Review: My Cousin Rachel – Daphne du Maurier

034 - My Cousin Rachel

Rating – 5*

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you will know of my unyielding love of Daphne du Maurier. She’s probably my favourite author of all time. This is one of the few of her books that I have read more than once, though my first – and only previous read – was at least 6 years ago! As a result, rereading this was like reading a whole new book and I absolutely loved it.

Our narrator, Philip, was orphaned at a young age and grew up with his Uncle Ambrose running a family farm on the Cornish coast. Due to his ailing health as he ages, Ambrose spends Winter abroad and it is one Winter, in Florence, that he meets Rachel. From there, we end up back in Cornwall and we go down a path of suspicion, intrigue, and quite honestly some madness.

I don’t want to give too much away, because the beauty of du Maurier’s work is the mystery and the intrigue that’s there, it’s that what keeps you turning the pages. Come the end, you still don’t really know what happened and it is up to you as a reader to decide what the truth is. Daphne du Maurier masters the unreliable, and at times dislikeable, narrator in this book. Philip is misogynistic, he is rash and harsh at times but throughout it all I did feel empathy for him and I did connect with him.

The titular character, much like in Rebecca, remains a bit of an enigma. Even at the end you never know her true motives, what she’s done, what she is intending to do. She is described as petite and delicate, but she can command a room better than any of the men in this book! At times I loved her, at times I loathed her, and by the end of the book I still don’t know which of those feelings is overriding.

I never thought I’d say this, but I may have enjoyed this more than Rebecca. Throughout the entirety of the novel there is tension and suspense which I have loved in all of du Maurier’s work. The ambiguity is also there, which is something I felt was mastered in this book compared to Rebecca – which while good did have undertones which if you look hard enough point you in the right direction. As a reader I was constantly swaying between theories, I didn’t know which characters to believe, which to doubt and that was happening throughout the book on the basis of individual sentences and intonations.

Honestly, this book is a masterpiece from my point of view. I’m maybe a bit bias in that du Maurier can rarely do wrong in my eyes, but this book had me on tenterhooks and I read it in 2 sittings. I could have read it in one, had I not needed to sleep. I adored this – and it has me so excited to finish reading du Maurier’s bibliography.

8 thoughts on “Review: My Cousin Rachel – Daphne du Maurier

  1. I just finished my 4th du Maurier book and she’s well on track to being my favourite author as well. This is one of her works that I’m particularly excited about getting to 😊

    • I hope when you get around to it you like it as much as I did! Rebecca will always hold a special place in my heart, however cliche that sounds, but My Cousin Rachel is damn well near to it in terms of what book of hers I’ve enjoyed the most.

      I’ve got seven novels and one short story collection left of her bibliography to read. I’m not ready for it to be over!

      • That’s the thing isn’t it; when you love an author you want to devour everything they’ve written immediately, but you also want to savour every taste and make it last!

      • Well I started my personal challenge to read all of du Maurier’s fiction way, way back and I powered through the first half of her bibliography within a year. I then realised that I didn’t want it to end so soon, so I now limit myself a bit. I think it also does the books justice because they don’t bleed in to each other and I feel that I do appreciate them a lot more now I read one every 2-3 months!

  2. Great review! I’ve only read Rebecca, but I loved it so much that I now want to read everything du Maurier wrote as well! May read My Cousin Rachel next!

    • It makes me happy when people say what you’ve just said – that they read Rebecca and now want to read more! My Cousin Rachel is definitely a good place to go after it – also her short stories if that’s something you enjoy! 🙂 I hope when you get around to it you enjoy it! ^_^

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