Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
This is my third du Maurier read (Rebecca, The Frenchman's Creek), not counting short stories, and I think it's just a tiny fraction of a star behind Rebecca, which is high praise.
This is a gigantic book and, really, it's unbalanced. It drags on and on then has fits and starts of action, and it skips around from maybe Gothic to maybe historical fiction to maybe romance and never really decides what it wants to be. By all rights, I should have hated this book.
Except, I loved it. I was enthralled by du Maurier's writing and her characters. Even though most of the characters weren't particularly likable, I couldn't help getting invested in their stories.
Dick is disgustingly weak. Gartred is evil. Richard is probably the worst romantic hero in the world, mostly because he's absolutely detestable as a person even though he is kind to Honor. Honor, at least, is likable, even if I did disagree with a lot of her decisions. I felt at the edge of my seat and the tense character interactions served as the main source of action.
The skips from one style to another also helped keep my interest. The gothic-esque parts were typically du Maurier-chilling, the historical fiction parts (particularly the occupation) were perfectly infuriating in all the right ways, and the simmering hatred between Honor and Gartred was top notch.
It's a strange book, but definitely one that held my attention and lingers with me still. I'm also solidly convinced that Daphne du Maurier is one of my favorite writers.