Book Review: My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Being the fan of Rebecca that I am, I thought I’d check out another one of du Maurier’s books. And this one did not disappoint!

While we never see or hear the story’s subject in Rebecca, we get the complete opposite in My Cousin Rachel. Like Rebecca, we see only Rachel from the protagonist’s point of view, calling into question the reliability of the narrator. It’s because of this fact, I find du Maurier’s stories so fascinating. Who really is the subject of the book and did things really transpire the way that the narrator says they do?

In this story we follow young Philip as he investigates the sudden death of his favorite cousin Ambrose. Is it sheer coincidence that Ambrose swiftly married his cousin Rachel beforehand, who ended up inheriting his fortune? Convinced that Rachel had something to do with his cousin’s death, Philip goes to meet her, only to also fall under her spell and find himself in love with her. In this story we see how one woman toys with the emotions of lover in order to satisfy her own selfish needs.

Likes

  • Philip’s character. Even if he did come off as a fool sometimes, I could relate to him in certain ways regarding recognizing the games people play with others in relationships.
  • Language. Simple and not over-descriptive, just like du Maurier does in Rebecca.
  • Mystery. While parts of it may seem predictable (ex. we may know that Rachel is the villain of our sorry beforehand), there is always that question of “what will Philip do to stop her?”. I also liked how he invites us to ask this question in the first chapter of the book: “My dear cousin Ambrose is dead. That is why I am writing this story…I know who killed Rachel, but I do not know how my dear Ambrose died. Was he killed too? I shall never be able to answer that question. I shall never know the answer.”

Dislikes

  • Length. Like Rebecca, I read this as an audiobook, so I’m unsure as to whether or not this was an abridged version. While I am unsure as to whether or not there is more to the story, the length seemed appropriate for the pacing of the story. However, I think the ending resolution of what happened to Rachel could have been drawn out a bit more. It seemed a little abrupt to me.

Overall, this story had the same sort of suspense I enjoyed from Rebecca and kept my interest piqued throughout the whole tale. I’m excited to read what else du Maurier has written!

Published by Ashley Weaver

I am a writer, reader, student, and teacher of literature and the English language.

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