On my first reading of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, conditions were optimal: creaky cottage, late-night storm, flannel sheets. But even if I’d been reading it at a car dealership at the time, Rebecca would, I’m sure, have struck my gothic nerve as much.
In August, Bloomsbury will publish Justine Picardie’s novel Daphne (look for Leann Restaino’s laudatory review in LJ‘s 5/15 issue), whose narrative follows du Maurier and her fascination with the Brontë family; John Alexander Symington, a curator of manuscripts at the Brontë Parsonage Library*; and a nameless—as Rebecca’s protagonist herself was—modern-day researcher.
Expect some interest: producer Robert Fox (The Hours, Atonement), who once met du Maurier at Manabilly, the seaside estate that inspired Rebecca‘s Manderley, and whose aunt had known the writer, just optioned the novel.
So, like du Maurier’s Rebecca, and The Birds, and Don’t Look Now after that, Picardie’s Daphne will be spiriting, though adaptation, du Maurier’s great gothic sensibility into theaters again.
*On Picardie’s blog you can see shots of du Maurier’s daughter at the Brontë Parsonage Library examining manuscripts her mother had purchased from the real-life Symington.