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House on the Strand [Paperback]

Daphne du Maurier
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 24.00
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Book Description

June 27 2002
In this haunting tale, Daphne du Maurier takes a fresh approach to time travel. A secret experimental concoction, once imbibed, allows you to return to the fourteenth century. There is only one catch: if you happen to touch anyone while traveling in the past you will be thrust instantaneously to the present. Magnus Lane, a University of London chemical researcher, asks his friend Richard Young and Young's family to stay at Kilmarth, an ancient house set in the wilds near the Cornish coast. Here, Richard drinks a potion created by Magnus and finds himself at the same spot where he was moments earlier--though it is now the fourteenth century. The effects of the drink wear off after several hours, but it is wildly addictive, and Richard cannot resist traveling back and forth in time. Gradually growing more involved in the lives of the early Cornish manor lords and their ladies, he finds the presence of his wife and stepsons a hindrance to his new-found experience. Richard eventually finds emotional refuge with a beautiful woman of the past trapped in a loveless marriage, but when he attempts to intervene on her behalf the results are brutally terrifying for the present. Echoing the great fantastic stories of H. P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe, The House on the Strand is a masterful yarn of history, romance, horror, and suspense that will grip the reader until the last surprising twist.

Frequently Bought Together

House on the Strand + Modern Classics Dont Look Now And Other Stories + My Cousin Rachel
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Product Details

Product Description


The House on the Strand is prime du Maurier. . . . She holds her characters close to reality; the past she creates is valid, and her skill in finessing the time shifts is enough to make one want to try a little of the brew himself. -- New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Dame Daphne du Maurier (1907-1989) wrote more than twenty-five acclaimed novels, short stories, and plays, including Rebecca, The Scapegoat, Jamaica Inn, Frenchman's Creek, and "The Birds."

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The first thing I noticed was the clarity of the air, and then the sharp green colour of the land. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars years ahead of its time Sept. 4 2002
Anyone who has ever read Rebecca knows that Daphne du Maurier was always ahead of her time. Her concern with what we now call Women's Issues was a hallmark in all of her works.
In none of her books is that more apparent than in The House on the Strand. Although the viewpoint character is male, the concern for women's rights still shines through.
If you have seen the TV miniseries 'The Two Worlds of Jennie Logan' or the motion picture 'Somewhere in Time' you will at first think that both of them somehow got their inspiration from this book when you first start reading it. But this is much deeper than either of those stories. While the major character does indeed flash backwards and forwards in time, his discoveries in the past help him understand his present circumstances. The emphasis then is not on his wanting to 'escape' the present, as in the two movies, but on wanting to understand how the present and the past interrelate.
Also, some of the minor characters are historically real, and this adds a lot of interest to the tale. It makes you want to go visit the area in southern England where the story is set, and do a little investigating for yourself.
Provides some real food for thought.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Superb Piece of Literature Aug. 6 2002
By J B
Daphne du Maurier has a very rare talent, and that is to concisely describe the little details that make up such a great part of her stories. She notices the dust on the windowsill, a certain glance of light, the ant crawling through the grass, and turns it from a trivial, fleeting thought into a concrete one. It's so natural. The human mind is capable of so many thoughts, but few human minds can capture them so perfectly.
But enough digression... This was a grand and glorious book, about a guy and his scientist friend Magnus. Written in first person as many of D du M's books are, right away the story draws the reader into the very mind of the main dude (whose name I cannot remember so I'll call him "I"). Basically, the main guy is Magnus' guinea pig. Magnus is one of those scientists who, like Dr Jekyll or Dr Frankenstein, delve into the unknown and in the end destroy themselves or others. Magnus does both. In a way, more than Magnus or Mr I, the drug Magnus creates is the main character. It is a dangerous menace. And addicting. Magnus and Mr I cannot be content with only one trip. The trips take them many years back in history to their town as it used to be, and "I" particularly is caught up in the lives of certain people there. Magnus is the same to a less determined degree.
The trouble is that when Magnus extracted Mr I's promise to do the experiment, "I" was not counting on his wife and sons coming around to see him at Magnus' house...
So he has to be careful when and where he takes the drug. Sometimes he winds up very far from home. Sometimes it leaves him ill. But he is caught up in history and will not be content to stop.
The ending is unrivalled. There is no other book that I've ever read with such an unexpected last paragraph.
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1.0 out of 5 stars A Dismal Book with No Meat. Oct. 18 2003
By Valerie
After absolutely loving DuMaurier's Rebecca, I had high expectations for this book, especially since the storyline based on time travel sounded promising. I was disappointed and frustrated when the novel did not deliver what it promised. First of all, it contained barely anything resembling a plot. The main character just wandered around, secretly used the drug, and became violently ill. Lather, rinse, repeat. The detailed descriptions of his pain and retching were especially unpleasant. The time-travel scenes did at least have a storyline, but it was disjointed, confusing, and incomprehensibly written; this was compounded by the fact that the historical characters had near-identical surnames (I realize that there was a minor reason for this, but it proves a huge disadvantage for the reader). The spark of romantic connection between Isolde and the main character was also promising, but nothing came of it. I read the entire book, hoping that there was a point somewhere, but not even the smallest payoff ever surfaced. This book just rambled around in the gloom without any direction or destination, and I found it dry, unenjoyable, and a waste of my time.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A little flat Dec 1 2000
Du Maurier's "Rebecca" and "The Scapegoat" are both among my all-time favorites, and after reading the reviews here, I was looking forward to "House on the Strand." I've got about 40 pages left, though, and am not a fan of this book.
While the story itself is intriguing, I am not hooked -- even on repeat readings of the other two books I mentioned, I couldn't put them down. This one ... it just doesn't pull me in. I think it's because the characters are all rather two-dimensional -- both in the past and present. I didn't really care what happened to any of the people the narrator interacts with; rather, the most interesting thing to me is his growing addiction to this time-travel drug. So in that respect, I liked it -- and that point, along with Du Maurier's writing, is why I gave this as many stars as I did.
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3.0 out of 5 stars I guess I just didn't get it Jan. 6 2003
By A Customer
I was disappointed in this book, especially considering the favorable reviews posted here. The concept was intriguing, but the segments in which the narrator went back to the 1300's were incredibly boring. I simply did not care what was going on with those characters. Lord So-and-So was cheating on Lady Whoever, and on whose side was the Monk? It was impossible even to track the relationships. The only thing that kept me reading was the sub-plot set in the narrator's real life. The increasing tension between the narrator and his wife, and his increasing addiction to the time travel drug, were the only interesting aspects. And I found nothing exceptional about the ending or the last paragraph, as some reviewers had found. It was a real let-down. Worth reading? Maybe...but a low priority.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Love this book
Classic DuMaurier. Love this book. One of her best. Vintage Sci-fi and suspense all at the same time.
Published 1 day ago by BGreenwood
5.0 out of 5 stars "We are all bound, one to the other, through time and eternity"
While vacationing at the Cornwall home of old chum Magnus, Richard Young is convinced to act as guinea pig for his friend's latest experiment - a drug that enables the mind to... Read more
Published on April 12 2009 by Misfit
4.0 out of 5 stars A welcome read from a great author
Is it her best ever? No. But not nearly so bad as some of the recent reviews. Yes the protagonist is hard to like but the man is taking drug trips to retreat into the past and... Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2009 by Paul D. Leney
5.0 out of 5 stars The Finest Time Travel Ever
This book is so wonderful that I have read it over and over yet still find something new about it every time. Read more
Published on July 20 2002 by Rica Quinn
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed, but Worthwhile...
As a lifetime fan of time travel stories, I was enthralled by this somewhat outdated, but nonetheless absorbing, Du Maurier gem. Read more
Published on June 5 2001 by Alicia S.
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-conceived and researched, flat characters
Time travel in the company of a boring and fussy Brit twit protagonist is not a journey I'd sign up for again. Al Gore's word "snippy" was invented for this guy. Read more
Published on Dec 19 2000 by James Carragher
5.0 out of 5 stars An oustanding edition of an enduring DuMaurier novel.
Daphne DuMaurier's House On The Strand tells of an experimental concoction which enables time travel, and of a man who finds himself in the 14th century addicted to time travel. Read more
Published on June 4 2000 by Midwest Book Review
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story but leaves a lot unanswered
I really enjoyed The House on the Strand because Du Maurier made wonderful transitions between the 14th century and the present in the novel, and entwined these transitions with an... Read more
Published on Oct. 21 1999 by J. Evans
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