Historical Fiction: The Glassblowers, by Daphne du Maurier

3.0 out of 5 stars Daphne’s ancestors

Daphne du Maurier wrote this novel as a fictionalized history of her own forebears. As best I can tell, the famous author is a descendant of Robert Busson, who added the “du Maurier” to the end of his name as part of his aristocratic pretensions. The Bussons were a two generation family of glass blowers in France, who were master craftsmen, but no aristocrats. Simply stated, Robert was a gambler, a risk taker who threw everything into his quest for prestige. He spent time in prison because of bad debts, emigrated to England to escape his creditors, and abandoned his children from two marriages. When the side he supported failed, he merely turned his coat. All of this took place in the era of the French Revolution, and while the book contains scenes of local riots and insurrections, of starvation and murder, The Glassblowers lacks the tension so characteristic of Rebecca and some of her other fine works.

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