Castle Dor, Paperback
3 out of 5 (3 ratings)


Both a spellbinding love story and a superb evocation of Cornwall's mythic past, Castle Dor is a book with unique and fascinating origins. It began life as the unfinished last novel of Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, the celebrated 'Q', and was passed by his daughter to Daphne du Maurier whose storytelling skills were perfectly suited to the task of completing the old master's tale.

The result is this magical, compelling recreation of the legend of Tristan and Iseult, transplanted in time to the Cornwall of the last century.

A chance encounter between the Breton onion-seller, Amyot Trestane, and the newly-wed Linnet Lewarne launches their tragic story, taking them in the fateful footsteps of the doomed lovers of Cornish legend ...


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9781844080670



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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

Castle Dor was the last unfinished work of the critic Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch and finished (at his daughter’s request) by Daphne Du Maurier after his death. The novel is a modern retelling of the Tristan and Isolde myth, re-set to Cornwall of the 1840s. Linnet Lewarne is a young woman married to an innkeeper; she strikes up a relationship with a Briton onion seller named Amyot Trestane. Although not written from the first person point of view, the center viewpoint is that of the village doctor, who recognizes how history is repeating itself, literally.Du Maurier did a fairly good job of finishing the novel—you can’t tell where Quiller-Couch’s writing leaves off and Du Maurier’s begins. She later wrote that she could never hope to imitate Quiller-Couch’s style of writing, but that she tried to adopt his “modd;” still, this wasn’t one of the best books that she’s put her pen to. Because the story is told from an “outside” point of view, we don’t really get that of the main two characters, so it’s hard to assess their motives.In fact, the main character of the book is Doctor Carfax, who, as Du Maurier put it, serves as a kind of Prospero, helping move the events of the novel along while not really being a part of them. One gets the sense that all of these characters are involved in something much larger than themselves, something much beyond their control, and there’s a fairly wonderful kind of atmosphere to that effect. Although I had some reservations about this novel, it’s interesting to see how two writers—one a critic of literature, the other considered a “romance” novelist—coincide, and how they were able to create one cohesive novel.

Review by

A rather less read du Maurier book -- fascinating, seeing her continuing someone else's work. And I agree with the introduction that it's hard to tell where she picked up the story: there's a shift somewhere, I think, in the tone of the beginning and the tone of the end, but it all flows smoothly enough.<br/><br/>I can't really give it four stars in terms of enjoyment, because I thought some of the parallels with the Tristan and Iseult story were overlaboured, and all the details of geography meant little to me (you'd think it would be more interesting to me, given my research into the Arthurian legends, but actually I have very little interest in whether they're fact or fiction) -- it didn't add to the story, for me, because I didn't need to think that Linnet was somehow descended from La Belle Iseut's family or that Mary might be descended from Isolde of the White Hands. I quite like the replaying-old-stories trope, and to me it's closeness of feeling and mindset that works best to connect the characters, not blood kinship diluted over hundreds of years.<br/><br/>Anyway, despite that, I actually found it more of a page turner than most of du Maurier's other works. I'd open it up and look up what I thought was five minutes later to discover that an hour had somehow passed. I can't put my finger on exactly why this was, but I enjoyed the book, anyway.

Review by

As a child I remember my maternal grandfather had a reasonably well stocked library and in it included most of the works of Arthur Quiller-Couch (Q). So it was with some interest that I discovered that this book had been started by Q and finished by du Maurier at the behest of Q's daughter so was intrigued as to how this collaboration would work.Firstly let me say that it appears seamless and it is hard to see which author wrote what (good or bad depending on your taste) although there did seem a noticeable quickening in the pace towards the end.A chance meeting between Linnette LeWarne,a pretty but haughty young woman recently married to a much older man but still with dreams of romance, and a Bretton onion seller Amyot leads to an unlikely romance when Amyot rescues Linnette and her husband from a run-away coach accident with predictably disastrous results. This is interspersed with some good old Arthurian legends of a similar love affair between Tristan and Iseult. The prose was generally excellent,the Cornish scenery was wonderfully portrayed particularly as the mist descends for the final curtain call as was the evocative easy going way of life therein. Although being Cornish myself may have some reflection on my opinion here. But that said at times it was fairly pedestrian almost scholarly in pace at times. Also there did seem an over reliance of an interest and knowledge of the Tristan Iseult affair which held back the overall feel of the novel IMHO.On the whole I found this was an interesting collaboration if nor overly gripping one.

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