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Book Review: My Cousin Rachel

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier (5 star review)

My Cousin Rachel

written by Daphne du Maurier

352 pages // published in 1951 // Gothic romance classic


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 cosy 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. Jealous of his marriage, racked by suspicion at the hints in Ambrose's letters, and grief-stricken by his death, Philip prepares to meet his cousin's widow with hatred in his heart. Despite himself, Philip is drawn to this beautiful, sophisticated, mysterious Rachel like a moth to the flame. And yet... might she have had a hand in Ambrose's death?

My Review

5 Star Rating

An amazing classic by Daphne du Maurier, who may be better known for writing Rebecca (my favorite!). Still, though. My Cousin Rachel? Absolutely thrilling!

This is one of those books (just like Rebecca was for me), where I breathlessly hold on to every single word while I sit in my reading nook and devour the chapters. This book just encapsulates twists in the story, and it turns in directions you didn't know were possible, yet giving you everything your heart desires out of such a maze. If I could describe My Cousin Rachel in a few short adjectives, those words would be: tasteful, refined, dark, and mysterious. Oh, and amazing.

Phillip Ashley, twenty-four years of age, has just lost the one parental guide and fatherly figure in his life. Orphaned at a young age, his bachelor uncle Ambrose reared him in his own (not always traditional) methods. These two had been incredibly close. Suffice it to say, that when Ambrose (on holiday) writes to Phillip to say he has married their cousin Rachel in Italy, the news is quite shocking, especially since it seemingly comes out of the blue. Not long after, Ambrose dies in Italy, never returning home to Cornwall. Already the questions and the intrigue have begun, and it never stops.

Eventually this Rachel, now widowed, visits Phillip at the estate which will soon be put in his name, once his twenty-fifth birthday arrives. Phillip's perspective of Rachel changes over time, from imagining the worst of her to switching to, well, quite the opposite.

This is a book with an ending that... the reader just has to make up your own mind about. It's one that makes the blood pump in your veins and makes your thinking organ to do its work. What was the author trying to say in the end? Did good or evil triumph? That's for each reader to decide. It has left me with a fantastic, absolute thrill though, that's all I know for certain.

NOTE to the discerning reader & parents: The one thing I didn't approve of is how many times the characters so easily took the Lord's name in vain.

It's a Gothic classic from 1951, and the thrilling bits unravel slowly, building tension, drawing the reader in willingly. I could hardly wait to get through each chapter because the suspense was always there on the horizon, like something dangling in front of you just out of reach, and you always keep wanting it, and more.

What intrigue.

Available on Amazon in hardcover, paperback, e-book, and audiobook format.

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This is book #4 for me in the Back to the Classics 2017 challenge.
[CATEGORY: Romance Classic]

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