I found this difficult going and was almost going to give up half way. The story is based on the author's own life as a student in Paris and his experiences at the end of the 19th century. Little Billee is the chief character with the Laird and Taffy as his associates. They all occupy lodgings in the Latin Quarter and get on amicably together. This group makes the acquaintance of Trilby an orphan of mixed Irish and French parents who supports herself and her brother by modelling. Add to the mix a German Polish singer by the name of Svengali.
Little Billee falls in love with Trilby and intends to marry her. On getting to know this his mother appeals to Trilby that marriage to her son would ruin him for ever. In true self sacrificing spirit Trilby disappears leaving Billee saddened and distraught.
Years later a singer of repute appears on the scene - La Svengali . Though technically superb it is felt that she moves stiltedly and almost like a puppet. To everyone's amazement it is the old Trilby. Very early on in the story the fact that Svengali could hypnotize Trilby was apparent but it is only with Svengali's death that Trilby is able to break free from this strange mesmerism.
For me it was a tough read but I did want to read something of this du Maurier to see whether it was in any way related to his daughter. For me it wasn't anything close to Daphne du Maurier's classics.