Daphne du Maurier is probably best known for her novel, Rebecca. However, she wrote many other novels, short stories, and even some non-fiction. (Did you know that her short story The Birds was inspiration for the Hitchcock film of the same name?) Frenchman’s Creek is technically a historical romance that I first stumbled upon as a PBS movie. Intrigued, I picked up the novel. As usual, the movie adaptation and the book part ways at several points, but I enjoyed both independently and for different reasons. Recently, I decided to revisit this book because I have often thought of it.
True, this is a romance with a fiery, spirited heroine slowly being suffocated by her life and a gentile, handsome pirate; it is unapologetically romantic at times. If the reader needs a heroine to be likeable and upright, then perhaps Lady Dona St. Columb is not for them. She isn’t particularly admirable in many ways, and she would agree with that assessment, so at least she has that redeeming quality. She makes a lot of choices in this book, and I often have thought on the choices she made, which is perhaps why I returned to this novel. For readers who are honest with themselves though, they will have to admit that she had a fallible humanity that at times was quite genuine, and that we all at times have wished to take up piracy and sail away from our situations.
Profanity/Language: 9 religious exclamations; 40 mild obscenities; 8 religious profanities; 1 derogatory name.
Violence/Gore: Reports of piracy; report of masquerading as bandits and robbing people; threats to hang; characters receive scrapes and bruises; character is injured severely, mention of blood; ~ 3 page fight where man threatens and attempts to kill a woman, fighting by hitting with objects, stabbing with knife, etc. mention of blood, a death results from confrontation; there is a physical struggle and a character is knocked unconscious.
Sex/Nudity: Reference to ravishing; married woman flirts with a man who is not her husband; kiss hand (social); reference to whores; conversation with innuendo; innuendo; brief conversation about Englishmen not being good lovers; character changes clothes (non-sexual): general references to pirates raping; innuendo/implication that unmarried man and a married woman had sex; reference to the king’s new mistress; report that woman kissed a man who wasn’t her husband after a couple of glasses of wine; general rumors of philandering; characters kiss; character speculates in passing if a man might have gotten someone with child (not true).
Mature Subject Matter:
Piracy, marriage infidelity, treason.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Adults drink socially, sometimes to excess; smoke pipe.