Barb's Reviews > My Cousin Rachel

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
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's review
May 13, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: read-in-2009, favs-of-2009
Read in August, 2009

This is the second novel I've read by Daphne Du Maurier. I read 'Rebecca' earlier this year and I thoroughly enjoyed both books. There is a quality about these two stories that is hard to describe. DuMaurier is able to create a nearly timeless feel to her stories and both gave me the feeling of distant familiarity. I wondered if I had seen the movies so long ago that I couldn't remember anything at all specific, but yet had a vague sense of what would happen.

The story is about Philip and Ambrose Ashley, confirmed and dedicated to bachelorhood. They are cousins, Ambrose is Philip's guardian and the only parent Philip can remember. They share a tender admiration and devotion to one another that is rare among men.

Due to his health, Ambrose is required to winter abroad in a warmer climate. Philip is rather surprised when he learns that Ambrose has married a distant cousin of theirs who lives in Florence. He grows concerned when he receives a letter from Ambrose begging Philip to come to Italy because he fears his new bride maybe his undoing.

Philip rushes to Florence but sadly is too late, his cousin Ambrose is dead and his new bride is gone. Philip is convinced that she is the person responsible for Ambrose's death. When he meets Ambrose's wife weeks later he slowly sets aside his convictions and gradually falls deeply in love with her. As his passion grows stronger he makes impulsive decisions that will change the course of events and the way he feels about his cousin Rachel.

There is a balance and symmetry within this story that makes it that much more interesting. We learn how Ambrose was affected by his first and only love relationship, how his personality changed because of his feeling for his wife and then we see the same emotions and changes in Philip.

While the reader learns nearly all of the story from the book jacket
it is still none the less a taut and engaging story that has you wondering and changing your opinion several times before the book is done.

Daphne Du Maurier has the ability to make words flow over you like water in a stream, she is so smooth, her work is pure pleasure to read with never a word out of place. Here's an example; 'The moon, so nearly full, hovered with swollen cheek above the bay and wore about his face the look of a wizard man who shared my secret.'

I highly recommend this one.
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Reading Progress

08/10 page 65
17.38% "I was trying not to cry at the library this morning when Ambrose died..."
03/06 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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Misfit Du Maurier is good, no?

message 2: by Pat (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pat Thanks for the review Barb, this one is next on my list. I'm reading Rebecca right now and I find myself reading entire pages over again because du Maurier's writing is so beautiful.
You are right when you say there is no word out of place. It's like each and every word is essential to the story without any fillers, fluff or boring dialogue to distract you.

Barb Misfit-Good yes!

Pat- you put it very well...she is fluff free!


Misfit Wait until you guys go back to reading our current batch of authors being published now. D du M and Mary Stewart will forever taint with, with a minor exception or two.

message 5: by Pat (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pat Yes Misfit, du Maurier and Stewart are in a league of their own. BTW, thanks for starting the book groups on both these great authors. Strange how we pass up older novels thinking they will be too old fashioned. Then when we finally read them, we sink right into the book like we belong matter what the time period.

Misfit I am really finding that my favorite reads are from long-lost authors/books than the current crop. The Pamela Belle books are just landing and I can't wait to dig into one of them this weekend.

Those groups are fun, especially as you end up meeting new people.

Barb Periegurlie,
Thanks for the compliment.
I've finally found a favorite author in Daphne DuMaurier.

Hannah Barb wrote: "I've finally found a favorite author in Daphne DuMaurier."

She IS good, no doubt about it. MCR was fascinating to me because I was still wondering about the motives of Rachael after I closed the book on the final page. duMaurier wove a complex and mysterious character with Rachael.

Barb DuMaurier does darky and twisty very very well.
I suspect it is because she lived dark and twisty...

Hannah Barb wrote: "DuMaurier does darky and twisty very very well.
I suspect it is because she lived dark and twisty..."

Haha - yes! One writes what one knows.

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