Du Maurier was an English author and playwright who was born in 1907 and died in 1989. Her writing career wasn’t exactly easy at the start, as many of the best-selling Daphne du Maurier books we know now weren’t even taken seriously by critics at the time. But then, people started reading her works and simply fell in love with them.
Most of the novels you will ever find by this author are literary fiction and thriller novels. Although, a bit of the paranormal can also be seen in her works from time to time. One of the best books you can find here is Rebecca, a book that instantly took off and sold millions of copies.
Best Daphne du Maurier Books
For a few of her best works, Daphne has gotten a few awards that she deserves. These awards include The National Book Award for Fiction and an Anthony Award for Best Novel of the Century. Both of these awards were for her book Rebecca. So, let’s discover a few more of Daphne du Maurier’s best books ever.
Here it is, one of the most popular Daphne du Maurier books you can ever read. Rebecca is a story filled with a lot of mystery, romance, and horror. You’ll always want to read more and more romance stories by Daphne, as she really knows how to write them. The horror and the mystery are what is going to keep you reading and reading.
From Beyond the Grave
The story begins as you discover a thing or two about one of the main characters, Maxim de Winter. He is a widower whose wife was Rebecca herself before she died in a boating accident not so long ago. The story follows him and his new wife as they get married and head back to his country estate in Manderley.
It is when these two come back to the estate when his new wife realizes how much the late Rebecca will still be involved in their lives. She won’t be appearing as a ghost or anything, but she will be haunting them. You can expect many climaxes in this story and also expect to discover why this book is perhaps Daphne du Maurier’s best book of all time pretty quickly.
This next book is just as exciting as the first, as the supernatural element is also present here. In The House on the Strand, you read about a character who can travel back in time but only to observe and never to influence events there. Get ready to see what another one of the best-rated Daphne du Maurier books looks like.
This is the main character and protagonist of the story. He is lent a house to stay in by his friend Magnus but under one condition that he tests Magnus’ new drug that’s supposed to have a few bizarre effects. Young agrees, and this is where things start to heat up. After sampling the drug, Dick starts experiencing some very strange events.
New Life Back in Time
After a few visits, Dick starts liking what he sees when he travels back to the 14th century. His life in the present starts merging with the other one that’s influenced by the drug. Dick falls in love with a woman there and starts wishing that he never returns to the real world again. As one of the top Daphne du Maurier books out there, you’ll get to see a bit of everything here as well. There is the right amount of love, suspense, thrill, and fantasy present inside.
The next best Daphne du Maurier book here is so thrilling that it turned into an exciting movie with the same name. The film was directed by Charles Sturridge and starred Matthew Rhys. The story follows a character who meets his double and is forced to switch lives with him. As opposed to his old one, his new life is nothing if not exciting and filled with a lot of drama.
John, also known as the Englishman, is the main character you will follow in this story. He is a somewhat lonely academic who has just gone on vacation in France. There, he meets Jean de Gue, a French native who looks identical to him and sounds exactly the same.
The two talk and become closer until they decide to get drunk and swap clothes. In the morning, Jean has disappeared with his clothes, and John is left in France with Jean’s identity as everyone starts mistaking him for the French guy.
It won’t take a lot of time for John to discover what Jean’s life looks like. It seems complicated and different than his own back home. John is suddenly the director of a business that’s about to go under, the owner of a chateau, head of an ill-tempered family, and more. It’s hard not to have fun with this book as you explore what it looks like to suddenly start a new life in the middle and enjoy everything another one of the best books has to offer.
Philip Ashley is a character who was left an orphan at a very early age and was forced to be raised by his kind older cousin Ambrose. When the story opens, you get to read about these two characters and learn a lot about them, discover their personalities, and get to know their relationship with one another. But, this wouldn’t be one of the best books by du Maurier if something dramatic didn’t happen, so here it is.
Everything was going perfectly for Philip, who loves his cousin so much. But then, Ambrose decides to travel to Florence, where he meets and falls in love with Rachel, a fascinating character to read about.
Then, suddenly, Ambrose dies, and Philip heads there to meet Rachel, who ruined his life only to discover a gorgeous and irresistible woman who might have had something to do with his cousin’s death. It’s up to you to find out the truth.
When Philip headed out to confront Rachel, he was furious and knew exactly what he would say to the woman who made his life miserable. But then, upon meeting her and seeing her for the first time, his feelings of hate suddenly shift and turn into something a bit more elegant. From most of the novels of du Maurier here, this one has one of the most exciting plot twists.
Jamaica Inn is one of the most suspenseful and haunting stories you can hope to read. One of the main characters in the story is Mary. Her mother had recently passed and had only one wish for her daughter, to go to Jamaica Inn and live with her aunt. Marry sells her property and heads for Jamaica Inn only to get mixed up in a world too dangerous for her or her changed aunt.
A New Life
Mary was indeed hoping for a new life with her aunt, who she had met once as a child and remembered as one of the most joyous and carefree people ever. But, when she got there, she found her aunt but with a different description. Her aunt was now a cold and frightened woman, and it was all because of her husband, Joss. What Mary is about to experience at this place easily makes this book one of the best du Maurier novels around.
This character will bring almost all of the haunting and disturbing parts of the story. Joss is a cold and mean man who appears to have had a rough life. He is involved in a few criminal activities which Mary discovers about. Because of that, she has put herself in danger and gets in trouble. You’re going to meet a few other characters along the way. Some are good, some bad, and others aren’t who they appear. The entire story is full of deceit, danger, a lot of murder.
It’s quite admirable how du Maurier’s books always have such thrilling stories that rarely make you feel bored. Book after book, Daphne made sure to keep up the exciting stories, and Frenchman’s Creek is another one you must have a look at.
Lady Dona and the Pirate
One of the main characters who starts off this story is Lady Dona, a mother, and wife who lives in London and has gotten quite bored with her current life. Dona misses the excitement and sense of adventure in her life and wishes for something more. But, if she had known the phrase “be careful what you wish for because it just might come true,” then she would have wished otherwise.
She makes a trip to her husband’s private estate in Cornwall and meets one of the most unlikely characters. Jean-Benoit Aubery is a French pirate who has been terrorizing the Cornish coast for quite a while. But, there’s much more to this person, as Dona soon finds out.
Skipping ahead, Dona falls in love with the pirate and joins his crew for a while. Her journey with these people changes her life, but even she isn’t sure if it’s for the better or the worse. All you need to know for now is that this book is a part of our list of du Maurier novels for a reason, and it’s up to you to find out why.
Here, you can expect to find a collection of a few short stories by Daphne. If you plan on reading du Maurier’s books in order, this is one of the first short story collections she has ever published. It contains six thrilling tales that cover a variety of topics and feature a lot of exciting characters.
As you can tell from the title, The Birds is the story you should be looking forward to the most, but the other five are just as impressive. All of the stories feature a combination of horror and mystery themes, which will have you biting your nails.
A Bit About the Stories
The collection begins with Monte Verita, a story about a haunting sect that is said to be immortal and can be found on an isolated mountain. This sect attracts young women who are never seen again. The second story is The Birds, the one that makes this one of the best Daphne du Maurier books here and tells you about how a terrifying flock of birds attacks a Cornish farmhand and his family.
The Apple Tree
The third story is called The Apple Tree. Here, you read about a man whose wife has died, and he suspects that her spirit lives in an old apple tree outside. We’ll tone down the spoilers from our du Maurier books list here, and you can find out about the rest of the stories yourself.
Don’t Look Now and Other Stories is another fantastic collection of short stories by Daphne in which you get to read about a few more horror events that are sure to give you chills. There are five stories here that make this one of the best Daphne du Maurier books ranked, and here’s a bit about them.
Don’t Look Now
Here is the main attraction of the collection. This is a very unpredictable story that involves a married couple who takes a trip to Venice after their daughter’s death. There, they experience a series of events no one could have prepared them for.
It’s no surprise that this story is a part of Daphne du Maurier’s books and that a movie was made from it. There is so much going on in it that you’ll feel like you’re reading a full novel by her and not just a short story.
The rest of this collection’s stories include The Breakthrough, Not After Midnight, The Way of the Cross, and A Border-Line Case. Each of them features an exciting story, some better than others, that fits perfectly with the collection theme.
This list of du Maurier novels is closely coming to an end but not before you have a look at two more of her best books. The King’s General is a story about Honor Harris, a young girl who narrates what it’s like to live during the English Civil War.
Throughout the story, you get to meet a few members of Honor’s family and a few other characters who play a significant role. When the story starts, Honor is only ten years old, and when she turns 18, she gets married to Richard, her late brother’s ex-wife’s brother. Read that again. It should make sense now.
Anyway, the reason this book isn’t far from being the best Daphne du Maurier novel ever is that there will be quite a lot of plot twists throughout the entire story. One of the first is that Honor was promised to marry another, but she still goes against it.
Consequences of War
When war breaks out, their lives change entirely, and Honor is forced to carry out her responsibilities alone while Richard rises through the army ranks. He soon becomes a leader of the King’s army. Honor and Richard don’t see each other for a while, but many surprises still await as the story is not yet over.
Don’t get confused by thinking that this list is of Daphne du Maurier’s best books in order as The Birds is not her last book ever published. These are simply 10 of the best ones she has ever written in no specific order. Anyway, this is a short horror story that was mentioned in a previous collection of hers above.
Here They Come
If you are someone who has ornithophobia, then this book might not be to your liking. But, if you enjoy horror tales more than you care about your fears, then you are going to have one of the most exciting experiences ever with The Birds. The story features a small community of farmers who are about to experience some very unusual and terrifying events.
At first, no one gave any significance to the small flock of birds that began behaving aggressively until they killed a man. Soon after, it wasn’t just them, as all of Britain was under a massive attack by suicidal birds flying everywhere. Out of so many Daphne du Maurier book reviews, this one has gotten such great responses, as the story is wonderfully written and presented.
Michael is a graduate of cultural studies and history. He enjoys a good bottle of wine and (surprise, surprise) reading. As a small-town librarian, he is currently relishing the silence and peaceful atmosphere that is prevailing.