Having read Frenchman’s Creek (see my blog) I moved on to read Castle Dor by Daphne du Maurier on a walking holiday in Devon in early August. It’s a lose-yourself gothic tale set in nineteenth century Cornwall around Lostwithiel near Fowey (an area I know well), based on the legend of Tristan and Iseult. Du Maurier finished half a manuscript began by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, and, as the introduction notes, it is impossible to see the join.
Linnet is bored by her rich but old landlord husband and does her best to ignore him, as she has since her wedding-night when he was so drunk she managed to substitute her maid into the marital bed. She likes the fine clothes and status of being Mark Lewarne’s wife, but is frequently in a sulk about something. Then into her life steps Amyot, a young Frenchman who has left his Breton ship, the Jolie Brise, after a falling-out with its brutal captain.
Linnet and Amyot fall in love and Doctor Carfax, present at Linnet’s birth, looks on in alarm and tries to intervene as the deception mounts and the love affair reaches crisis point. When little Johnny almost dies having been caught up in helping the lovers it all gets too much for Doctor Carfax and he hot-foots it across a foggy Cornish moor to try and catch up with Linnet and Amyot before it is too late.
This is a great holiday read, and one it was particularly good to dive into, having spent the days walking along the coastal path and dipping in and out of tiny coves and romantic estuaries.