Shelf Control #319: The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

Title: The House on the Strand
Author: Daphne du Maurier
Published: 1969
Length: 352 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

Dick Young is lent a house in Cornwall by his friend Professor Magnus Lane. During his stay he agrees to serve as a guinea pig for a new drug that Magnus has discovered in his scientific research.

When Dick samples Magnus’s potion, he finds himself doing the impossible: traveling through time while staying in place, thrown all the way back into Medieval Cornwall. The concoction wear off after several hours, but its effects are intoxicating and Dick cannot resist his newfound powers. As his journeys increase, Dick begins to resent the days he must spend in the modern world, longing ever more fervently to get back into his world of centuries before, and the home of the beautiful Lady Isolda…

How and when I got it:

I bought the e-book edition several years ago.

Why I want to read it:

I’ve been seeing several bloggers sharing posts for Daphne du Maurier Reading Week (hosted by Heavenali) — and while I wasn’t thinking about this in time to participate, seeing the posts reminded me that I have a bunch of Daphne du Maurier books that I need to read! In fact, the only boos of her that I’ve read is the one that pretty much everyone has read, Rebecca. But I know there’s so much more to explore, and I do want to make a point of reading more of her books.

The House on the Strand caught my attention as soon as I first came across it. I mean… hello? Time travel fan here!

I’d guess time travel was a much less written-about fiction device at the time when this book was published. It was one of the author’s later books (published 30 years after Rebecca) — I’m so curious about how she portrayed the time travel elements, as well as what the overall reaction to the book was at the time of publication. (I know I could look up this piece, but would rather wait until after I’ve actually read the book).

I believe I have 4 or 5 of the author’s books sitting unread on my physical or virtual bookshelves. The House on the Strand seems like a great place for me to start.

What do you think? Have you read this book? Do you have a favorite Daphne du Maurier book to recommend?

Please share your thoughts!


Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

Top Ten Tuesday: A TTT Freebie — 10 classics on my TBR list

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s is a freebie week, meaning we all come up with our own TTT topics.

I thought I’d return to an oldie but goodie — classic reads that I still need to get to. My list of to-read classics changes all the time, but for right now, these are the ten classics that I’d most like to read:

  1. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  2. Dracula by Bram Stoker (a re-read, but it’s been enough years that it’ll probably feel new to me)
  3. A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
  4. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
  5. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  6. The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells
  7. Peony by Pearl S. Buck
  8. Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott (or really, anything by this author besides the Little Women trilogy, which I’ve read)
  9. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  10. Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier

After putting this list together, it occurs to me that it’s weighted toward male authors, which doesn’t make me happy — so this whole topic may need further thought! Or a follow-up post, at the very least.

Have you read any of these books, and if so, which do you recommend?

What did you write about for this week’s TTT? Please share your links!





Shelf Control #9: My Cousin Rachel

Shelves final

Welcome to the newest weekly feature here at Bookshelf Fantasies… Shelf Control!

Shelf Control is all about the books we want to read — and already own! Consider this a variation of a Wishing & Waiting post… but looking at books already available, and in most cases, sitting right there on our shelves and e-readers.

Want to join in? See the guidelines and linky at the bottom of the post, and jump on board! Let’s take control of our shelves!


My Shelf Control pick this week is:

My Cousin RachelTitle: My Cousin Rachel
Author: Daphne du Maurier
Published: 1951
Length: 352 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

Orphaned at an early age, Philip Ashley is raised by his benevolent older cousin, Ambrose. Resolutely single, Ambrose delights in Philip as his heir, a man who will love his grand home as much as he does himself. But the cosy world the two construct is shattered when Ambrose sets off on a trip to Florence. There he falls in love and marries – and there he dies suddenly. Jealous of his marriage, racked by suspicion at the hints in Ambrose’s letters, and grief-stricken by his death, Philip prepares to meet his cousin’s widow with hatred in his heart. Despite himself, Philip is drawn to this beautiful, sophisticated, mysterious Rachel like a moth to the flame. And yet… might she have had a hand in Ambrose’s death?


How I got it:

I spent a winter weekend in Victoria, British Columbia a few years back, taking a mini-vacation with my daughter. It was absolutely freezing out, so we ducked into a used book store to warm up… and this is one of the armful of books I walked out with!

When I got it:

I think our trip was four years ago. Time flies!

Why I want to read it:

I love Rebecca, and have always intended to read more of Daphne du Maurier’s books. I have a hard copy of My Cousin Rachel on my shelves, as well as a Kindle version of Jamaica Inn. It’s a toss-up between the two, but I think this seems like a good place to start!


Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link below!
  • And if you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and have fun!


For more on why I’ve started Shelf Control, check out my introductory post here, or read all about my out-of-control book inventory, here.

And if you’d like to post a Shelf Control button on your own blog, here’s an image to download (with my gratitude, of course!):

Shelf Control

Flashback Friday: Rebecca

ffbutton2Flashback Friday is a weekly tradition started here at Bookshelf Fantasies, focusing on showing some love for the older books in our lives and on our shelves. If you’d like to join in, just pick a book published at least five years ago, post your Flashback Friday pick on your blog, and let us all know about that special book from your reading past and why it matters to you. Don’t forget to link up!

This week on Flashback Friday:


Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
(published 1938)

 Synopsis (Goodreads):

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.


This week, I’m writing about a book that’s fresh in my mind, as I just read Rebecca two weeks ago while on vacation. I first read Rebecca over 20 years ago, and have been meaning to go back to it for quite some time.

The rereading experience can be so interesting! I realized early on that I had only the vaguest of memories about the overall plot, although if you’d asked me before I started reading, I’d have said that I remembered it fairly well. Not true! In fact, I completely misremembered what the climax of the story was. In my mind, the story culminated in an emotional proclamation from Max de Winter (I’m avoiding specifics, so as not to be spoilery for anyone who hasn’t read Rebecca yet) — but in fact, what I had in mind was actually only a midpoint before the mystery/thriller elements that comprise the remainder of the book.

I think part of the problem was that, in my mind, I’d somehow smooshed together the plots of Jane Eyre and Rebecca, and so expected something really different than what I got… not that that’s a bad thing!

I loved rereading Rebecca. Daphne du Maurier is a brilliant writer, I loved the phrasing, the evocative descriptions, the nuanced conversations and social niceties. I was initially quite annoyed by the nameless main character, who spends the first half of the book acting like a complete ninny and living in a fantasy world, never getting a spine or asking important questions. Still, it was interesting to see her evolve and to understand the twisted emotions that finally allowed her to feel confidence in her marriage and her place in the world.

A deeply dark and strange psychological thriller, Rebecca is considered a 20th century classic for good reason! I can’t wait to read more by du Maurier, and plan to start with Jamaica Inn in the near future.

What flashback book is on your mind this week?

Note from your friendly Bookshelf Fantasies host: To join in the Flashback Friday fun:

  • Grab the Flashback Friday button
  • Post your own Flashback Friday entry on your blog (and mention Bookshelf Fantasies as the host of the meme, if you please!)
  • Leave your link in the comments below
  • Check out other FF posts… and discover some terrific hidden gems to add to your TBR piles!


Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!