April 12, 2012
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The King’s General (A) by Daphne du Maurier, encompasses the time period of the English Civil War in Cornwall, England. Once again, du Maurier uses her home at Menabilly (as in Rebecca) and her extensive knowledge of historical events to weave an incredible novel.
The story as narrated by Honor Harris incorporates the life and times of many real characters, the Rashleighs and the Grenvilles in particular. As a young girl, she meets and falls in love with Richard Grenville a soldier for the Royalist army. At seventeen years old, she is rebellious and often throws caution to the wind, leaving her family embarrassed. On an outing with her brother Robin, along with Richard and his sister Gartred, Honor suffers an accident that leaves her crippled for life. Her plans for her future with Richard are destroyed because she refuses to be a burden to him. Soon enough, Richard leaves her and becomes completely involved in the war between the Royalist and Parliamentarians.
As the war continues, Honor and her family suffer loses and consequences as do all of their neighbors. Richard returns to complicate Honor’s life; for her love and devotion to him have never died.
I love historical fiction. It is my favorite genre and The King’s General delivers in every way. While tales of war can be laborious, du Maurier has expertly written an engaging and compelling novel. She hints at subjects not often discussed or written about in 1943. Her characters are those you love and many you hate. Like in Rebecca, she fearlessly pens an incredible story that takes the reader on a journey with many twists and turns that leave you wanting more. Honor’s presence had enveloped me so that I felt like she was sitting before me and telling me her story. I miss her already.
Finding du Maurier again reminds me that I need to include timeless pieces in my reading repertoire. While today’s bestsellers are alluring, yesterday’s bestsellers should not be forgotten. They are the missing piece and should be “honored” and enjoyed.