Society in Restoration London frustrates and bores Lady Dona St. Columb. In an effort to escape, she takes her two children to the family’s Cornwall estate. But at Navron House, Dona hears stories of vicious pirates raiding the coast and making use of her land and home. Initially outraged, Dona’s impetuous nature sends her straight to the pirates’ ruthless captain. Jean-Benoit de Aubery, however, is not what she expects, and Dona soon agrees to become his newest cabin boy. Escaping at last, Dona follows her Frenchman on a grand adventure full of danger and excitement. The major theme of escape echoes throughout, playing a major part in the ultimate decision Dona must make—to run away forever or return to her family and duties as a wife.
The best romantic suspense novel ever, this has always been my favorite book. Its hidden depths, eloquent language, and philosophical prose linger long after the story ends. Dona’s transformation from bored society wife to a loving, selfless woman is outstandingly portrayed. Gripping and ever so bittersweet, Frenchman’s Creek is a brilliant novel and by far Du Maurier’s best. The jacket calls this her “lost classic, an electrifying tale”—it is, and yet, it’s so much more.