Spotlight On A Famous Cornish Novelist

If you type into google Cornish Fiction,the books of Daphne Du Maurier will lead the list. She is arguably the most famous Cornish novelist.

Her work is famous for its haunting and atmospheric quality and she is renowned for her descriptive eloquence as well as her love of Cornwall’s land and sea.

“If only there could be an invention that bottled up a memory, like scent”

Whet your appetite, read her words and you will be transported to Bodmin Moor with Mary Yellan from ‘Jamaica Inn’

Go with Donna to Hidden (Frenchman’s) Creek near Helston as she meets her clandestine lover and watch the sun set across the sea in ‘Frenchman’s Creek’.

So let us tell you a little about Daphne, and the love for Cornwall that dominates her fiction.

Daphne was a master storyteller, a prolific writer, she also wrote plays, short stories and biographies. She was shy and retiring, and did not enjoy the social and entertaining life of an army wife abroad.

“But luxury has never appealed to me, I like simple things, books, being alone, or with somebody who understands”


  • A prolific author, her most well-known fiction titles include Rebecca,My Cousin Rachel and of course Jamaica Inn which was our personal introduction to her historical fiction being based just 15 miles along the A30 from us.

  • There is a web site dedicated to her life and works, and a society with over 1.8 k followers

  • she was a Cornish Novelist, a British author who died in 1989 born in 1907, her birthday was in the last month

  • Fowey Festival is dedicated to the literary arts and all things Daphne du Maurier

  • Daphne du Maurier’s first Cornish novel was The Loving Spirit, it won immediate critical acclaim, then followed her biography of her father, Gerald: A Portrait which gained her recognition as a talented writer.


In 1936, publication of Jamaica Inn propelled her to the top of the best-seller lists.

Home-educated by governesses, du Maurier and her two sisters were close often making up stories together. This childhood had great influence on her later work as did the family holidays at in Bodinnick by Fowey, these times instilled a life-long passion for Cornwall,

“There was something rather blousy about roses in full bloom, something shallow and raucous, like women with untidy hair”

  • An unhappy period in Egypt as an army wife gave rise to Daphne du Maurier’s best-known novel, Rebecca which was made into a successful film directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”

  • Frenchman’s Creek and Hungry Hill followed, both of which were also made into successful films.
  • While her husband was away at war, she moved back to Cornwall to live in ‘Menabilly’, an abandoned house near Fowey. The house became Manderley in the novel Rebecca. She loved the house but she never owned it, and in 1967 her lease expired and she moved to Kilmarth, in Par, where she wrote The House on the Strand,
  • In 1963, Alfred Hitchcock’s film version of her short story The Birds, was released and became a cult classic.
  • Daphne wrote more famous Cornish Novels stories and plays than mentioned here, for more information


“Happiness is not a possession to be prized, it is a quality of thought, a state of mind” 

Daphne Du Maurier – Famous Cornish Novelist

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