With a new film adaptation (starring Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin) having hit the screen this year, it seemed like the right time to dive back into my pile of Daphne du Maurier books and pick up My Cousin Rachel. It tells a story of a young man by the name of Philip Ashley in what may or may not be Georgian/early Victorian times (Du Maurier never specifies the time period). His cousin and father figure, Ambrose, travels abroad to recover from an illness, only to unexpectedly marry “cousin Rachel” and pass away shortly afterwards. In his last letter to his nephew, Ambrose implies that Rachel has poisoned him, leaving Philip devastated and out for revenge. However, when she shows up at his door in Cornwall, Philip begins to have doubts:
Did Rachel murder his cousin or is she an innocent woman?
Clara Paget in Black Sails.
Frenchman’s Creek is a historical novel set during the reign of Charles II that tells the story of a wealthy woman named Dona who moves to an isolated house in Cornwall with her children to get away from her schlubby husband and the judgmental looks of London society. Finally away from prying eyes and spousal demands, she feels like a weight has been lifted off her shoulders; she revels in the solitude and the freedom it provides her. Dona spends her days blissfully exploring her surroundings until she finds a pirate ship hidden in a remote creek near her house. She ends up falling in love with the captain of the crew – brooding, sexy stubble, will draw you like one of his French girls, you know the type – and has to make a decision: does she do what society wants her to do and stay at home with her children or does she leave everything behind for a life of
sex love and adventure?
Oh yeah. It’s that kind of book. …Or is it?
Still from the 2014 TV adaptation.
Jamaica Inn has all the ingredients you’d expect from a good gothic novel: a gloomy location, a dark mystery, a priest, a few murders, and a rugged love interest who seems to be bad news. Excellent.