At the beginning of July, I went on a not-so-summery holiday to Cornwall. We were a lovely half-hour coastal walk from St. Ives, where I found plenty of delightful tea shops and brilliant bookshops to keep me more than happy on the rainy and windy days when others braved the beach. It was in a very friendly Oxfam Bookshop that I found The House on the Strand. I was about half way through the week, struggling with a book that I wasn’t really in the mood for, and had a sudden craving for Daphne du Maurier. Is there a better place to read her books than Cornwall?
When I tried to explain the plot, I was simply laughed at: The narrator, Richard Young is going through a bit of a mid-life crisis and after quitting his job as a publisher, escapes to his old university friend Magnus’ house in Cornwall. He has one week until his wife and step children turn up and his dear friend has asked a rather odd favour. Magnus, a biophysicist, has created a secret drug that can take you back in time by 600 years (that’s the bit where people start laughing) and asks Richard to be his guinea pig. My biggest problem with this book is that it’s just too unrealistic. But however silly the storyline sounds, Daphne du Maurier manages to make it a chillingly serious tale. Continue reading