I have finished reading this book at last. It isn’t a particularly lengthy book, neither was it tedious. The reason it has taken me so long to read is that I was savouring every page! That’s quite unusual for me, I like to gallop through a book when I’m really enjoying it – and I did enjoy this!
Picardie’s extensive research really pays off. There is an air of authenticity about the book, the sense of the author being in the ‘know’. I like the way that the story is told from three very different perspectives, and two different points in time. I have read Du Maurier’s ‘rival’s book by Winfred Gerin, and never realised that they were in direct competition with each other. I think I shall have to read ‘The Infernal World of Branwell Bronte‘ and ‘Branwell Bronte again to compare them. I have them both but it’s a long time ago since I read either of them.
I could almost smell the mildew on Emily’s notebook and the obsession and desperation of the disgraced Symington. The marriage between the girl (now I come to think of it, her name isn’t mentioned either by Paul her husband who calls her ‘sweet girl’ or his ex wife Rachel, who refers to her as ‘my assistant’) and Paul seems a little bit surreal and gets off to a bad start by the ex wife’s Rachel’s only too real presence. This could be likened to Max De Winter’s dead wife interference with his new young wife….(and I can’t recall her name either). But there the similarities end, as the outcome of each marriage differ: one overcoming obstacles and even death (battling with a ghost whose presence is kept alive by Danvers), whilst the other ends with both partners outgrowing each other (thanks to the presence of another ‘ghost’, this one very much alive: ex wife Rachel!)
I wasn’t too sure about the J M Barrie connection and the Lost boys though. I mean there IS a real connection with Du Maurier’s family but I don’t think the extra twist was really needed. In my opinion, Branwell is the real Lost Boy and seems destined to be eternally irretrievable. Loved this book though and shall be reading more by this author!
Warning: this book is a page turner! try to slow down and savour the experience.