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My Cousin Rachel
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My Cousin Rachel > Week 4- Chap. 21- 26

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Charlene Morris | 1110 comments Mod
Discussion for the end of the book.


Laurie I just finished and I was pretty blown away by the end. This story moved so slowly during the middle half of the book. And then it simply races to the end, or at least it felt like that to me. I'm sure most people could sit and argue for hours over whether Rachel was guilty or not as Philip questioned in chapter 1. I know which side I'm on.

I enjoyed this story more than Rebecca in some ways but not as much in others. I found it more suspenseful than Rebecca, which made this a really good read. I never felt like Rebecca dragged, but the ending in this one seems more satisfying for me. An open-ended resolution works better here than it usually does. I give it 4 stars since it was a great story but it dragged a bit while Philip was busy falling for Rachel. It was more like a schoolboy crush that I hesitate to call it love. That's partly why it was slow since his attitude seemed so juvenile. However, another great book from Du Maurier.


Charlene Morris | 1110 comments Mod
I just finished the book today. I enjoyed it the first time but this second time was better. I guess because I wasn't expecting that "Manderley" sort of atmosphere.


Charlene Morris | 1110 comments Mod
From the reading group guide, "Rachel is often described as "impulsive". Do you think this is accurate? How else could Rachel be describe?"

I don't think impulsive would be the right word to describe Rachel. Emotional may be a better word, especially since we see everything from Phillip's view point. As for another word to describe Rachel, I would manipulative. She just seemed to know too easily how to react to each individual in the book.


message 5: by Kathleen (last edited Jun 18, 2017 04:48PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kathleen | 193 comments Charlene wrote: "From the reading group guide, "Rachel is often described as "impulsive". Do you think this is accurate? How else could Rachel be describe?"

I don't think impulsive would be the right word to descr..."


I think I agree with you, Charlene. She seems too calculating to be impulsive. Even if she wasn't guilty, I would find it hard to believe that she didn't know what she was doing every step of the way. (Oh ... except that last step I guess. Ha!)


Kathleen | 193 comments I thought it was interesting how (view spoiler)

I think I might like Rebecca better if it has more atmosphere. I expected this to be a little more dark and brooding, and missed that. It was a good read though--definitely suspenseful.


Charlene Morris | 1110 comments Mod
Another question from the reading group guide: " If Rachel indeed was trying to kill Philip, would he be justified in letting her unknowingly walk to her death? Is your response affected by the fact that Philip, unlike Ambrose, was living in his own country and might have escaped more easily a plot to poison him?"

I will answer when I get home from work today.


Charlene Morris | 1110 comments Mod
I would say no. Phillip is not justified in letting Rachel unknowingly walk to her death. A simple sentence saying to stay off the bridge was all that was needed. I do wonder if Louise seen through Phillip's neglect and thought he did it on purpose. If she did, would she have told authorities?

Based on Phillip's status in the community, I honestly think that the authorities and courts would likely believe anything that Phillip would have told them.

As for escaping a poisoning plot, I don't think that would have been as easy since Phillip handed the property over to Rachel. Even if he wanted to build a separate home, Phillip doesn't have the control over the money or from what I can tell, money of his own. Pelyn would be the only house to take him in as a guest but it wouldn't be permanent. Phillip's attitude probably alienated his neighbors.


Laurie I agree that Philip would not be justified in allowing Rachel to fall to her death. He didn't know for sure that he was being poisoned although I think he was. Philip certainly allowed her to walk onto a possible death trap since he had the perfect opportunity to warn her. He almost did warn her when he told her to be careful. It's hard to judge him harshly for letting her walk out there when he feels relatively sure that she killed Ambrose and tried to kill him.

He would never have been convicted of killing her since he could claim simple absent mindedness. And as a justice of the peace, he is largely above suspicion.

Philip wouldn't have needed to live in the house with Rachel as at one point he said he could go live in a cottage. I don't remember where he said that, but clearly he had another residence on the property to move into.


message 10: by Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ (last edited Jun 23, 2017 04:44PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 351 comments I read this novel for the second time with two other groups. It was my second reading & so far it is my favourite read of the year. This is all the more amazing for me as usually I have to like the characters in a book & I only liked Louise & her Dad. I thought Ambrose was a self satisfied prig & Philip was wild, violent & spoilt.

I wavered on how guilty Rachel was, but now I do think she quite definitely poisoned Ambrose, didn't poison Philip when he got so sick, but did the second time when he was becoming a nuisance.


Kathleen | 193 comments I may have misunderstood something--I'll have to go back and re-read. My take, because of the last sentence, was that Philip was convicted, just not hung. And I thought he said something to Louise that gave away that he knew he was sending her to her death. So I assumed Louise turned him in. I'll have to go back and see if I can find the reference.

And I agree--while it may have been understandable, it certainly wasn't justifiable.


Laurie Kathleen wrote: "I may have misunderstood something--I'll have to go back and re-read. My take, because of the last sentence, was that Philip was convicted, just not hung. And I thought he said something to Louise ..."

Kathleen, look back at chapter 1. After Philip remembers watching the body hanging as a boy, he ponders his current life. He says,
The point is, life has to be endured, and lived. But how to live it is the problem. The work of day by day presents no difficulties. I shall become a Justice of the Peace, as Ambrose was, and also be returned, one day to Parliament. I shall continue to be honored and respected , like all my family before me. Farm the land well, look after the people. No one will ever guess the burden of blame I carry on my shoulders; nor will they know that every day, haunted still by doubt, I ask myself a question which I cannot answer. Was Rachel innocent or guilty? Maybe I shall learn that too, in purgatory.


So I see that paragraph as meaning that he is living free but in a kind of prison of his own making because of the burden he carries.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 351 comments Charlene wrote: "From the reading group guide, "Rachel is often described as "impulsive". Do you think this is accurate? How else could Rachel be describe?"

I don't think impulsive would be the right word to descr..."


No I wouldn't describe her as impulsive. I think her Italian friend described her as such as a casual explanation of her behaviour. Manipulative & calculating would be the words I would use.


Kathleen | 193 comments Laurie wrote: "Kathleen wrote: "I may have misunderstood something--I'll have to go back and re-read. My take, because of the last sentence, was that Philip was convicted, just not hung. And I thought he said som..."

Ooooh. I'm replaying the whole book in my mind now, thinking of it all differently. That was kind of big thing for me to forget! Thank you Laurie. :-)


Renee M Laurie wrote: "Kathleen wrote: "I may have misunderstood something--I'll have to go back and re-read. My take, because of the last sentence, was that Philip was convicted, just not hung. And I thought he said som..."

Thanks so much for this! I also misunderstood. I was certain that Philip had been convicted and was waiting to be hanged. Now I need to go and reread the beginning. That changes everything!


Laurie I reread chapter 1 twice during my reading of the latter parts of the book and again after I finished since it seemed like what he had to say in that chapter was very important. I think the last paragraph of the book is too confusing without looking back at what he said in chapter 1.


Charlene Morris | 1110 comments Mod
Carol ♔Type, Oh Queen!♕ wrote: "I read this novel for the second time with two other groups. It was my second reading & so far it is my favourite read of the year. This is all the more amazing for me as usually I have to like the..."

Louise and her father were probably the most down to earth characters. At least Louise was definitely able to read most of the characters in the book.


Charlene Morris | 1110 comments Mod
Another reading group question: "Do you think Phillip treats Louise cruelly? Is there a kinder way to treat someone who you are not romantically interested in, but who has feelings for you?"


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 351 comments Charlene wrote: "Another reading group question: "Do you think Phillip treats Louise cruelly? Is there a kinder way to treat someone who you are not romantically interested in, but who has feelings for you?""

Yes.Totally in character for his spoilt child persona though.

Charlene wrote: "At least Louise was definitely able to read most of the characters in the book.

Louise saw through Rachel like she was made of glass!


Charlene Morris | 1110 comments Mod
I think he treats her badly too. However, I wonder if it comes back to how Phillip was raised.

Louise is the only one that Phillip trust to tell her that he believes that Rachel is poisoning him. Obviously he respects and values her judgement but doesn't know how to act.


Laurie Philip treats Louise very dismissively when she says things about Rachel that he doesn't like or makes him feel that he is making bad choices. Yet she is the person he trusts most, even more than her father. It is genuinely difficult for him to see Louise as a grown woman rather than the girl he grew up playing with. I don't think that is uncommon among some people who have grown up together. It's easy for Philip to treat her badly since he seems to view her as a sort of sibling that he can be honest with even if it's harshly said and she will still be there for him. He definitely takes her friendship for granted.


Kathleen | 193 comments I can see that he might think of her as a sibling, but I got the feeling that he just thought of her as a female, and until Rachel, both he and Ambrose had no use for females.

And there are definitely kinder ways to treat someone you're not interested in. Today, we'd probably say Philip had no "emotional intelligence." :-) Like Carol and Laurie said, he was raised to be spoiled.


message 23: by Anastasia Kinderman, The Only (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anastasia Kinderman | 649 comments Mod
Did anyone else find Phillip's behavior to be just plain.....sexist? His behavior towards Rachel reminds me of some of the men today.

I don't like Rachel, I do think she was poisoning Phillip and probably Ambrose, but he physically attacks her and then basically throws a pity party because she's concerned for her safety. Sheez louise. He has no concept of how that action would be perceived by someone else.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 351 comments Anastasia wrote: "Did anyone else find Phillip's behavior to be just plain.....sexist? His behavior towards Rachel reminds me of some of the men today.

I don't like Rachel, I do think she was poisoning Phillip and ..."


I think Ambrose bringing him up with a smug attitude of "we don't need women" was sexist & made both of them ripe for the picking.


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