Mary Anne is a novel about Mary Anne Clarke and the scandal that she precipitated in nineteenth century England. It was penned by her great-granddaughter, author Daphne du Maurier, who may be suspected of a bit of bias.
A precocious child, to keep the family fed Mary Anne passes her proofreading work off as that of her ailing stepfather.
She marries an scapegrace who prefers the bottle to work. To support their four children, Mary Anne writes gossip columns until she discovers more lucrative employment for her brains and body. Before long, she is mistress of Frederick Duke of York, second son of King George III.
Mary Anne revels in her powerful role but piles up debts furnishing the amenities the Duke is used to. To supplement the Duke’s allowance, she begins pedaling Army promotions — and preparing her own downfall.
Although the characters are historical figures, not one of them seems real. Du Maurier fails to provide plausible explanation for the critical pivots on which the story turns: Mary Anne’s family relationships.
Probably the most interesting aspect of the duMaurier’s account is that although the Duke’s enemies accept his adultery, they are scandalized that he pushed through promotions knowing his mistress was bribed to use her influence with him. He was forced to resign as Commander-in-Chief.
Your life will be none the worse if you leave Mary Anne on attic shelf.Mary Anne By Daphne du Maurier Doubleday, 1953 351 pages 1954 bestseller #2 My grade: C-
© 2014 Linda Gorton Aragoni