When Daphne du Maurier wrote this book she was only thirty years old and had already established herself both as a biographer, with the acclaimed Gerald: A Portrait, and as a novelist.
The Du Mauriers was written during a vintage period of her career, between two of her best-loved novels: Jamaica Inn and Rebecca.
Her aim was to write her family biography ‘so that it reads like a novel’ and it was due to du Maurier’s remarkable imaginative gifts that she was able to breathe life into the characters and depict with affection and wit the relatives she never knew, including her grandfather, the famous Victorian artist and Punch cartoonist – and creator of Trilby.
‘Miss du Maurier creates on the grand scale; she runs through the generations, giving her family unity and reality . . . a rich vein of humour and satire . . . observation, sympathy, courage, a sense of the romantic, are here’ Observer