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My Cousin Rachel

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Book Overview

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING RACHEL WEISZ AND SAM CLAFLIN!"From the first page...the reader is back in the moody, brooding atmosphere of Rebecca."--The New York TimesFrom Daphne du Maurier, the... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

8 ratings

I love Daphne du Maurier!

I'm still reeling a bit over the end....I'm finding it to be the assumption of the reader as to what happens to Philip. Daphne du Maurier is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors! I have also read "Rebecca" which I'd one of my all time favorites. I recommend this to anyone who loves the Gothic English mystery.

hard to put down

Such a mystery. She draws you in just as she did Phillip. I did however have a hard time understanding all the descriptions of English wording but quickly caught on. If you enjoy English countryside and mystery this is a good read for you.

Another great read!

I have read this book several times and love the movie with richard burton and olivia de Havilland 1952. The book is wonderful and having viewed the movie, when reading about rachel and philip having tisana, one can just imagine the scent of the tea itself. A must read

Who Does Gothic Better than Du Maurier? No One!

My Cousin Rachel is by Daphne du Maurier (288 pgs) and was written in 1951. There is something about the way du Maurier writes that makes it hard to put one of her books down. And this is no exception. From the opening sentence, I was utterly and completely enthralled!! The story is told by Philip Ashley, a young orphan who was taken in to raise by his cousin Ambrose, a young man not much more than a boy himself. And it was just the two of them for many years. No women around at all....not even on the staff. There was never a need, when the men could get along so well without them! When Ambrose's health starts to falter a bit, he is pushed to spend the cold, damp winters in a warmer climate. Imagine Philip's surprise when, one winter, Ambrose writes that he has married a woman from Florence! Her name was Rachel, a widow that was struggling to survive the debt her first husband had left. Not only was Philip surprised, he was jealous. Ambrose had always been his and his alone. He never had to share him with anyone. When Ambrose decides to stay in Florence to help settle some estate problems for Rachel, Philip is upset. And when Ambrose's correspondence starts falling behind, he even starts to get worried. About this time a letter arrives for Philip that is shaky and completely unlike Ambrose. Philip quickly decides to make the trip to Florence. Ambrose complains of being sick and is having doubts about Rachel, his torment. But when Philip arrives at the villa in Italy, Ambrose has already passed away, and Rachel has left the country. With revenge on his mind, Philip goes back to England to find he will inherit the entire Ashley estate on his twenty-fifth birthday, which is only 6 months away. No provisions at all have been made for Rachel, Ambrose's widow. This is just how Philip would have it, until the day that his cousin, Rachel arrives in England. She is not at all the type of woman he expected. The thing about this book is that once you read it, you will have more questions than when you started!! Is Rachel the sweet, innocent angel she seems to be? Flirty, but naive? Or is she a calculating, evil temptress, who only uses men for her personal gain? And what about Philip? Is he driven mad by jealousy and obsession? Or is there something else at work? The ending is anything but straightforward, and the reader is left to his own to answer these questions. The mystery surrounding Rachel unravels slowly, but in such a way as to keep you on the edge of your seat. I actually liked this book far more than I did Rebecca, du Maurier's more popular work. Excellent, Gothic read for a stormy and dark night!!

This is a very good book!

My Cousin Rachel is one of my favorite books of all time. As I dived into its pages, I found myself being led through the emotions of the narrator. Daphne du Maurier wrote the book in such a way that every new emotion is perfectly believable--the narrator's reaction is real and understandable. I eagerly read on, wishing to know the truth behind the mystery surrounding the widow Rachel. Finally, I got to the end. It forced me to think and speculate. I had to draw my own conclusion from the facts--which, I think, is what partly made the book so unforgettable. If you want mystery, an interesting plot, content for not only eating but digesting, or just plain enjoyment, you'll like this book.

Fascinating romantic mystery

After seeing the movie (which is, for some reason, not available on video last time I checked) and reading the book, I recently listened to an excellent audiobook version of My Cousin Rachel, narrated by Jonathan Pryce. I actually like this story even more than Du Maurier's better known Rebecca. The novel is told from the standpoint of Philip, a self-centered and inexperienced man of twenty-four. It is a challenge to have a story told by a very flawed narrator, but it makes things more interesting if it's done well, as it is here. Philip was raised by his older cousin Ambrose, who dies shortly after marrying the mysterious Rachel. Rachel comes to the estate, which is soon to be in Philip's possession. He initially blames Rachel for Ambrose's death, but almost immediately falls under her spell. He is soon helplessly in love with her. The rest of the novel is a psychological mystery --is Rachel kind and generous or ruthless and conniving, as Philip first suspected? The genius of My Cousin Rachel is in its two primary characters, Rachel and Philip. The first is the archetypal mysterious, beatiful woman who may be either good or evil. Philip is also a complex and interesting character. Just as the reader becomes exasperated at his naivete and immaturity, we are shown that he is also capable of great love and devotion. His faults, we understand, are due to his background. My Cousin Rachel has a classically English gothic atmosphere (the setting is Cornwall), a la the Bronte novels. It is at once a mystery, a romance and a fascinating psychological study.

"...Rachel" is a buried gem sure to fascinate and entertain.

This book (and the 1952 film, with Olivia de Havilland and Richard Burton) have haunted me since I first read the book over 20 years ago. It's a mesmerizing and artful tour de force, building high atmosphere, suspense and intrigue - and using relentless ambiguity. Du Maurier (12 or 13 years after "Rebecca" - and in my opinion the added maturity shows in more complex characters, circumstances and moral nuances) masterfully spins her tale, weaving in vivid images of a warm and fertile Italy contrasted against those of a cool green England with an economy of description. A naive young man (Philip) in his early twenties, raised by and adoring of his bachelor uncle (Ambrose), is plunged into suspicion on news that his beloved uncle has suddenly and mysteriously died abroad soon after marrying a previously unknown cousin (you guessed it - Rachel) in Florence. Ghastly fantasies mount as Philip awaits Rachel's arrival in England. But she turns out to be a worldly woman of unanticipated charms, who turns young Philip's head entirely. Is she a villainous murderess? Or merely a world-wise woman torn by affection for a dashing much younger man, bearing a marked resemblance to her husband of so few months? Delicious issues are raised, including what are the moral constraints of a woman in a world which allows her few ways to financial freedom. Does the fact that a woman understands finance necessarily mean that she doesn't love a rich husband? Is an Italian woman with a mastery of healing herbs necessarily a poisoner? Can a world-wise woman who has long since lost her innocence nonetheless be captivated by the dewy youthfulness of a young man? And, as with all du Maurier, all of the events occur in lush and beautifully described surrounding events and places. I'm a big reader, and this is one of my big favorites!

Excellent, plot-twisting, suspenseful book.

This is a very well written book that immerses the reader in a foreign world. The story is excellent and the characters are fascinating. I was intensely wrapped up in this book from start to finish. I recommend this book highly.

My Cousin Rachel Mentions in Our Blog

My Cousin Rachel in Horror Where You Least Expect It
Horror Where You Least Expect It
Published by William Shelton • October 18, 2022

Fear, where it is least expected, is all the more rich an experience. Such as when it is found among the pages of a story of romance, or a bucolic tale of life mundane. Here are my favorite tales with surprisingly dark moments.

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