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My Cousin Rachel [Paperback]

Daphne du Maurier
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 2002
A ³thumping good read² from a 20th-century master.

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Product Description

From Library Journal

Du Maurier was a very popular writer during her lifetime, but after she cashed in her chips in 1989, many of her books have gone out of print. This 1951 story is told by young protagonist Philip Ashley, who is cast together with Rachel, his uncle's widow, whom he comes to suspect might have played a role in the man's demise. Is Philip next?
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


³From the first page . . . the reader is back in the moody, brooding atmosphere of Rebecca² -- THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wound up as a hair-raising mystery. April 22 2014
By Carolyn TOP 1000 REVIEWER
I heard Daphne Du Maurier equated with gothic mystery. "My Cousin Rachel" is my introduction. It comes across as general fiction, a slow pace. A simmering plot is a sound technique but it wasn't offset by a burst of events, except too late to propel the novel as a thriller. There was no reward of full disclosure, which is called for in a story that doesn't abound with action. The introduction sets up something more macabre than most of the story contains.

An Englishman is groomed to take over his Great-Uncle's estate, after whom he was named. Philip loves Truro, Cornwall and is content overseeing Ashley caretaking and crops. His Great-Uncle's son, Ambrose, raised him since his parents' early passing. Daphne instils us with this relationship exceedingly well. We feel how dearly they are son and Dad. With Ambrose's doctor advising dry weather abroad, Philip is already managing their enterprises. Readers understand this is home and Philip's rightful place, well before Ambrose writes about illness and concern over a new marriage. The author shows psychology so well, we don't consider Philip's and his friend Louise's suspicions farfetched. We are on board their questions about Rachel Ashley.

A tone of intrigue enters when Philip takes Ambrose seriously and sails to Florence, as fast as mid-1800s transportation can convey him. We embark on a proper mystery investigation and are excited to know what Philip will discover, whom he will see. Other than the anticipation of acquainting Rachel at his home shortly after, I hoped for a great deal more suspense. The novel becomes a portrait of obsessive anxiety, amidst months of pleasant discourse. There was no fear or hurry, until the final few chapters. Had this title not been wound up as a hair-raising mystery, I would rate its literary prowess highly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Daphne at her best April 28 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love the book. The mystery remains to the very end. Was Ambrose murdered? Was Cousin Rachel a "bad" person. AND what happened after the book ended? Did Philip Marry Louise? This book cries for a sequel I think every reader writes one for himself. Daphne du Maurier writes such readable books. My Cousin Rachel might be one of her best
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Did she or didn't she? Oct. 26 2008
By Misfit TOP 500 REVIEWER
That is the question that will keep readers on the edge of their seat until final twist on the very last pages. Phillip Ashley was orphaned at a young age and raised in 19C Cornwall by his older cousin Ambrose. Health issues force Ambrose to spend time in warmer climates and he meets and marries a distant cousin Rachel, the widowed Countess Sangaletti. A cryptic note arrives from Ambrose hinting at being poisoned and Phillip heads to Florence to find Ambrose dead of a brain tumor (so the doctors say.....) and Rachel disappeared, with Rainaldi her close friend and "financial advisor" handling her affairs.

Phillip heads home and as rightful heir takes over running the family estate, but constantly broods on his hatred of Rachel and builds an image of her that is completely different when he comes face to face with her. Instead of the murdering she-devil he's built up in his mind, Phillip doesn't quite know what to make of this tiny, elegant and very enigmatic cousin of his. Rachel weaves herself into the lives of Phillip making herself indispensable to the household until Phillip finally finds himself in love with her and forgets his prior suspicions. Phillip realizes his majority at his 25th birthday and he presents Rachel with what Ambrose would have willed to her if he had lived long enough to sign a new will. At that point everything changes between Rachel and Phillip and .........

Well I'm not going to tell you, read it for yourself. This was a fabulous read that had me gripped from the very first page and kept me guessing until the very end (actually she still keeps you guessing but you have to read it for yourself to find out why). There's a good reason Du Maurier is considered the master of romantic suspense. Highly highly recommended. 5/5 stars.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional emotional insight April 12 2004
An astonishing look into the mind of a reckless young man driven close to madness by jealousy and suspicion. Going even deeper than "Rebecca", this book explores the confusing shadow-play of modern romance and its darker side: obsession. The ending is perfect, leaving just the right questions posed and unanswered. I've read this book three times, and I'll surely read it again. Btw, the BBC did the perfect serialization of this book in the 1980s, with Geraldine Chaplin in the title role. How come this isn't available on video?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Philip Ashley: Tortured or Torturer? March 8 2003
Before reading this book, you must clear your mind of preceptions inferred by critics insisting that Du Maurier is a writer of romance. First and foremost, Du Maurier writes about murderers. Like Patricia Highsmith, she masterfully allows you to see through their eyes and feel all that they feel regarding the misdeed they contemplate or have already committed. As in most of her male-narrated fictions, you will find yourself so enthralled by the circumstances observed and described that you inadvertantly cheer for and empathize with a protagonist as immoral as Highsmith's Tom Ripley is ammoral.

Philip Ashley is such a creation. Here, you must depart from Richard Burton's 1953 movie version of this character---in the film of the same name, we watch a young and beautiful Burton pout and snarl rather than see the events through his eyes. In the novel, Philip is the product of a woman-free household. He is young, sheltered and almost churlish from his lack of society. Living on a large Cornish estate with his older cousin Ambrose, Philip is groomed in tradition--he will run the Ashley estate and become a magistrate like his cousin before him; he has no need for women fussing about him. In short, he has learned Ambrose's lessons quite well. Imagine his surprise when Ambrose departs for Italy and months later writes back to inform Philip and the staff at the estate that he has taken a wife--a half-Italian distant cousin, Rachel Sangiletti. Compound this surprise with letters received from Ambrose describing a deteriorating health punctuated with headaches, violent outbursts and an apprehensive distrust of his wife's frivilousness with regard to money.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars three stars
The book was not bad but I think the author wrote too much about the letters which Philip had found. I am sure that the last chapter was the best part of the book. Read more
Published on June 2 2003 by Cornelia Prutej
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of Du Maurier
This book is great. I just happened upon the film version of this book a couple months ago and liked it enough to give the book a try. It was my first Du Maurier and I loved it. Read more
Published on April 24 2003 by Amy L Contrada
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of Du Maurier
This book is great. I just happened upon the film version of this book a couple months ago and liked it enough to give the book a try. It was my first Du Maurier and I loved it. Read more
Published on April 24 2003 by Amy L Contrada
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting...
The word Interesting covers a lot of ground. It can mean Unique or Fascinating, and it is a polite way to say you think something is ugly or stupid. Read more
Published on Aug. 6 2002 by Cuckoo Pine Nut
5.0 out of 5 stars 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... Read more
Published on July 9 2002 by Lleu Christopher
5.0 out of 5 stars A real life love drama
This is one of the most fascinating and moving novels I have ever read. The story is not about pirates, smugglers or wildly romantic adventures. Read more
Published on May 23 2002 by Jos Erdkamp
4.0 out of 5 stars did she or didn't she????
dapne du maurier's books--all seem to gave tragic shades to them. we see through only phillips eyes--it is his feelings about racheal that form our own. Read more
Published on May 17 2002 by sruti
4.0 out of 5 stars My Cousin Rachel
I usually don't enjoy books written from a male point-of-view, but this one just kept getting better & better. The ending was GREAT! Read more
Published on Dec 13 2001 by M. Schrock
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