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Daphne du Maurier

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Review of Rule Britannia - Jeremy Gilien

After reading The Scapegoat and The Flight of the Falcon, set in France and Italy respectively, it's good to be back on familiar Cornish ground with this good-humoured, yet pointed and poignant work. However, Travanel and its inhabitants are a world removed from the Gothic romance of Manderley or Jamaica Inn.

This, Du Maurier's final novel comes across as more of an Orwellian style cautionary tale set in Stella Gibbon's Cold Comfort Farm. While her usual bounds of propriety are never overstepped, Du Maurier doesn't shy away from the occasional vulgarity; the bits where the youngest boys in the adopted family are learning to use profanities by way of faltering Spoonerisms are actually charming; and the acronym for the United States teamed with the United Kingdom - USUK - has been appropriated as an epithet by a younger generation (at least here in America).

Though the mood of high jinks and good humour is maintained throughout the novel, many serious ethical and political issues are touched upon. It's a pity that this very enjoyable, extremely well written and still quite topical book isn't better known.

- Jeremy Gilien, Los Angeles, California.

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