“Treveryan. I like to think of you stately and once so loved, at the end of the avenue of beeches; where once a yew tree stood; where a lake was in which swam wild swans.”
-Angela du Maurier, Treveryan
I first heard of the book Treveryan, by Angela du Maurier, in 1993. One of my dearest friends, Edina, was looking for it. Unsuccessfully. For close to a decade, if I remember correctly.
My intrigue with it sprouted long before I ever held the book in my hands or turned its pages, and the fascination surrounding it had as much to do with the mystery of the book itself as with the gothic tale within it.
I met Edina in England, where we both attended university. It was some time after becoming friends that she told me about Treveryan. Apparently she had read someone else’s copy of the book, loved it, and then was unable to find any reference or trace of it in the literary world.
Angela was the older sister of the much more well known Daphne du Maurier, of Rebecca fame. But even in Cornwall, from whence the du Mauriers hailed, book venders would claim ignorance of her – and the book’s – existence.
Rather than being discouraged, Edina and a certain circle of her friends (myself included) venerated the book to almost cult status. Wherever we went – book fairs, second-hand bookstores, antiquarian bookshops – we would always ask about it.
Finally, in 1997 (I think it was), Edina tracked down and acquired a copy from a New York purveyor of rare and antiquarian books. It was then that I finally got to read this virtually unheard of, 1942 treasure.
Comparisons can be made to Rebecca. The Cornish setting, the gothic spin with dark, lingering secrets, the elegant manor house that casts a haunting spell on those who live there. It’s not high literature, but it is a captivating read.
Six years ago I did an internet search on Treveryan and found it had just then been re-released by Truran Books Ltd. I immediately ordered a copy, which now occupies a place of honour on my bookshelf. Lucky thing I found it when I did, because when I looked it up again just now, it appears to be no longer in print.
I recently made a pact with my 16-year-old niece, Avery. I will read one book of her choosing if she will read one that I suggest. I picked Treveryan largely because of the aforementioned history and special spell it therefore holds on me. But I also liked that it was something a little more off the beaten path than, say, Twilight. While it’s still a pretty easy (and clean) read, it’s not actually written for a teen audience. Yet it has lots of tantalizing scenarios that a teen could, like, totally get into, right? I mean, it grabbed Edina, didn’t it?
I’d recommend it to you, too, dear reader… but I’m afraid you’ll never find it. A shame, really, because it deserves to be read. It would make a great movie, too. I’ll keep that in mind if I ever become a movie producer.
– Words by Lori-Anne Poirier
– Images taken from the book jacket