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GROUP READS > My Cousin Rachel

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message 1: by SRC Moderator (new)

SRC Moderator | 5358 comments Mod
This is the discussion thread for the Summer 2018 Group Read My Cousin Rachel. Please post your comments here. This thread is not restricted to those choosing this book for task 20.10, feel free to join in the discussion. Warning- spoilers ahead!

The requirement for task 20.10: You must participate in the book's discussion thread below with at least one post about the contents of the book or your reaction to the book after you have read the book.


message 2: by Marie (UK) (new)

Marie (UK) (mazza1) | 2749 comments I have read several books by this author and i love the way she writes. In this instance I have listened to the Audio which is superbly narrated adding to the storyline. Essentially i see it as a book of deceit, subterfuge and counter-fuge (OK i know that is not a word). The romance is a little one sided in all cases. I think DU Maurier puffs real life into her characterisation and i can picture both Rachel and Philip although i don't ever remember seeing it on TV or film. Its definitely a 4 star read for me perhaps just a little disappointed in the ending


message 3: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia (cynthiabaxter) | 758 comments CYNBAXTER

This is the first time I have read anything by duMaurier but I liked it - I think the closest I've come to a comparable author would be Wilkie Collins, at least that's what My Cousin Rachel reminded me of in writing style. I liked the soft suspense of Did She/Didn't She and enjoyed the overall story. I wanted to see if there were any movies made from it and yes! quite a few actually, the most recent staring Rachel Wiesz and it looks pretty good! Will have to check out the movie and explore more by this author - great suggestion!


message 4: by Nick (last edited Jun 11, 2018 06:51AM) (new)

Nick (doily) | 2685 comments Nick KY

My Cousin Rachel is one of my favorite novels, and I am glad to have the chance to reread it. Writing about it is difficult, for the reason to go to it again and again lies in how the narrative progresses with an uneasy feeling of one's never knowing what's really going on. It's not that there are unreliable narrators -- rather, the situations presented are so mystifying -- the reader feels guided toward an inevitable conclusion -- but here's where the writing about the story becomes difficult. Are there inevitable conclusions?

Is this what DuMaurier is saying about love and romance in general? We simply do not know what we are getting into. A murder mystery is one thing, but even that pales in comparison to the true heartaches of people in love.

I like the Wilkie Collins comparison. Was DuMaurier continuing a "sensation" tradition that everyone else says had fallen away?


message 5: by Marie (UK) (new)

Marie (UK) (mazza1) | 2749 comments Cynthia wrote: "CYNBAXTER

This is the first time I have read anything by duMaurier but I liked it - I think the closest I've come to a comparable author would be Wilkie Collins, at least that's what My Cousin Rac..."


She is famous for Jamaica Inn but my first introduction to her was The Scapegoat which I loved.

I also think she is like Wilkie Collins in style


message 6: by Andy (last edited Jun 11, 2018 02:16PM) (new)

Andy Plonka (plonkaac) | 3685 comments Andy P.
As others have noted, My Cousin Rachel is not a novel with an unreliable narrator and seems to draw upon writers like Wilkie Collins, it is possible to envision where writers like Gillian Flynn got their ideas for character perspective. In addition it was refreshing to read a novel labelled Romance that did not contain the modern day obligatory bedroom scene, but left the romance to the reader's imagination. du Maurier also kept the plot suspenseful to the end leaving several possible scenarios until the final page.


message 7: by JennRenee (new)

JennRenee (jennreneeread) | 1354 comments I didn't particularly enjoy this book. I liked the story enough, the psychological part of the story, but it was too slow for me. I felt it took forever to really get anywhere and I was bored through most of it. I did like the story enough to watch the 2017 movie version, and I was bored with that too. So good plot but didn't like the execution. Just way to slow for my liking. I really didn't connect to any of the characters either. I know I am not supposed to really know who to trust and all that but really the only character I liked in this entire book was the godfather and his daughter. The rest just sucked! I felt they were too flawed.. beyond what I could handle. The ending was interesting though. I did really like the ending.


message 8: by Ed (new)

Ed Lehman | 717 comments I had only previously read one other book by Du Maurier....and of course it was Rebecca...which I enjoyed...but considered probably a one-hit wonder since I had heard nothing about her other works. I was wrong...definitely wrong. My cousin Rachel deserves just as much attention as Rebecca. Now I am motivated to read more of her. In My Cousin Rachel, Du Maurier, slowly sets up a tremendous tension that rivets the reader until the end. The reader knows...just knows that something is wrong and that things won't end well...but doesn't know how...especially when things seem to be going so well. 4 1/2 stars from me!


message 9: by Ava Catherine (last edited Jun 19, 2018 10:08AM) (new)

Ava Catherine | 1544 comments When I was thirteen, I discovered Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca and was fascinated by its world of Gothic suspense. I fell in love with du Maurier and read everything she had written including My Cousin Rachel.

Because so many years had passed since I last read My Cousin Rachel, and I only remembered a brief outline of the plot, I was excited to reread the book and find out if maturity had changed my perspective. I was delighted to discover the work afresh and fall in love again. Du Maurier builds suspense masterfully and slowly reveals Rachel's duplicity to create a novel that kept me hooked until the last word. I kept thinking Philip couldn't be that gullible--could he? Rachel couldn't be that evil--could she? No one writes like Daphne du Maurier.


message 10: by Wanda (new)

Wanda (oma1229) | 1695 comments I first became a du Maurier fan in junior high school with Rebecca. I read all if her books that I could find. I loved her character development and the abundant vocabulary. Her novels were my first introduction to the Gothic genre and I could not have asked for any better. Now, some 55+ years later, none of the enjoyment has diminished.


message 11: by Laure (new)

Laure (goodreadscomlaure) | 508 comments I have read 'Rebecca' and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was looking forward to reading 'My Cousin Rachel', and I was not disappointed. I do not think the gothic themes were as well developed as in 'Rebecca' and some of the tension was missing in parts of the book - Philip's 'feels' took too much of the book imo - but it was definitely a suspenseful read.


message 12: by Mhairi (new)

Mhairi | 358 comments I loved this book - I'm delighted to have chosen it for this task. I have to say I didn't feel any great sympathy for any character in particular, Louise being the only one for whom I had any feeling. Philip was insufferably stupid but still compelling, and the shadow of Ambrose's memory throughout the book was an effective device. Rachel herself was all the more enigmatic for the lack of insight into her mind; not any more sympathetic, however.


message 13: by Julia (new)

Julia (julia103) | 1985 comments I found this book very compelling and I definitely wanted to keep reading. However, I was disappointed that the ending was so ambiguous. I had expected a definite answer/proof about whether or not Rachel poisoned Ambrose. I'm leaning towards deciding that she didn't, but it was odd that the author left it open.


message 14: by Dlmrose (new)

Dlmrose | 18254 comments Mod
My admiration for Daphne du Maurier's writing only increases as I read my way through her books. This one grabbed me with the opening line- and I loved that the book closes with it as well.
I really enjoyed all the ambiguity, just when I thought I knew what was going on something would happen to raise doubt.
I think reading Manderley Forever this year made MCR even more interesting for me.


message 15: by Dana (new)

Dana (read60) | 310 comments READ 60 I am so glad to be reminded that the books I had read long ago are worth reading again. I was drawn into the story again and going to suggest it to my daughter. I will put more of her books on my to read list.


message 16: by Book Concierge (last edited Jul 11, 2018 07:08AM) (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 3975 comments Rachel, Rachel, Rachel ....

Oh, what a tangled web we weave …. Wonderfully atmospheric, gothic psychological suspense. Philip is a naïve young man who is seemingly easily manipulated by the worldly Rachel. Or is he? Is the mutual attraction a figment of his over-active imagination? Does he believe the cryptic notes cousin Ambrose sent him? Or should he shrug them off as the product of a diseased and fevered brain? Rachel, herself, is the soul of propriety one moment, and then seemingly giddy as a schoolgirl at her good fortune the next. She is flirtatious one moment, and standoffishly proper then next. She seems callously indifferent in one scene and then solicitous and concerned about Philip on the next page. She’s both captivating and infuriating!

I was second-guessing myself as often as Philip was. At the end I’m left wondering what really happened. And that’s a good thing.

4**** from me.


message 17: by Kathy G. (last edited Jul 24, 2018 06:46PM) (new)

Kathy G. | 2073 comments Kathy G.

I had read Rebecca many times and loved it. I just wasn't so sure this book would be good. But I loved it. She did a great job on each character. The suspense was wonderful. I'd like to read more of her books.


message 18: by Cindy (new)

Cindy | 915 comments Cindy F

I read Rebecca quite a few years ago and did enjoy it very much giving it 4 stars. I had a bit harder time giving this one 4 stars but in the end I did. This was most likely due to the fact that I thought the ending was good and made me think about what happened throughout the story. I was frustrated with Philip quite a bit and since I listened to the audio and he was the narrator it drove me crazy at times and I wanted to yell at him to just stop already!!! Did she or didn't she is the lasting question!!!


message 19: by Cindie (new)

Cindie | 1800 comments Cindie

Like most of the others, I had read Rebecca and loved it. I did not dive into My Cousin Rachel in quite the same way. However, midway through the book I became obsessed. So which was it? Did she poison both Ambrose and Philip? Who was the murderer -- Philip or Rachel? Who was delusional?


message 20: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (bookwrm526) | 1511 comments Bookwrm526

I'm torn about this book. I enjoyed the plot, and while the main characters were not necessarily likeable they were certainly vivid. The pacing was a little slow for my tastes, and I have recently read The Woman in White and Mysteries of Udolpho so it was all just a little too familiar, though I thought this one was a little more tightly written than the other two. This was my first book by du Maurier, and I enjoyed it enough that I will read more - but I think I'll wait a while!


message 21: by Ann A (last edited Aug 03, 2018 06:19PM) (new)

Ann A (readerann) | 953 comments I enjoyed the way du Maurier built suspense, even though there were several times I wanted to slap Philip upside the head! I may be the only person here who liked this book more than "Rebecca", in which I thought the foreshadowing was too blatant.


message 22: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne (perletwo) | 1627 comments Get real used to seeing the title phrase a LOT, because it appears at least once, sometimes several times, on just about every page up to the halfway point. Other than that, it's a workmanlike game of The Lady or the Tiger.


message 23: by Foxy Grandma (new)

Foxy Grandma (foxygrandma) | 1017 comments I read this book in high school and then again after I reread Rebecca. While it was still a good book, the third time was not the charm. Of course I still don't know who was guilty and who was delusional.


message 24: by Karen Michele (new)

Karen Michele Burns (klibrary) | 1792 comments I wasn't going to read this one for the group reads because I did see the most recent movie when it came out and I didn't know if I wanted to read it that soon after seeing the film. I'm glad I went with it! I think what I liked best about reading (listening to) the book vs the movie is that so much of the writing is internal dialog, giving it a different "feel" than the visual media. I love Daphne du Maurier and I am enjoying reading through her books. My first experience was the movie "The Birds" based on her short story and that really creeped me out, so I didn't start reading through her books until fairly recently. I liked My Cousin Rachel a lot and even though I was somewhat disappointed by the ending, in many ways it was the perfect one to keep me thinking about the book!


message 25: by Cat (new)

Cat (cat_uk) | 2570 comments Philip was so annoying! Smug for no reason, especially to the lovely Louise, who was the best character. Though I did like Ranaldi too - perfectly smarmy sinisterness.

What I enjoyed most about the book was, of course, Rachel - the range of emotions I wnet through with regards to her was huge - at various points I liked her, distrusted her, felt sorry for her, was impressed by her (girl power, getting what she wants!)

Was she a poisoner? Who knows! - and that's part of the brilliance of it!


message 26: by Amanda A (new)

Amanda A | 614 comments This is the first book I have read by Daphne du Maurier and I will be reading more of her books. I liked how the beginning and the ending were tied together. The suspense built over the course of the story which kept me intrigued. I thought the ending was a little disappointing as I would have liked to know if she did it, but I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would.


message 27: by Ceelee (new)

Ceelee I have to admit this is my second reading of MY COUSIN RACHEL I really enjoy Daphne du Maurier's novels but I read MY COUSIN RACHEL in high school and it didn't do much for me. I am so pleased GR's Seasonal Reading Challenge chose the novel as one of their Summer Group Reads and thought it would be a perfect book for the season. This time around I wasn't disappointed! The writing is so good and i could understand and appreciate what was going on in the novel now than when i was 15. Philip and Rachel's relationship was fascinating to me. At first they were in such opposition to each other, it made me think of the old soap opera characters who hate each other at first then end up getting married but mistrust pulls them apart. I didn't like Rachel very much when I was a teen but now I think she is amazing and really held her own against Philip who i thought was a little bit of a snobbish, spoiled and narrow minded jerk. I was surprised at his lack of compassion for his brother's widow and I believe it was because she was so suspect in his mind but he didn't seem particularly fond of women in general. It seemed a bit weird to me that he would change his course and begin to woo her and ended up wanting to marry her when he was so strongly against love and marriage. The book is true Gothic to the end and I loved it! A true classic!


message 28: by Pia (new)

Pia | 1073 comments After Rebecca and Jamaica Inn, by Daphne du Maurier, I was sure I was going to enjoy this book as much asI had enjoyed the others, but when I first started reading it, I felt it was too slow.

Slowly, but surely, I was completely lost in the plot and couldn't put the book down.

Daphne du Maurier is a master story teller. The plot is incredibly twisted, the characters are not what they seem and the end leaves us with a question. Did she or didn't she?


message 29: by Brooke (new)

Brooke | 1419 comments Brooke TX

This was way outside my wheelhouse, and I probably would never have read it if it hadn't been a group read selection. Even so, I can see why it has become a classic. It was slow to me, and the sort of uneasy suspense it creates isn't what I look for in a book, it's well-executed, and made for a fairly enjoyable read.


message 30: by Kristen (new)

Kristen (kristenia) | 755 comments I had already read the other two Group Reads selections and I feel like Daphne du Maurier keeps crossing my radar lately, so I happily decided to read My Cousin Rachel. I am so glad I did as I am now excited to read other books by du Maurier. I've had Rebecca on my shelf for years, but couldn't get excited about it, for some reason. I feared that this would be a slow read, but the "uneasy suspense" that Brooke mentions is actually what I really enjoyed about it. I enjoyed feeling off-balance and unsettled. I can see how it might not be appealing to all.

I never was quite sure how Philip felt. He was suspicious one moment, and obsessed the next. I spent a lot of time wanting to hit him over the head. Rachel was equally unpredictable. Was she legitimately a grieving widow, or a predator. The tension, plus some other shifty characters, had me constantly wondering who was playing who. I really enjoyed seeing how it all played out. I will definitely not put off reading du Maurier in the future.

I did kind of wish a few chapters in that I had started a tally for the number of times "My Cousin Rachel" is stated in the book. It must be at least a hundred. Somehow, this didn't annoy me, just added to the overall mysterious feeling of the book.


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