Daphne du Maurier and her Sisters: The Hidden Lives of Piffy, Bird and Bing

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9780007347087: Daphne du Maurier and her Sisters: The Hidden Lives of Piffy, Bird and Bing

Celebrated novelist Daphne Du Maurier and her sisters, eclipsed by her fame, are revealed in all their surprising complexity in this riveting new biography.

The middle sister in a famous artistic dynasty, Daphne du Maurier is one of the master storytellers of our time, author of ‘Rebecca’, ‘Jamaica Inn’ and ‘My Cousin Rachel’, and short stories, ‘Don’t Look Now’ and the terrifying ‘The Birds’ among many. Her stories were made memorable by the iconic films they inspired, three of them classic Hitchcock chillers. But her sisters Angela and Jeanne, a writer and an artist of talent, had creative and romantic lives even more bold and unconventional than Daphne’s own.

In this group biography they are considered side by side, as they were in life, three sisters who grew up during the 20th century in the glamorous hothouse of a theatrical family dominated by a charismatic and powerful father. This family dynamic reveals the hidden lives of Piffy, Bird & Bing, full of social non-conformity, love, rivalry and compulsive make-believe, their lives as psychologically complex as a Daphne du Maurier novel.

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Daphne Du Maurier and Her Sisters Celebrated novelist Daphne Du Maurier and her sisters, eclipsed by her fame, are revealed in all their surprising complexity in this riveting new biography. Full description

Review:

‘Perceptive and exuberant … a saga that is sparklingly re-told’ The Times

‘The fascination for readers is the different character and destiny of each sister, plus their relationships with one another and with the dynamics of the family romance – and few family romances have been more potent than that of the du Mauriers’ Spectator

‘Daphne is a compelling subject – passionate and cold, attractive and repellent … Angela suffers, as she did in life …from … Daphne’s infinitely more intriguing saga’ Evening Standard

‘Meticulous, perceptive … it is a sign of Jane Dunn’s generous professionalism that she accords the du Maurier girls the same respect that she gave Bloomsbury’s high priestesses in her acclaimed study of Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell’ Financial Times

‘Engaging … this book’s strength lies in its account of a trio of lives developing during a period of class and gender upheaval, and the sisters’ response to social change’ Independent

‘Compelling … sensitive and sympathetic … loneliness is the thudding heart of Dunn’s book, about three pampered sisters who never quite overcame the handicap of not being boys’ Daily Telegraph

‘Jane Dunn specialises in female relationships, and she has found three splendid women for her new book … Dunn writes with haunting delicacy … and she evokes a long-lost England in which women felt deep passions and survived emotional hurricanes with amazing outward restraint’ Mail on Sunday

‘Dunn is excellent on the lesbian 1920s and 30s in London, with delicious detail’ Guardian

‘An original, well-researched and very readable book full of well-chosen details and perceptive observations. In the subject of rivalry between literary sisters Jane Dunn has found a little goldmine’ Literary Review

‘Intriguing and revelatory biography … [of] complex and contradictory lives’ Scotsman

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