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Mary Anne Paperback – October 1, 2009

18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


With unfailing du Maurier skill, the author has coupled family interest with dramatic sense Elizabeth Bowen, Tatler An exceptionally outstanding novel Edinburgh Evening News --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Daphne du Maurier's 1938 novel Rebecca made her one of the most successful writers of her time. Alfred Hitchcock's adaptation of the book won the Best Picture Oscar in 1940. He later used her material for The Birds. In 1969, du Maurier was created a Dame of the British Empire.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402217110
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402217111
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #740,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Daphne du Maurier was born in 1906 and educated at home and in Paris. She began writing in 1928, and many of her bestselling novels were set in Cornwall, where she lived for most of her life. She was made a DBE in 1969 and died in 1989.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Spy Groove on July 20, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Opened in a flashback style, beautiful and tempting, the biography of Mary Anne Clarke, the notorious heroine, unfolded. Based on her great-great-grandmother, Ms. Du Maurier weaved a story of a woman's power struggle and web of intrique played in society dominated by men. Set in London at the time when Paris was being ruled in Terror regime, London was in parliamentary turmoil and both countries are in war at the end of 18th century.

Mary Anne, with her cunning wit and unbeatable Irish blood, was born in London slum neighbourhood. With her resourceful mind, she determined to be a success in men's world by playing the same game, with the same rules. She first tried to find a wealthy husband but got a big-mouthed, good-for-nothing one instead. Not to be beaten by circumstances, she left her husband and started to use her unique beauty to make connection, to be a 'social climber', in order to provide food and shelter for her 3 children, a mother, a half-sister and a brother. As time would have it, she was introduced to The Duke of York, became his mistress and the scandalous dealings began.

Being a mistress to a prince didn't mean she would have unlimited income. On the contrary, to maintain the house, lifestyle and servants, she must do 'side job' by promoting soldiers to the Duke with some amount of fee. This would lead to the most scandalous trial(s) in England concerning royal family.

The dialogs and the statements were beautifully written (but no ramblings) while the characters each had their own strength and weakness. It was said that there are some resemblances between the author's life with the main character which added to the substance of the story. All I can say is I admire her wit and I see the reasons behind her every move.

Feel the spirit, see the dreams and understand the love of life which came from a woman named Mary Anne.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Misfit VINE VOICE on March 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
A bit different from your usual Du Maurier novel, in this one she tells the story of her great-great-grandmother Mary Anne Clarke. Borne into a poor London family, Mary Anne marries Joseph Clarke who ends up drinking and gambling away any money he gets from his family. Disgusted with the marriage and desperate to support her children, Mary Anne finds herself tempted by a *cough* broker for the wealthy nobility and becomes mistress to Frederick Duke of York. Although being a mistress of a prince with no head for money brings on its own dilemma - how to run a household and a lavish lifestyle on the meager allowance the Duke gives her. With a war looming, men eager for commissions seek preferable treatment through Mary Anne, as the Duke is also the Commander-in-Chief and an offer of money gets a word in the right ear.

Eventually the Duke tires of Mary Anne and she finds herself out in the cold with massive household debts and no pension from the Duke, her brother unjustly cashiered out of the army and her finger is very much in the pie when the scandal of selling commissions hits Parliament with a full blown investigation including the testimony of one very disgruntled ex-mistress. I won't be a spoiler, but further actions taken by Mary Anne in revenge against those who "done her wrong" don't work out as planned and sets her on a nine-month path of harrowing consequences.

Du Maurier is superb as always, she had me hooked from the very unusual opening reflecting back on Mary Anne's life (do go back and reread it after you've finished) to the very end as she makes a very final and fitting farewell to the man who had such an impact on her life.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By bookworm on November 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It's obvious that Daphne du Maurier felt a powerful connection with her ancestor Mary Anne Clarke. Indeed, her characterization of Mary Anne reflects a remarkable perception, echoing both the frustrations of a woman in a world of men and foreshadowing the feminist works that would follow in the years after this novel's publication. At times skilfully, at other times awkwardly, du Maurier incorporates historical fact into the narrative. While this works well at times, there were a number of parts in the book where I felt that details were being skimped, or satisfied with merely a mention, such as the death of Mary Anne's first child. The final part of the novel, set in the House of Commons, is the book's most significant failing. It is dry, dull, and slow, depending entirely too much on dialogue. The novel seems to peter out at this point, although I felt that the final chapter was very well written. I would class this book as average.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Barbarino VINE VOICE on November 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm a bit conflicted about this book, I liked it and I'm glad I read it, but at the same time it really bothered me, it was depressing and I found myself alternating between being really proud of Mary Anne for being so strong and smart and being angry with her for being so foolish.

Mary Anne Clarke was Daphne Du Maurier's great-great grandmother. She was clever, witty and beautiful. She was a mistress to Frederick Augustus Brunswick the Duke of York and Albany, son of King George III. She was also the star witness for the opposition when the House of Commons launched an investigation into allegations that the Duke had been accepting payments in exchange for military commissions. Mary Anne had an interesting life to say the least.

The history in the story is sometimes difficult to follow, but at the same time it's not imperative that you know all the political details. I recently read 'The Secret Wife of King George IV' by Diane Haeger and was really glad I had some understanding of the references to the Prince of Wales and Mrs. Fritz, his wife and mistress. Du Maurier writes about Mary Anne's relationships with a subtlety that can escape the reader if they aren't paying close attention.

Mary Anne had guts to stand up to the government's cross-examination and the public scrutiny during the investigation, I admired her bravery. I thought it was fascinating that memorabilia was being produced and sold with Mary Anne's likeness during the scandal. So many things were as they are now.

I am a fan of Daphne Du Maurier, I just love her writing and I'm also very curious about her family history. There's a lot of really fascinating stuff in the Du Maurier family tree. I wanted to read this book and get an idea about the Du Maurier family past.
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