chestnut book blog

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Last night I dreamt…

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The view of the sea from Polhawn Fort, Cornwall

The view at Polhawn Fort, Cornwall

..I went to Manderley again. I like to imagine that you might have seen a view like this from Manderley. Isn’t it stunning? I can hardly believe I was standing here last weekend, but I definitely was! This is the view from Polhawn Fort on the Rame Peninsular in Cornwall. We were at a magical wedding there, but it was also stirring my literary juices as it is very near Daphne du Maurier’s beloved Fowey (pronounced ‘Foy’ my husband had to keep reminding me!).

Although we didn’t visit on this trip, I have been to Fowey and the tiny Daphne du Maurier museum there once before. This museum tried to explain some of the power this landscape held for du Maurier, but I think experiencing views like this is a much better explanation. Her books like Rebecca, My Cousin Rachel and Jamaica Inn are rooted in the landscape here and du Maurier’s love for Cornwall shines through in almost all her writing. My favourite books are usually those which have a strong sense of place. The effect geography has on all our identities is something interesting I think. Would we be the same person if we had been born to the same parents, but in some other county, some other country? I suspect not, not exactly anyway.

The same thing can be said of books of course; even with the same plot and characters, Rebecca could not be Rebecca without Cornwall. It is the overlooked character, present in almost every scene.

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