The House on the Strand

The House on the Strand

Book - 1969
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University of Pennsylvania Press

In this haunting tale, Daphne du Maurier takes a fresh approach to time travel. A secret experimental concoction, once imbibed, allows you to return to the fourteenth century. There is only one catch: if you happen to touch anyone while traveling in the past you will be thrust instantaneously to the present.

Magnus Lane, a University of London chemical researcher, asks his friend Richard Young and Young's family to stay at Kilmarth, an ancient house set in the wilds near the Cornish coast. Here, Richard drinks a potion created by Magnus and finds himself at the same spot where he was moments earlier—though it is now the fourteenth century. The effects of the drink wear off after several hours, but it is wildly addictive, and Richard cannot resist traveling back and forth in time. Gradually growing more involved in the lives of the early Cornish manor lords and their ladies, he finds the presence of his wife and stepsons a hindrance to his new-found experience. Richard eventually finds emotional refuge with a beautiful woman of the past trapped in a loveless marriage, but when he attempts to intervene on her behalf the results are brutally terrifying for the present.

Echoing the great fantastic stories of H. P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe, The House on the Strand is a masterful yarn of history, romance, horror, and suspense that will grip the reader until the last surprising twist.

"Prime du Maurier. . . . She holds her characters close to reality; the past she creates is valid, and her skill in finessing the time shifts is enough to make one want to try a little of the brew."—New York Times

Publisher: Garden City, NY : Doubleday ; Philidelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, 1969
ISBN: 9780812217261
Characteristics: 298 p. : geneal. table ; 22 cm


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Mar 31, 2018

Such an enjoyable read, can't believe this hasn't been filmed -- yet!? Time-travel for real adults...

Aug 10, 2017

After fighting my way through Rebecca, this author wasn't on the top of my 'must-read' list. But for whatever reason I tried The House on the Strand, I am grateful. An interesting story well told that wraps you up and carries you along.

Mar 20, 2015

This is at least the third time I've read this book, and I think it's my favorite Du Maurier. Writing was a drug to her, and Cornwall and lots of research were great passions. All these join in the novel. Some of the "science" is hokey, 45 years on. As a history buff, I too wanted to know who the people were that Richard, the narrator, visited when he went into the past, and could on some level understand why they were so real to him. The doctor thought they were hallucinations, but there was proof satisfactory to Richard that the people really existed, 600 years before--they were listed in books, etc. Ironically, the last book I read was Dan Jones' "The Plantagenets," and some of this plot revolves around a rebellion I'd just read about. Very interesting to read how it affected "real" people, from the lower orders to country gentry. It lost a star for the hokey science, though in a way that's the trouble with time travel. It's a bit difficult to really account for it, but the resulting stories can be wonderful. This one definitely makes a great read.

bergieskid Jul 19, 2013

Better than Rebecca.
A book to savor.

Krajzel Jun 15, 2012

I haven't read a Daphne Du Maurier book in quite a number of years, ever since Rebecca. This book was great, grabbed my attention from the first page and right unto the last page. Highly recommended for a quick, clean read, no bad language, no bloody scenes. Highly entertaining, a breath of fresh air.

Apr 10, 2012

"All we are, and all we seem, is but a dream within a dream..." A man in an isolated house sees visions from six hundred years before. Ms. Du Maurier does not stoop to explain how or why. It just is, and it's beautiful.

Feb 21, 2012

Intriguing time-travel story where the traveller does not move in location, only in what he perceives. So as the main character moves around following people he sees from the 14th century, he may be crossing 20th century roads and risks being run over etc. Also, the 14th century people can't see him. He is just an observer (removes the "changing the past" paradox nicely). Good read, my only complaint being it's hard to keep the characters and their relationships straight--even with the family tree in the front of the book. Among the 24 characters from the 14th century, there are only 14 distinct first names.

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