Many of Daphne du Maurier’s books stand out thanks to a magnificent creation of atmospheres. The characters that she crafted are not less remarkable, however. Some of my favourites are not necessarily the most perfect human beings or ones that I identify with, but they feel real and live off the page. They are characters that are not easy to forget.
Mrs de Winter
The first name of the narrator and main character of Rebecca remains a mystery for the entirety of this outstanding novel. At the beginning, she is an exceedingly insecure and timid young woman, who lives in the shadow of Mr de Winter’s deceased first wife, Rebecca. She becomes much more confident by the end, though. Despite her diffident personality, Daphne du Maurier managed to make her relatable.
Jamaica Inn also has a great main character. Curious, feisty and determined, Mary Yellan reveals great complexity. Although she is brave, she occasionally succumbs to fear. She has good intentions, but doesn’t always address her aunt with kindness, something that she is aware of, as she reconsiders her behaviour. I loved her interactions with Jem Merlyn.
The main character and narrator of The King’s General, Honor Harris, is certainly well crafted. When she was young, she was not afraid of speaking her mind, was bold and rebellious. She matures and becomes without a doubt truly perceptive. Her interactions with Richard Grenville are funny and endearing.
Richard Grenville and Honor Harris are the highlights of The King’s General. He is a complex character, who is both capable of being kind and despicable. He is also sardonic, wild and financially irresponsible.
Manderley’s housekeeper, Mrs Danvers, never failed to remind the narrator of Rebecca of her former employer’s superiority. Her cruelty stemmed from not having overcome the death of Rebecca, whom she was unhealthy obsessed with.
Which are your favourite characters created by Daphne du Maurier? Tell me in the comments!