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The Take-over Bid – a working title for Daphne du Maurier’s last novel, and its prediction of Brexit

When researching something Daphne du Maurier related for a colleague this week, we, at the Daphne du Maurier website, found a reference to an interesting fact that is so relevant we wanted to share it with you all straight away. 

Daphne, in a letter to her friend Oriel Malet, says that she has

… just the faintest, faintest ‘brew’ – a subject I used to think about some years ago – of a civil war, or an invasion of this country, and how it would affect a place like Fowey.  Who would collaborate, and who would be Resistance? The title is possibly The Take-over Bid.  It’s only a faint seed, but I can see the possibilities of an exciting story in this.  It could be satirical as well – showing up the sort of people who are ‘in’ with the invaders, and the ones who are not.  Daphne du Maurier: Letters from Menabilly - Portrait of a Friendship, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, London, 1993, p.190–191.

The date Daphne wrote the letter - 1st July 1965.

The title of the book when it was published in 1972 – Rule Britannia.

Daphne du Maurier’s novel Rule Britannia is currently one of her most-read titles.  The faintest idea that started to ‘brew’ in 1965, with the potential title of The Take-over Bid, resonates so clearly with all that is happening with Brexit, in Britain today.



For those of you who have not read Rule Britannia yet here is a taste of what you can expect

In this prescient novel, Daphne du Maurier explores the implications of leaving Europe for a political, economic and military alliance with the United States. 'It is rather awful', Emma thought as she walked across the fields down to the farm, 'how this business is leading us all into subterfuge and deception, and we can't really tell who is friend and who is enemy' . . .

... Emma wakes up one morning to an apocalyptic world. The cosy existence she shares with her grandmother, a famous retired actress, has been shattered: there's no telephone, no radio - and an American warship sits in the harbour.

England has withdrawn from the European Common Market and, on the brink of bankruptcy, has decided that salvation lies in a union - political, military and economic - with the United States. Theoretically, it is to be an equal partnership, but it soon begins to look like a takeover bid. As the two women piece together clues about the 'friendly' military occupation on their doorstep, family, friends and neighbours come together to resist the interlopers.  Virago Press Ltd., 2004.

In July 2016, we put an Interesting Facts piece on the Daphne du Maurier website with the title Rule Britannia – published in 1972, which links well with this piece.  To read that piece again click here -

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