Friday, 4 August 2017
Book Review: My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier
Author: Daphne Du Maurier
Publication Date: 2017 (1951)
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Won in a Giveaway
Orphaned at an early age, Philip Ashley is raised by his benevolent older cousin, Ambrose. Resolutely single, Ambrose delights in Philip as his heir, a man who will love his grand home as much as he does himself. But the cosy world the two construct is shattered when Ambrose sets off on a trip to Florence. There he falls in love and marries--and there he dies suddenly. Jealous of his marriage, racked by suspicion at the hints in Ambrose's letters, and grief-stricken by his death, Philip prepares to meet his cousin's widow with hatred in his heart.Despite himself, Philip is drawn to this beautiful, sophisticated, mysterious Rachel like a moth to the flame. And yet... might she have had a hand in Ambrose's death? (Goodreads Synopsis)
I read a few of Du Maurier's novels back in my late teens, but not this one. Therefore, I am only coming to it after having seen the new film adaptation. I loved the film and, reading the book now, I believe it was a pretty thoughtful and faithful adaptation. One thing I love about this story is the ambiguity. Philip is a completely unreliable narrator, so we never really learn the truth about Rachel and, like Philip, are left to form our own opinions. It is a captivating character study and the book gripped me from start to finish even though I already knew the plot from the film. Rebecca remains my favourite Du Maurier work but My Cousin Rachel now comes in a close second.