Castle Dor by Daphne du Maurier

This book was started by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch but he died before he could complete it. Years later his daughter asked Daphne du Maurier to complete it, he had set it aside near the end of a chapter about half-way through. Du Maurier had met ‘Q’ when she was a child and thought she would be able to recapture something of his mood.

The lovers in this case are Amyot, a French onion seller who had been abused by the master of the ship that he been working on, and Linnet who is a young girl who has recently married a man much older than she is. It’s set in the 1860s.

This book wasn’t a great success for me, I usually particularly enjoy du Maurier’s books which have a Cornish setting but this one is just a retelling of the legend of Tristan and Iseult, or Isolde if you prefer. If you’re into that sort of thing then this might just be the book for you, but it’s certainly no Rebecca.

I’m hoping to work my way through all Daphne du Maurier’s books eventually and this one was on my 2011 Reading List but I don’t think that it’s a book which du Maurier herself would have chosen to start writing. I hadn’t read anything by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch before this. Has anybody read his books?

10 thoughts on “Castle Dor by Daphne du Maurier

    • Anbolyn,
      I thought it was fairly obvious that the style changed to a more modern, less formal type of writing, it struck me at page 82, I think. According to the introduction by Nina Bawden ‘Q’ had written half of it but at page 92 Book 2 begins and I think that is obviously du Maurier. She must just have had to finish off a few pages of what is called Book 1. There are 274 pages altogether.

  1. I have heard of the book, but did not realise that this was the case regarding the ownership of it.

    Like you I would like to read more Daphne!

    • Jo,
      My copy of Castle Dor is a Virago and the front cover just has Daphne du Maurier on it. Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch comes first on the inside title page but I think he should have been on the cover too. I only have Julius and Hungry Hill waiting to be read now although I still have a few to track down.

  2. My reaction to Castle d’Or was the same as yours. I think Daphne du Maurier struggled to complete the book. I haven’t read anything else by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, but I’d like to.

    Looking at the list of Du Maurier’s books I realised that there are quite a few I still haven’t read, including Julius, Hungry Hill, I’ll Never Be Young Again, The Glass-blowers and My Cousin Rachel.

    • Margaret,
      I haven’t read anything else by ‘Q’ either. I used to see a lot of his books years ago in the good old days of lots of second-hand bookshops, but not now. According to Wiki he finished off a R.L. Stevenson book called St Ives but I haven’t read that one.

      I haven’t read The Glassblowers but I read My Cousin Rachel yonks ago and I’ll Never Be young Again fairly recently. It’s a book of short stories.

  3. Thanks for the heads up! I have a lot of DDM’s books on my TBR shelf, after coming close to completing the DDM Challenge this year. This one is not on my shelf, and I don’t think I’ll add it any time soon, unless the completist in me takes over and I decide to try to read all of her books.

    • Rose City Reader,

      With so many books in my pile and all the others that I want to read, I wouldn’t have been in a rush to read this one if I had realised that it isn’t really a DDM. I’d probably have got around to it eventually though.

  4. I’m afraid this is a case of mismarketing. The style is far more Q than DDM, it isn’t Q at his best, and I saw the join too.

    Earlier Q is much better, I think, and there are many gems among the early DDMs.

    Being Cornish, I discovered both at an early age!

    • FleurFisher,
      Yes, it was a bit of a cheek that Virago didn’t have Q on the cover. I’m hoping to read something by Q at some point. Maybe you could recommend something to me! My first DDM was Jamaica Inn at about the age of 12 but Rebecca is still my favourite. I’m hoping to get to the end of her long list of publications soonish.

      For some reason I love a Cornish setting, I suppose it’s similar to parts of Scotland. I just realised recently that even the Malory Towers series is Cornish based, those must have been my first introduction to Cornwall.

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