Tuesday, September 9, 2014

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros--Daphne by Justine Picardie

Happy Tuesday! Today, I'm participating in First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros over at Bibliophile by the Sea where readers share the first paragraph of a book that they are reading or thinking about reading.

I am thinking about reading a 2008 novel which seems like non-fiction but is actually historical fiction--Daphne by Justine Picardie.

From the book jacket:

"It is 1957, and author Daphne du Maurier, beautiful and famous, despairs as her marriage falls apart. Restlessly roaming through Menabilly, her remote mansion by the sea in Cornwall, she is haunted by regret and by her own creations--especially Rebecca, the heroine of her most famous novel. Seeking distraction from her misery, Daphne becomes passionately interested in Branwell, the reprobate brother of the Bronte sisters, and begins a correspondence with the enigmatic scholar Alex Symington as she researches a biography. But Behind Symington's respectable surface is a slippery character with much to hide, and soon truth and fiction have become indistinguishable.

In present day London, a lonely young woman, newly married after a fleeting courtship with a man considerably older than her, struggles with her PhD thesis on du Maurier and the Brontes. Her husband, still seemingly in thrall to his brilliant, charismatic first wife, is frequently distant and mysterious, and she can't find a way to make the large, imposing house in Hampstead feel like her own. Retreating instead into the comfort of her library, she becomes absorbed in a fifty-year-old literary mystery . . .

The last untold Bronte story, Daphne is a tale of obsession and possession, of stolen manuscripts and forged signatures, of love lost and love found: a tantalizing literary mystery that takes its reader into the heart of Daphne du Maurier's world."

And now, the first paragraph:

"Menabilly, Cornwall, July 1957

To begin. Where to begin? To begin at the beginning, whatever that might be. Daphne woke, too early, just before dawn, when the sky had not yet come alight, but was as dark-grey as the Cornish sea. The beginning of another day; another day, how to bear another day? She heard the rats running behind the walls and in the attics; she felt the weight of last night's dreams upon her chest; the nightmares hung over her, heavier than the sky."

What do you think?

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