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Rule Britannia by Daphne du Maurier

Rule Britannia (1972)

by Daphne du Maurier

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (17)  Danish (2)  All languages (19)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
We throw away things that might harm us- memories, dreams…” –Emma

This is a story of an unconventional family and neighborhood who hangs on to each other during the US take over in London.

I’ve read a lot of book reviews about this novel even before I started reading this, and I saw a number of reviewers that said that this cannot compete to other DuMaurier’s work, specifically Rebecca because this is very basic. To be honest, I cannot agree nor disagree with them because this is my first ever Daphne DuMaurier’s novel (and although I first heard about Rebecca years ago, I haven’t had the chance to read it, hopefully I’ll read it this year!) but I love the way this story was told. Although this is, in a way, a historical fiction and the voice of the novel is serious from the beginning until the end, I still enjoyed my reading process mainly because behind the seriousness of the ideas given by the story, the characters offer a wide variety of perspective coming from the generation before that even the current one can relate very well to. To be honest, there are times that I always look forward to the end of every chapter because I am anticipating that there might be a funny action that might take place, and most of the time it did not fail me.

My favorite character in this novel is, of course, Mad, a woman of 79 (she turns 80 at the end of the story. Her birthday is kind of a combination of happy and sad. You’ll know why after you read this!) and Ben, a young boy. I love the uniqueness of Mad’s character presented in this story, she is strong in spite of her age, and I really admire her tenacity and decision-making all throughout the novel. I can now add her up to my list of my women literary heroes because the characterization of her is just wow. And what I mean with ‘wow’ is that Mad’s character is real yet still unique. (Hope you guys are still getting my point in here). Meanwhile, I also love Ben’s character because I just love this kid. Well, if you will read this novel in this instant, I don’t think I need to justify myself on why I love his character because surely you’ll love him too. But just in case you will not read it this instant, I’ll tell you: Ben is a funny, funny, and very funny kid. His kind of funny is not intimidating or tiring instead it is the kind of fun that either makes you smile wide or laugh hard (you choose your term of preference because I know it’s the same) he’s plain cute, and I’m a sucker for fun and cute characters whatever the genre I’m reading. I really love it when even though the story is on a serious tone, the element of simplicity and lightness is still present because it makes me feel close to the literary piece and its author even more. It feels like the novel is not just a recount of what is happening but of what is really happening. Because to be honest, in real life, even though we all experience darkness and heaviness and sadness, there will always this concept of breathing in and out, and that is what I saw in Ben’s character- he is a breath of fresh air for the novel.

This novel, I can say, is simple yet exciting. It is slow-paced at times but when the events heightened, it heightens. I guess, no one can really go wrong with a classic. 4 out of 5 stars to this. ( )
  primadonnareads | Feb 11, 2018 |
What would it be like if the UK and USA became reunited as a single nation? Would we really call it USUK? du Maurier's tale of the Cornish reaction to this partnership foisted upon them without warning was a "fun" read and thought provoking... I still can't get over the name of the new nation - I can't help it, it looked like "you suck" to me... ( )
  TerryLewis | Jun 12, 2017 |
relevant, as the UK considers the Brexit. The characters are lacking a little bit and some plot twists are a little far fetched. But it is an enjoyable read and the unknowns keep the pages turning. It's partially a political commentary, it displays suspect traces of racism, and it is arguably anti-American – or maybe just anti-stupid people. ( )
  sarah.kenney.9275 | Jun 23, 2016 |
Super uneven - du Maurier is always a bit hit or miss for me (I love Rebecca, My Cousin Rachel, The Birds...not so much Jamaica Inn or Don't Look Now). Sometimes it's hard to tell whether she's a great writer who riffs on pulp themes or a pulp writer who sometimes hits on something great, which is true of many authors!

Re: Rule Britannia especially, it felt very uneven, as though it were a combination of several drafts - a satirical comedy version and a serious suspense/romance take on the same premise. At times things would seem quite serious and dramatic, and at others the narrator would seem like a parody character and the most absurd could-never-happen-in-reality things would happen and be taken as normal! I almost stopped reading midway through, but I did want to know what would happen enough to go on.

I wouldn't recommend it as a first or even second du Maurier novel, but if you're already a fan it's a fun oddity (being her last novel published ever) about an 80-year-old British woman leading a rebellion against US invaders. ( )
  KLmesoftly | Mar 13, 2016 |
Daphne du Maurier's final novel is an odd one. I hope it was intended as a satirical farce, but somehow I doubt it. I perhaps might have understood it better if I knew more about British politics in 1972. This is clearly an anti-American piece, but it doesn't exactly regard greater Britain all that highly either. It strikes me as an odd tirade by a cranky old woman telling a story about another exceedingly cranky eccentric old actress who lives life like she has never left the stage and goes Mao (as in chairman) to foment a rebellion. There is some rather surprising bits of casual racism in here that I find bizarre even for 1972 when this was published. Calling a young black boy a "darkie" ... Really? Jeez. Anyway I think I probably speed read through some of the parts once I decided the book was failing me. The Americans are invited to invade Britain to form the YouSuck coalition ... I mean the USUK coalition and the American plan is to turn everything into theme parks to solve the unemployment problem. Maybe this should be shelved with "The Mouse That Roared." Actually, that's an insult to the Mouse. Sheesh, I guess America really has a worse image problem than I thought.

The intro to the Virago edition was informative and probably helped me understand the book the little that I did. I'm a little undecided how to rate this. I decided on 2 stars because for me it was less than what I consider an average good read. However, it IS well written - just that the story is rather off. And I did enjoy reading parts of it much more than my short review suggests. In a word, I was disappointed. ( )
  RBeffa | Mar 10, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)

Originally published in 1972, the novel perhaps illustrates du Maurier’s lingering resentment at the influx of US troops to Cornwall during WW2 and at the time of writing to the possible transformation of Cornwall into nothing but a theme park. The book extends this concern to Britain as a whole.

The UK has left the EU and is apparently bankrupt. Its inhabitants wake up one morning to no news on TV or radio and the presence of US troops on their streets. A union between the UK and the US (to be called USUK) has been arranged and imposed from on high. The book is concerned with the impact of all this on a strange mongrel household presided over by a determined matriarch, known as Mad.

du Maurier of course does not take this in the direction an SF writer would have done. Her focus is firmly on the locality - in and around a small town in Cornwall - though wider events are mentioned. Egged on by Mad, civil disobedience blooms and is presented as a trigger for the rest of the country to begin to resist the changes.

Despite the murder of a US serviceman, the destruction of a US warship and various other incidents there is a lightness of touch to the narration and as a result there is little sense of real jeopardy for the main characters, and a consequent failure to ensure the necessary suspension of disbelief.

Perhaps, though, the invaders of Iraq and Afghanistan might have benefited from reading this book as they may have gained more insight into how resentments at such takeovers are easily stirred, and not so easily calmed.

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Maurier, Daphne duprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blythe, GaryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Westland, EllaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Glads, a promise, with love. Bean

Kilmarth, November 1971 - March 1972
First words
Emma awoke to the sound of 'planes passing overhead, but she was not fully conscious, and the sound merged with her dream
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Emma wakes up one morning to an apocalyptic world. The cosy existence she shares with her grandmother, a famous retired actress, has been shattered: there's no post, no telephone, no radio - and an American warship sits in the harbour.

As the two women piece together clues about the 'friendly' military occupation on their doorstep, family, friends and neighbours gather around to protect their heritage. In this chilling novel of the future, Daphne du Maurier explores the implications of a political, economic and military alliance between Britain and the United States.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385020384, Hardcover)

Emma, who lives in Cornwall with her grandmother, a famous retired actress, wakes one morning to find that the world has apparently gone mad: no post, no telephone, no radio, a warship in the bay and American soldiers advancing across the field towards the house. The time is a few years in the future. England has withdrawn from the Common Market and, on the brink of bankruptcy, has decided that salvation lies in a union - political, military and economic - with the United States. Theoretically it is to be an equal partnership; but to some people it soon begins to look like a takeover bid. Daphne du Maurier is concerned not only with what would happen to this country under what is virtually occupation, but also with the effect on human relationships. In Emma, looking at it all with clear young eyes, Daphne du Maurier has drawn one of her most enchanting heroines; and this engrossing book shows once again what a versatile and perceptive writer she is.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:49 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"Emma wakes up one morning to an apocalyptic world. The cosy existence she shares with her grandmother, a famous retired actress, has been shattered: there's no post, no telephone, no radio and an American warship sits in the harbour. As the two women piece together clues about the 'friendly' military occupation on their doorstep, family, friends and neighbours gather round to protect their heritage."--Back cover.… (more)

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