The Shore

I’ve been to the rocky beaches of San Pedro, California and the sandy beaches of Waikiki, Hawaii, but neither of these are quite comparable to what I encountered in Cornwall at Porthcuro beach. While reading Rebbecca by Daphne du Marier I wasn’t every able to wrap my mind around the setting that is so central to the novel until I actually saw it. It is a different form of beach all together. I never understood how the rocky cliffs recede into rolling hills of course grass and as you walk along them you encounter coves of sandy beaches. The scenes truly overwhelm the senses. As beautiful as they were, its apparent how easily the experience could turn painful. There are cliffs to fall off, harsh storms brought in by the ocean, and a seclusion that could easily give the privacy needed for a murder to occur. Something could happen in one cove and people in the next one down the shore would have no idea. Daphne du Marier uses this wonderful setting and couple it with the dimension of a country house to create a pervasive romantic, yet thrilling suspense throughout the course of the novel. Though effective without the firsthand knowledge of the terrain, Porthcuro beach has actually opened my eyes to the majesty of Rebbecca’s setting and the master way du Marier utilizes it.


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