I don't know what happened this time. The first time through I could not get through this collection. My mind was wandering, I couldn't even get through the sentences. I just took it off my reading shelf and ignored it for more than a year. This time though, I flew this collection. Daphne du Maurier is able to tap into the deepest/darkest parts of people and is able to wrap it up in just a few pages. I thought all of these stories were great.
East Wind (4.5 stars)-This story is just giving you a little taste of the stories you are going to read in this collection. Reading about a remote island where the inhabitants find themselves acting out once a wind blows a boat with foreign sailors ashore is great. The ending shocked me. It was so sudden that I had to re-read it to make sure that I read it properly. And in typical du Maurier fashion there is definitely dark humor in play at the ending when as a reader you realize that the character of Guthrie didn't need to do what he did.
The Doll (5 stars)-Wow. First of all, I hate dolls. They freak me out, and I don't like the glass eyes following you around. This story about an unknown narrator who leaves a letter found by someone in which you can see the narrator's increasing madness when it comes to a woman he is obsessed/loves who is in turns focused on a doll.
And Now to God The Father (4.5 stars)-The character of Reverend James Hollaway can go kick rocks. Hard. Seriously though, I loved how you get to see the inner workings of this supposed religious man.
A Difference in Temperament (5 stars)-This one made me laugh. Mostly because you get to see how a couple acts and thinks and you realize everything would be solved if they actually spoke up without being passive aggressive to one another. This one had a dark humor flavor to it as well. Not as much as East Wind though.
Frustration (5 stars)- Was hilarious from beginning to end. This and A Difference in Temperament were more let's laugh at how human beings act and how all of their plans go up in smoke. The Doll was more let's be afraid of ever interacting with other people again.
Piccadilly (4 stars)- This one was not as great as the other stories. And considering I loved the other ones that's not a real complaint. It just stuck out a lot more compared to the other stories. This got the collection back to a "darker" sentiment.
Tame Cat (5 stars)-Heartbreaking. Seriously. You will feel for the young girl called "Baby" by her "Uncle" John in this one. Being proud to return home to be with her mother and show her how she has changed. She gets her eyes opened in more ways than one.
Mazie (4 stars)-Once again this one was not as great as the other stories. I was not as engaged with this one. It probably was because Tame Cat was so good and I wished that one had gone on a bit longer.
Nothing Hurts for Long (5 stars)-A woman's awakening to what state her marriage is really in after witnessing the implosion of her friend's marriage. Once again there was a sly dark humor running through this one. You knew that the main character was going to get a pie in her face by the end, and du Maurier did not disappoint.
Week-End (5 stars)-Funny (which makes me kind of messed up by the way) from beginning to end. Watch young love die. Seriously though, it did make me laugh. And notice how the title of this story is labeled.
The Happy Valley (5 stars)-I dithered about this one a bit, but honestly it was kind of all over the place until the very end. But, it needed to be since you could feel the confusion of the main character until the final reveal which I thought was brilliantly done. I actually got a shiver up my spine when I got to a certain part and the ending.
As His Letters Grew Colder (5 stars)-The end of an affair. Seriously. It was wonderful to read from beginning to end. It reminded me of Sex and the City when (spoilers)
Carrie and Big begin their affair and you see how hot and passionate it was and how it went to indifference over time in a 1 minute montage.
The Limpet (4.5 stars)-Not the strongest to end on in this collection. It was still great though. Reading about a woman's constant complaints about her life though without her even realizing what a schemer she really is and also how she is at turns naive.