Thursday, January 16, 2014

Review - My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier

Book Summary

Orphaned at an early age, Philip Ashley is raised by his benevolent older cousin, Ambrose. Resolutely single, Ambrose delights in Philip as his heir, a man who will love his grand home as much as he does himself. But the cozy world the two construct is shattered when Ambrose sets off on a trip to Florence. There he falls in love and marries - and there he dies suddenly. In almost no time at all, the new widow - Philip's cousin Rachel - turns up in England. Despite himself, Philip is drawn to this beautiful, sophisticated, mysterious woman like a moth to the flame. And yet ...might she have had a hand in Ambrose's death?

My Review - 4

I read Rebecca in 2012 and it is now an all time favourite, top 3 of all time.  After reading this one, My Cousin Rachel I realize the amazing Daphne Du Maurier writing is memorable.  It should be read slowly and fully enjoyed.  Just like the best tasting wine or tea that you smell, allow to stay on your tongue, enjoy while steaming hot but is just as good when luke warm, the older it gets or the longer it steams, the better, ohhh yes, Du Maurier takes you on an incredible journey with her writing. Even though I didn't love the story as much as Rebecca I appreciated her writing even more.

Phillip told the story of him and Ambrose's life, living in the mansion without any females, including the help around the home.  When Ambrose goes away and marries, Phillip doesn't understand but this is where the mystery starts as Ambrose dies suddenly and Phillip receives letters from him that allows you to assume on the circumstances and make judgments on his widow.  Phillip wants to hate his cousin Rachel but once she comes to visit you see the spell put over Phillip immediately.

The naïve, no experience with woman Phillip was done so well, completely irrational and funny.  I enjoyed laughing at his expense and rolling my eyes at him.  I also felt sorry for him because in my opinion Rachel was a manipulator.  The great suspense throughout the story is surrounding Rachel, is she what Phillip believes, is she to blame for Ambrose death?  Then comes the unethical puppy love, due to his lack of experience, it was embarrassing to read but suspenseful to see how it all comes together.  I thought oh Rachel, you are good.

The ending is mysterious, you know something bad is going to happen and when it does you are left with so many questions, in an amazing way.  I think both Rachel and Phillip are impulsive.  The difference is in experience, understanding consequences to actions, Phillip needs time to mature.

You will enjoy the debate thoughts you have at the end.  Was Rachel to blame or not - what do you think?

Favourite Quotes

It was happening so quickly that I had no time, no moment for reflection back upon the hundred images I had formed of her during the past eighteen months.  The woman who had pursued me through the night and days, haunted my waking hours, disturbing my dreams, was now beside me.  Page 87

'There are some women, Phillip,' he observed, 'good women very possibly, who through no fault of their own impel disaster.  Whatever they touch, somehow turns to tragedy.  I don't know why I say this to you, but I feel I must.'  page 282

...truth was something intangible, unseen, which sometimes we stumbled upon and did not recognize, but was found, and held, and understood only by old people near their death, or sometimes by the very purse, the very young.  page 316



  1. Oh it sounds SO good. I must try both some day.

  2. I really need to try Du Maurier's writing but want to start with Rebecca. It seems to have influenced so many writers.

  3. I was so excited to read your review of this book. Sounds like a great book! I do have Rebecca on my shelf, but maybe I will grab this one first. Thanks for a great review :)

  4. I have this book on my TBR pile and hope to read it this year. Your review has me wanting to start it right now, but have to books I'm currently reading this week. Of course one is the audio book "Agnes Grey" by Anne Bronte'. I have a few classic books on my 2014 list of books to read.

  5. I loved Rebecca and I do mean to read this someday, so I'm glad you liked it!

  6. I could never decide who was really to blame....and I loved this book even more because of it :) You are making me want to try another of this author's books ASAP! Great review!

  7. I still have never read a Du Maurier book. Heresy, I know! But reading reviews like this inches me closer. :-)

  8. The ending is a killer, isn't it? I honestly have no idea how I feel about whether she was guilty or not. I never did like or trust her, so perhaps that sways me into the Guilty camp. I think the "Is she or isn't she" debate is one of my favorite elements of the novel.


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