I'll Never be Young Again - Daphne Du Maurier

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I'll Never be Young Again - Daphne Du Maurier

The iron of the bridge felt hot under my hand. The sun had been upon it all day. Gripping hard with my hands I lifted myself on to the bar and gazed d...

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Review of "I'll Never be Young Again - Daphne Du Maurier"

published 22/04/2016 | LiveMusicLoverLyn
Member since : 23/03/2014
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:( So sad and will miss you all. Posting and rating to the end as a few days off work. Thanks for all the reads & rates, much appreciated esp E rates, every E I give is well deserved. Ciao for now everyone.....
Pro Du Mauriers lovely descriptive style
Cons Old fashioned prose and slow start
Would you read it again?
How does it compare to similar books?

""Like a whisper in the Air" du Maurier's Descriptive Style Wins"

I'll Never be Young Again - Daphne Du Maurier

Having loved Rebecca and the adventure and atmosphere of Jamaica Inn, both which I have read twice and read some non-fiction by du Maurier, I thought I knew her work and I rate her as among my favourite authors.

The copy of ’I’ll Never Be Young Again’ that I have has an interesting reading group analysis of the book at the front of the book before the novel itself begins and I thoroughly enjoyed reading that information prior to diving into the book. Having read the book and closed the last page, I now wonder if doing so spoilt the book for me. I became too aware of Du Mauriers’ perceived state of mind whilst writing this book and this prevented me from enjoying the book for what it was, for the words on each page and the story that unfolded. For that reason, my advice to you, if you obtain the version to read is to read that information last. But do read it because it is interesting and informative and brilliantly analysed and written. With that in mind, I am being careful with this review to not spoil the book for anyone reading who decides to go on and read the book.

Daphne published her first short story in 1928; her first novel, "The Loving Spirit", was published in 1931 and I’ll Never be Young Again is her third published work and second novel.


The novel begins: ’When the sun had gone, I saw that the water was streaked with great patches of crimson and gold’. (Du Maurier). Dick is going to jump, jump into the river, he is at a crisis point in his life, then a chance encounter with older man Jake begins the adventure. Jake pulls him back to safety. They gain work on a ship and their journey has begun. They travel to Norway and Europe where they explore on foot and horseback and working another boat. The novel is about the journey, about Dick growing up and the people he meets. Ending up in Paris alone Dick soon gets into a routine as he tries to write his first novel and his young life changes again.


The protagonist Dick is a troubled young man and the story is told in the first person from Dick's perspective and with regard to telling his story as it unfolds Dick’s is a strong voice and the feel of the character is entirely male. It is a growing up book. Only child Dick (Richard) has grown up under the shadow of a domineering famous father and from when he is saved on the bridge by Jake it becomes apparent as the story unfolds on the pages that Dick seems to need someone to lean on.

This is not a travelogue, nothing like Bill Bryson’s trips around Ireland. Yes the scenery and places are described to good effect; however the crux of the story is about Dick’s life and emotions, his state of mind and how things make him feel. Du Maurier has a good knack of describing the scenery so that it comes to life. In ’I’ll Never be Young again’ she delves into the psyche, not only of her character but of the other people he encounters as well. The reader is given a strong sense of what those people were like, how they made Dick feel, how he saw them. And he certainly meets some characters, we learn about Jake too of course, described as well are some other young people they meet and the fishermen they work alongside. One night they witness a chilling event and become embroiled in the outcome, the suspense of that episode builds and is page turning. Yet the majority of the time the novel seems to amble along at its own steady and descriptive pace. Whilst Dick’s life is an adventure most of the time described, this is not an adventure novel. There is very little to drive the story forward and make the reader turn the page. The style is far more slow and steady as Dick describes his life.

I have to admit it is very rare for me to give up on a book and I nearly did with this one a couple of times. I found the story difficult to get into and the apparent slow, steady humdrum of the early pages seemed a little tiresome. I think this novel is very much of its time and once I had put it aside for a few days and returned to it bearing in mind that it gives insight into life at the time Du Maurier was a young woman, it became far more interesting. Dick is not a likeable character, he is self centred and selfish which was not unusual for young men growing up at the time and I think that is partly why the story is difficult to get into. Du Maurier's prose is of its time and perhaps having read some contemporary fiction beforehand, I needed a bit of time to settle into the style. Sticking with it though gives rewards and I am glad I did, by the time Dick has moved on to Paris the story slows down again and is almost diary like it the day to day routines and descriptions and towards the end of the novel you can see how Dick has suddenly started to grow up and how his experiences have molded him.

‘I’ll Never Be Young Again’ does not have the brooding atmosphere of later works and neither does it feature the wonderful Cornish landscape. What it does have in its cleverly descriptive pages though is wonderful descriptions that capture the landscapes of the Fjords and other places visited, so that as a reader I feel as though I have actually experienced those locations. It is possible to actually feel as though you are there like a time traveler catapulted back in time and experiencing the snapshot of early twentieth century life.

Price & Availability:

The copy I have is borrowed from the local library and is a Virago Modern classics book with a cover price of £7.99. The same version is currently offered new on Amazon at £8.99 and from 1p plus postage and packing used from various sellers on that site.


The book can be identified by its pale green cover and the front features romanticised pictures of a London Bridge and at tall ship.


I am glad that I read this book and I did enjoy it. As I was reaching the end, I delayed the inevitable of finishing the book and closing the cover for one last time, leaving the final couple of pages a short chapter unread for a few days. When I did finish the book one night, I was able to reflect on what I had read, what I had learnt and the places that I had traveled with Du Maurier, for take me there she did in a way that only she can. Similar books I have read such as Edison’s ‘The Last Ride’ and ‘Cold Mountain’ by Colin Frazier share a similar prose style, whilst the more contemporary coming of age ‘Solace of the Road’ by Dowd is an easier read due to the current terminology and modern setting. Once you become used to it the old fashioned prose becomes easy to follow and helps give the feeling of being catapulted back into another time. Dicks story is an utterly convincing one. I am happy to recommend this book and it is worth sticking with. I am not sure though that I can recommend you spend almost £9.00 on it, I would suggest therefore keeping an eye out for it in your local Library or in charity shops.

Stars: 3/5

Thanks for reading

Du Maurier D, (1932 (2005)), I’ll Never Be Young Again, Virago Press, St Ives.

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Comments on this review

  • justarube published 30/10/2016
    Good review
  • hiker published 03/07/2016
    Got to add this one to the list - and I've long since learned never to read the intro until after I've read the book.
  • Bollinger28 published 28/04/2016
    Lovely insight
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Product Information : I'll Never be Young Again - Daphne Du Maurier

Manufacturer's product description

The iron of the bridge felt hot under my hand. The sun had been upon it all day. Gripping hard with my hands I lifted myself on to the bar and gazed down steadily on the water passing under...

Product Details

EAN: 9781844080694

Type: Fiction

Genre: Modern Fiction

Title: I'll Never be Young Again

Author: Daphne Du Maurier

Edition: Paperback

Publisher: Virago Press Ltd

ISBN: 1844080692


Listed on Ciao since: 08/06/2009