeks to escape and arrive at her family estate in Helston and there meets Jean-Benoit Aubery, a French pirate. He quenches her thirst for adventure and in the process, she learns what it means truly to be in love.
Frenchman’s Creek is an adventure story as well as a beautiful love story. Dona St. Columb is not a likable character in the beginning. But soon this Dona takes a different shape of a woman. The newfound freedom from the senseless life she was so far lived brings out her true self. In the French pirate she meets, she finds a soul mate who equals her thirst for adventure; with him, she finds love, happiness, and true contentment in life and learns what is important in life. I really liked the character development of Dona St. Columb. With her, Du Maurier has created a loving female protagonist, and certainly the best I have come in a Du Maurier book so far.
I liked both parts of the story; the adventure and the romance. The adventure is well written and it was a thrilling read. The romance is beautiful. It is mature and fulfilling; both parties are respectful and honourable. I loved the ending where the author part the lovers physically but unites them spiritually. Dona being duty-bound to her children had to give up his lover physically but their souls are forever united. It was one of the sweetest endings that I have read quite a while in a book. It simply warmed my heart.
Du Maurier’s writing here is remarkable. There are two colours and tones with which she writes the adventure and the romance. The adventure part consists of bold and daring writing which keeps the reader in suspense and the romance is written with a tenderness that warms the reader’s heart. It is an amazing mix and was extremely pleasing.
Frenchman’s Creek is such a beautiful book and it really surprises me why this book has received less attention. It is a book worth recognition. To me personally, it is the best of Du Maurier that I have read so far.