I see dovegreyreader has come up with a good reading trail for "Daphne" -- so I thought I might add a bit more information to the background of the book, over here. One of the strands to the story that I found most fascinating -- and utterly consuming, during the research -- was the relationship between the Du Maurier family and J.M Barrie.
Barrie was the author of Peter Pan, and a huge quantity of other plays and novels. His writing was inspired by, and threaded through, the Du Maurier family, to quite an extraordinary degree. Daphne's father, the actor-manager Sir Gerald du Maurier, played a great many roles in Barrie's plays, and his fame and fortune was in part the result of this. Daphne once wrote that Barrie understood her father better than anyone else did, and that he used this knowledge to create the plays in which Gerald starred.
Indeed, Gerald met Daphne's mother, Muriel, when they starred opposite one another in Barrie's play, "The Admirable Crichton"; and Gerald went on to appear as the first Captain Hook and Mr Darling in "Peter Pan", a story that was inspired by Daphne's cousins, the five Llewelyn Davies boys, whom Barrie subsequently adopted after they were orphaned. Their father, Arthur, had died of cancer just before Daphne was born in 1907, and their mother, Sylvia, who was Gerald's sister, and a celebrated Edwardian beauty adored by Barrie, also succumbed to cancer, three years later; a tragedy retold in the Hollywood movie, 'Finding Neverland', with Kate Winslet playing Sylvia and Johnny Depp as J.M Barrie.
The true story was rather darker than the Hollywood version, as I'm sure you can imagine. I live close to the graveyard in Hampstead where the Du Mauriers and Llewelyn Davies are buried, and their gravestones show that three of the five boys -- The Lost Boys -- died in tragic circumstances. George, the oldest, was killed in the trenches of the First World War, soon after he had left school. Michael drowned as an undergraduate at Oxford. And Peter -- the namesake for Peter Pan... well, his story is interwoven with Daphne's in my book, and his death was a terribly sad one.