Top 5 – Daphne Du Maurier’s “Great Cornish Novels” Awards

So I have turned the last page in the big book of Daphne Du Maurier’s “Great Cornish Novels”. And what a lovely adventure it has been! Du Maurier has invented some fantastic characters, described some beautiful settings in scenic Cornwall, and created complex and thrilling story-lines. What more could you want from such a great big book?

I had wanted to do a Du Maurier themed Top 5 characters post, but it would be impossible to choose 5  favourite characters when some of the best are rather unlike-able. So instead, I have decided to hand some awards out. That’ll be 4 awards for 4 brilliant characters and 1 award for my favourite setting, all taken from the big book of Du Maurier’s “Four Great Cornish Novels” collection. These include Jamaica Inn, Rebecca, Frenchman’s Creek and My Cousin Rachel.

And to get into a Cornish mood, I have added some beautiful photographs taken by Louise Smedley-Hampson. You can find more of her work here:

… Drum roll please …

Award – Scariest character – Mrs Danvers (Rebecca)

Never has there been such a creepy character as Mrs. Danvers. She is the stuff of nightmares! Looming up out of doorways, she is everywhere at once, forever watching the new Mrs. de Winter and planning new ways to make her feel unwanted.

Runners Up – The Vicar of Altarnun, Joss Meryln (both from Jamaica Inn)

Award – Favourite Romantic Interest – Jem Merlyn (Jamaica Inn)

He may not be romantic and chivalrous, but Jem Merlyn has a certain something to charm the ladies. There is a twinkle in his eye and always a joke on his lips. He may not have great prospects, and he might not be the worlds nicest man, but don’t all girls love a bad boy?

Runners Up – Maxin de Winter (Rebecca), The Frenchman (Frenchman’s Creek)

Award – Favourite Protagonist – Mary Yellan (Jamaica Inn)

I loved the determined character of Mary. She was full of fight and spirit, even against the terrifying Joss Merlyn. There are times when she despairs, but who wouldn’t with an uncle like him? I enjoyed reading about her long walks and her unwanted thoughts of Jem Merlyn. Out of all the characters in the ‘Four Great Cornish Novels’ collection, Mary is probably my favourite, and the one I think I could be good friends with.

Runners Up – Unamed narrator (Rebecca), Dona (Frenchman’s Creek)

Award – Character I Want to See More of – Louise Kendall (My Cousin Rachel)

Louise seems like a lovely girl who is treated very unfairly by her childhood friend, Philip. She obviously cares for him a great deal, poor girl, but he thinks of her as a silly, young girl with no brain. I would like to know what Louise gets up to when Philip is not around, and whether she has any handsome men after her, who would look after her better than the ignorant Philip. I hope she did end up happy in the end!

Runners Up – William (Frenchman’s Creek), Aunt Patience (Jamaica Inn)

Award – Favourite Setting – Frenchman’s Creek

What a wonderful place Du Maurier describes in this book! Who would not want to stroll down from Navron House, through the trees, to the peaceful and enchanting creek? Accompanied by the tweeting birds, the rustling of leaves in the warm summer breeze and the calming swishing of the rippling water. Ahh, what heaven!

Runners UpRebecca, Jamaica Inn

How would you have handed out these awards? Do you prefer the wildness of the moors in Jamaica Inn, or the elegant gardens of Manderley? Do you find the Frenchman far more fanciable than the horse thief, Jem Merlyn? And, although I find it hard to believe, do you think Mrs. Danvers is as scary as a fluffy bunny and think Joss Merlyn makes a much more menacing character?

Let me know your thoughts!

3 thoughts on “Top 5 – Daphne Du Maurier’s “Great Cornish Novels” Awards

  1. I’ve only read Rebecca and Jamaica Inn so far, but have to say Mrs Danvers was one of the most frightening characters I’ve ever read. Scary woman! She reminded me of one of the old Disney villains who has an almost irrational hate of the heroine. Have to agree about Mary Yellan too, really good heroine, she’s got real spirit, :-).


    • I completely agree! I’m so glad she is not real!

      You’ve definitely read the best of the Du Maurier book that I’ve read. They are both my favourites, probably with Jamaica in slightly in the lead.


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