One of the things that annoyed me the more I read Daphne Du Maurier was the fact people seemed to label her as a romance novelist. However when I plucked, and dusted off, my copies of ‘Mary Anne’ (which we will be discussing in more detail tomorrow) and ‘Rebecca’ (the very copy below was my first Daphne purchase and I will be re-reading it for the ‘Discovering Daphne’ finale) I looked at the covers, which were originally from the 1970s when there was a slight Daphne resurgence, and I could see why they might have been seen as just ‘romance novels’…
Now of course I think that these covers were fabulous and, as you can see from my ‘Why I Love Daphne’ post if, it was the wonderfully vampy, dramatic and dare I say camp covers that had me grabbing them in second hand bookshops. Would I have bought them at the time (let’s gloss over the fact that I wasn’t born when these came out)? The answer is probably not.
Why? Well, I wouldn’t have thought that they were of any particular literary merit and so I can completely understand why many other people might have looked at them and thought ‘ooh no I don’t think so’, I can also see how during that era she started to be bought in bulk by people who were reading Mills and Boon. It’s a difficult thing to get a cover right as, I am sure, we have discussed on Savidge Reads. It seems a shame that people really built up and idea of Daphne based on those covers back then, but we do all judge books based on the cover – even if we don’t like to admit it.
Now, over thirty years on, I want the whole set of these Pan editions from the mid-70’s because of their wonderful novel and rather novelty retro covers, they are fabulous. Like Daphne! So maybe people will find these wonderful old copies, along with the new sultry covers from Virago, and discover just what a wonderful, and indeed fabulous, writer Daphne was.
What’s your thought on these book covers, would these classic/retro covers put you off trying Daphne or do they appeal?