Dick, holidaying at his friend’s house in Cornwall, is talked into trialing a drug that causes the mind to time-travel by his friend Professor Lane. He finds himself obsessed with the family he encounters living at the same location in the 14th Century. He follows a man called Roger who is steward to Sir Henry Champernoune, and becomes emotionally involved with the family. When Dick’s wife, Vita and children arrive to share his holiday, he has to curtail his time-travelling. However, he can’t resist a few last journeys into the past.
BOOK SNAPS: Both Tor.com (“not Du Maurier’s best book”) and the Literary Ladies Guide, (quoting from the original review by W.G. Rogers, Saturday Review Syndicate, October, 1969: “… no match for Rebecca, My Cousin Rachel, The Scapegoat“), have the opinion that this is not the author’s best work. However, even though it is true that it’s quite different to others by Du Maurier, being a time-travel story, this reader found it to be an absorbing story, with gothic elements that add mystery and suspense, and of course the classic Du Maurier setting of Cornwall.
“The world we carry inside us produces answers, sometimes. A way of escape. A flight from reality. You didn’t want to live either in London or in New York. The fourteenth century made an exciting, if somewhat gruesome, antidote to both. The trouble is that day-dreams, like hallucinogenic drugs, become addictive; the more we indulge, the deeper we plunge, and then… we end in the loony bin.”
“There are few strains more intolerable in life than waiting for the arrival of unwelcome guests.”
Author: Daphne du Maurier