Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Written Word

The Daphne DuMaurier Collection

Last year my mother bought and read Jamaica Inn, she enjoyed it so much that she thought I should give it a try, and I did. What a fantastic read! The novel is full of suspense, thrills, romance, action and plenty of adventure, from the beginning of the very first chapter you are thrown into dark world of Mary Yellan.

'It was a cold grey day in late November. The weather had changed overnight, when a backing wind brought a granite sky and a mizzling rain with it, and although it was now only a little after two o'clock in the afternoon the pallor of a winter evening seemed to have closed upon the hills, cloaking them in mist'.'

One of the great things I find with Daphne DuMaurier's books is the description which help to immerse the reader fully. The story follows Mary Yellan who follows her mother's dying request to join her Aunt Patience at Jamaica Inn. When Mary arrives, after a depressing journey across the bleak moors of Cornwall, she finds a shadow of her Aunt Patience and her brutal husband, Joss Merlyn. Before long, Mary realises that dark things are happening at Jamaica Inn and soon she is unwillingly drawn into her uncle's dark misgivings whilst drawn to a man she cannot trust. 

I read Jamaica Inn while holidaying in the Lake District and it was a book that I could not put down. I do not want to ruin the story for others but towards the middle of the novel the atmosphere is so tense that you almost imagine being part of the story. 

 After reading Jamaica Inn my mother went and bought another of Daphne DuMaurier's famed novels, Frenchman's Creek. Set, as many of DuMaurier's stories are, in Cornwall this tells the tale of Lady Dona who finds herself bored by her the pomp and splendour on her life. She retreats back to the old family estate in Cornwall where she meets the mysterious and handsome French pirate Jean Aubrey. Many consider this story to be the most romantic of DuMaurier's novels and I would agree. Compared to Jamaica Inn the action is just as compelling and the description as fantastic as ever. Another story well worth the read.

The last of Daphne DuMaurier's books that I have read recently is My Cousin Rachel. Another novel set in Cornwall but this time told by a male character called of Philip Ashley. Philip, orphaned at an early age, is raised by his older cousin Ambrose who delights in having Philip as his heir. However, when Ambrose travels to Italy he falls in love and marries before dying suddenly. His wife, a distant cousin called Rachel visits England to speak to Philip and see Ambrose's grand house. Philip, who is suspicious of Rachel before he meets her, unwittingly falls for her. However, as times goes on he finds himself confused by her actions and his feelings towards her, suspecting that she had a hand in Ambrose's death.

'They used to hang men at Four Turnings in the old days. Not any more, though.'

I bought this book after reading some reviews. Although not my favoured of all three DuMaurier books, this story still carries a lot of enchantment and suspense. Throughout the novel I found myself changing opinions of both Rachel and Philip, questioning their relationship and actions. One review commented on the similarity between this novel and DuMaurier's most famous book 'Rebecca'. The tale is moody and brooding reflecting the character's who in turn are unpredictable and mysterious.

All three novels are great reads with plenty of suspense, drama, thrills and spills, mysterious characters, compelling plot lines and topped off with stunning, imaginative description. I've had a bit of a Daphne DuMaurier year through reading the novels above and watching Hitchcock's adaptations of Rebecca and The Birds. I also caught an ITV version of 'The Scapegoat', another novel by DuMaurier that is next on my reading list. You can watch adaptations of both Jamaica Inn and My Cousin Rachel. I have not seen the latter but if you were to watch Jamaica Inn I would go with the television adaptation starring Jane Seymour which is much more true to the original story.

Have you read any books by Daphne DuMaurier? What are your thoughts?

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Mellow Motown

A beautiful mellow song for the most relaxing day of the week; unless you have been in work or are stressing about the coming week. Although, if you are worried or stressed or tired this song is perfect for a relaxing listen.

Most definitely my favourite song and one that will always remind me of my beloved Nanny Jean.


Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me) by The Temptations

Friday, 12 April 2013

Family Film Night

Unfortunately we didn't have Family Film Night this week due to work commitments, so I thought I would share one that we watched a few weeks back, a film chosen by myself.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

This is another classic film, set in and filmed during the 1960s, focusing on the (then) controversial subject of interracial marriage. Interestingly, six months before the film was released, interracial marriage was illegal in 17 US states.  

I am a fan of Sidney Poitier and watched this film first during my own Sidney Poitier film marathon. To briefly surmise, the film tells of a young white woman, Joanna (Houghton), who has a whirlwind romance with Dr. John Prentice (Poitier) whom she meets while on holiday. The two plan to marry and fly to San Francisco to break the news to her parents (Tracy and Hepburn). She struggles to comprehend how her liberal parents, who brought her up to respect and value other races as equals, will not accept John as her husband. The story follows Joanna's parents as they come to terms with their daughter's choice of husband and deal with the effects of an impending interracial marriage.

The reason I really enjoyed this film was because of the depiction of the characters. Joanna's parents, who are shocked at the pairing, are not evil, racist characters. They are believable parents who recognise the difficulties their daughter and her fiance will face. Considering this film was released in 1967, during the height of the civil rights, the topic focused on highlights the problems faced by many during this era. The plot is comedic in parts but also thought provoking and at times teary. The characters are portrayed with feeling and emotion, ensuring that the parts are believable and sympathetic. All in all, a fantastic film and well worth the watch!

Here is a quote from the film that I absolutely adore. It is when John is talking to his father, who also disagrees with the union.
"Let me tell you something. I owe you nothing! If you carried that bag a million miles, you did what you're supposed to do! Because you brought me into this world. And from that day you owed me everything you could ever do for me like I will owe my son if I ever have another."

I have been using this quote ever since with my parents! ;)


Wednesday, 10 April 2013


Success isn't measured by what we achieve, but how we achieve!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Tourist Tuesday

Lyme Park, Cheshire

Today we went to visit Lyme Park in Stockport, the estate used for the 1995 T.V series of Pride and Prejudice. 

 The weather was beautiful, if a little cold, and it proved to be a lovely day out. We arrived shortly after 11am due to getting lost (only once, which isn't too bad). The grounds are vast and we plan to go back in the summer when we can have a good walk around and hopefully seen more wildlife. 

The inside of the house was elegant and large. There were plenty of National Trust staff members on hand to explain parts of the house and tell interesting stories. Each room was filled with Period objects, paintings and furniture. I would really love to go back in time and experience first-hand what it would have been like to live their with a full roster of staff on hand. 

We had a small lunch in the restaurant where I along with my sister had some lovely soup and my mum chose the pate. You could also have eaten venison from the Estate and wood pigeon. During our walk around the house we came across the costume department, who were situated in a room next to the Butler's pantry. The ladies there were extremely polite and helpful and chose outfits for both my sister and I to wear. My sister wore a lovely brown dress accessorised with a hat, brooch and furs (I think they were faux furs). I had a long skirt on with a blouse, jacket and brooch finished of with a lovely hat. We really felt like Edwardian ladies and proceeded to continue our walk around Lyme Park dressed like Edwardian ladies. We floated around the house elegantly, almost as if we owned the place (we wish!). You can see the outfits below. 

Overall we had a very enjoyable day at Lyme Park. The chance to wear typical period costumes around the house really added to the experience and was a welcome addition to our visit. We look forward to going back soon and taking full advantage of Lyme Park's vast lands and stunning garden. I would recommend a visit to Lyme Park to anyone. 

Monday, 8 April 2013

Loch Lomond

I thought I would share a few pictures taken by myself of Loch Lomond. They were taken a few years back but depict the stunning scenery across the lake.


Here a some pictures, taken from my phone, from my holiday in Cornwall during the summer of 2012. These pictures show a view of Polventon Bay facing Long Cove. It was a beautiful walk and the pictures capture this.

Sunday, 7 April 2013


Hitting the Right Note

My mother recently introduced me to this stellar track by Smokey Robinson from his 1973 album 'Smokey'. I will let his singing and this terrific song tell you the rest.

The Written Word

My First Book Review

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

I have recently finished reading the book above, a murder mystery by P.D. James that begins where Jane Austen's famous 'Pride and Prejudice' novel finished. I have taken a liking, recently, to Agatha Christie type murder mysteries and this book was recommended to me by my mother; who couldn't put the book down. Without giving too much away, the story tells the tale of Mr and Mrs Darcy as they become involved in the solving of a murder that takes place on the Pemberly estate. The mystery is woven all over the place, keeping the reader guessing until the very end. P.D. James does well to interweave all our favourite (and not so favourite) characters from P&P into this mystery with some interesting stories and insights into their lives and characteristics. I myself struggled to put the book down and continued guessing along the way with the many clues strewn along throughout the plot. There are nods throughout to many other works by Austen and whilst reading I often thought that I was reading another book by the classic author. There are some interesting sub-plots both related and unrelated to the original P&P characters and plot that added to the interest and enjoyment of the book.
The Bennett sisters as portrayed in the 1995 mini TV series.

I found the story to be an enjoyable read; however, I felt the ending to be a little rushed and dissatisfying. Perhaps this was due to my expectations of a Poirot-like gathering all the suspects.

I would recommend this story to anyone particularly interested in Pride and Prejudice, as mentioned before, the P&P characters are woven effectively into a suspense filled murder mystery. If you have not read P&P (or at least seen an adaptation) you will need to before reading this highly enjoyable, tense book. 

Family Film Night

Our family have got into a habit recently of having a family film night. Each week we try to settle down and watch a classic film together (or a family favourite).

This has been really enjoyable and my sisters and I have had the chance to watch some absolute classics with the parentals. 

Recently my father bought my mother a set of classic films to watch. (Perhaps he had been in her bad books, who knows?) However, I digress. This box-set included 6 films, some of which we had seen before. My mother and father sat down to watch one whilst my sisters and I were out. They later recommended that we (my two sisters and I) watch it, and we did!

What a film!

It had it all; suspense, glamour, comedy, drama, romance, thrills, spills. If you fancy watching a film that is both enjoyable and thought provoking watch 'How to steal a Million' which stars Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole. You will not be disappointed.


A Greeting


Welcome to my new blog which I hope will be filled with musings, good films, quotes, music and lots of fun.