A Gothic Tale: The Life of Daphne du Maruier

Whether you’ve read her novels or have seen the film adaptations, many of you are probably familiar with Daphne du Maruier’s work. Even if you didn’t know it. She is most famous for her novels Rebecca and The Birds which were both adapted into feature length films by the famous Alfred Hitchcock. Today, we’d like to take a look at what we know about the very private life of Daphne du Maruier.


Photo: Telegraph

Daphne du Maurier was born on May 13th, 1907 in London. Daphne was the second oldest out of her three sisters born to Gearld du Maurier and Muriel Beaumont. Gerald was an extremely famous actor-manager while Muriel also worked as an actress. The du Maurier family was very successful, allowing them to provide the best lives for their children.

In the 1920’s the du Maurier family purchased a vacation home in Cornwall. The house that would later become known as Ferryside at Bodinnick became Daphne’s favorite place to spend her time. This home would soon become the inspiration for many novels to come.

In 1931, Daphne’s first novel Loving Spirit was published and was an instant success. A year later, Daphne married a military man by the name of Frederick Browning. The two would eventually have 3 children together. For 25 years of their marriage, the couple lived at Menabilly, a home just outside of Fowey. This home is where Daphne wrote many of her novels. Daphne was considered the breadwinner in her family. The success of her novels allowed her to continue pursuing her passion as well as provide for her entire family. Daphne lived a very happy and successful life until her death in 1989.

Many people have very conflicting views about Daphne. However, many have said that she was a very private person. Others have compared her to encompassing both personalities of her female characters in Rebecca. One thing we know for sure, that she was a very brilliant and accomplished writer. Her novels have brought joy to many readers and continue to do so today. Her most popular novels, Rebecca and The Birds were made even more famous when Alfred Hitchcock remade them into feature length films.