I have always appreciated Dame Daphne du Murier, whose only novel I don't like so far is "Jamaica Inn." I thought that "Rebecca" was my favorite, but now I am reconsidering. "My cousin Rachel" is a magnificent suspense story, beside being - at least in my opinion - a decidedly feminist novel. Left by both her dead husbands without any provisions and in one case with debts to pay, Rachel is a survivor in a male-dominated world. Philip Ashley, who has inherited everything while the legitimate widow has been left penniless, tries to convince Rachel to marry him first by donating her the property (which is, in fact, a way of paying her for future services) and then, when she refuses the imposition of marriage, by threatening her physically. The story is narrated in first person by a completely infatuated Philip and is interspersed with references to poison and and 'extravagance' (Rachel's desire to spend money mainly on other people). Honestly, I cannot blame Rachel for acting as she does: as I said, she needs to survive and Victorian England is not kind to women. She never asks for anything, Philips donates her the estate as his own initiative on the assumption that it will entitle him to Rachel herself. He has miscalculated and - being fundamentally an immature and selfish person - he takes his revenge on her. Great read! Until the end, we are left wondering who is poisoning whom.
A wonderful, Gothic suspense. The story unfolds somewhat slowly at first, but it kept me guessing and the pace picked up as it drew to its stunning conclusion. This would be a great Book Club read because of how much mystery runs throughout the story. What are Rachel's true motivations? How much is the story shaped by expectations of the roles women play? These are just a few questions that could lead to a fantastic discussion.
Fantastic. My first read by Daphne du Maurier, and it won't be my last.
While it wasn't quite as spooky as I expected it to be, it is atmospheric, with some very nice imagery, and Rachel herself is always an enigma, which keeps the pages turning. I'd heard Daphne du Maurier compared to the Brontes many times, so I think I was anticipating more insanity, mysterious laughter, things that go bump in the night, maybe a ghost or two -- and there isn't really any of that, but the tone is still mysterious in a way that's right up my alley.
I love a book or movie with an ambiguous ending, and this one leaves lingering questions long after the last page is turned. A real treat, and highly recommended.
Good juicy Gothic romance/mystery.
I knew that du Maurier laid out every word, every scene, very carefully to draw us in to her web, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
a most fascinating and well written, captivating mystery story.
A sense of doom pervades this book from start to finish, even when Phillip and his cousin Rachel seem the happiest. Knowing what he knows of her life in Italy with his cousin Ambrose, how can he truly trust her? Yet, seeing her as she presents herself to him, how can he not trust her? The people in Cornwall whom he's always trusted don't trust her, and he certainly doesn't trust anybody from Florence that Rachel trusts. So all he has to go on are his own innocence, his gut reaction to her, and the few letters Ambrose wrote him about her. It's not enough. The major characters are so carefully drawn, including the butler and the estate itself, and the ending is both inevitable, and shocking.
Quite a good book! Certainly up to Ms. DuMaurier's style. Gets a little boring sometimes, it seems the same thing over and over. Rachel is hard to figure out, one minute you think she is an angel, the other minute you know for certain she is conniving to interfere in others lives. Only at the end do you know which one she really is. Not a bad read.
The horror of romantic obsession. The innocent young hero grows concerned when his beloved older cousin marries suddenly in Italy then becomes deathly ill. Who is this woman, cousin Rachel, who has had such a terrible effect on him? and what will happen when she comes to England? Is she a monster, and a murderess? Or is the evil in the eyes of the beholder?
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