'The iron of the bridge felt hot under my hand. The sun had been upon it all day. Gripping hard with my hands I lifted myself on to the bar and gazed down steadily on the water passing under . . . I thought of places I would never see, and women I should never love'
As far as Richard's father, a famous poet, is concerned, his son has no talent as a writer and will never amount to anything. In a moment of crisis, Richard decides to end his life, but is saved by Jake, a passing stranger. The two men, both at turning points in their lives, set out for adventure, jumping aboard a ship to Norway.
Their travels take them through Europe and they form a passionate friendship. But in bohemian Paris Richard meets Hesta, a music student who inspires him to follow his artistic dreams.
No other popular writer has so triumphantly defied classification . . . She satisfied all the questionable criteria of popular fiction, and yet satisfied the exacting requirements of "real literature", something very few novelists ever do - Margaret Forster
Daphne du Maurier (1907-89) was born in London, the daughter of the famous actor-manager Sir Gerald du Maurier and granddaughter of George du Maurier, the author and artist. In 1931 her first novel, The Loving Spirit, was published. A biography of her father and three other novels followed, but it was the novel Rebecca that launched her into the literary stratosphere and made her one of the most popular authors of her day. In 1932, du Maurier married Major Frederick Browning, with whom she had three children.
Many of du Maurier's bestselling novels and short stories were adapted into award-winning films, including Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds and Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now. In 1969 du Maurier was awarded a DBE. She lived most of her life in Cornwall, the setting for many of her books.