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My Cousin Rachel Paperback – March 1, 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 200 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Du Maurier was a very popular writer during her lifetime, but after she cashed in her chips in 1989, many of her books have gone out of print. This 1951 story is told by young protagonist Philip Ashley, who is cast together with Rachel, his uncle's widow, whom he comes to suspect might have played a role in the man's demise. Is Philip next?
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"IF YOU HAVE NOT HEARD, read this thing." - Books I Done Read

"A taut, well, written story that will no doubt grab you attention and not let it go until the very last page. " - A Lovely Shore Breeze

" I think it's safe to say that I was haunted by this Gothic Tale long after I finished the book. Grade A." - Musings of a Bibliophile

"Do you have books that as soon as you finished reading them, you were sorry the story ended?... My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier was such a book for me." - Reading Extravaganza

"[I]t is hard to put this story down." - Bookloons.com

"[D]efinitely entertaining and suspenseful." - We Be Reading

"A classic manor mystery in the tradition of the Brontë sisters with a modern psychological twist, My Cousin Rachel is a fine introduction to the sort of refined madness that defines Daphne du Maurier's work. " - Hipster Book Club

"In 1951, du Maurier released My Cousin Rachel and this one is, thus far in our du Maurier reading journey, A Reader's Respite's favorite... another Sourcebook's reprint and boy, are we thankful." - A Reader's Respite

"The excellent world-building and use of symbolism created a brooding, mysterious atmosphere." - Genre Reviews

"I enjoyed reading My Cousin Rachel. It was intriguing and suspenseful." - Cindy's Love of Books

"I absolutely loved and enjoyed this novel from start to finish... She is just that good." - The Literate Housewife

"The gothic atmosphere combined with the mystery of who Rachel really is, kept this reader enthralled and turning the pages quickly. " - Passages to the Past

"This is a great read that you won't want to miss if you enjoy gothic mysteries!" - S. Krishna's Books

"Filled with gothic suspense this novel will no doubt have you wondering too as to what are Rachel's real motivations and what will happen to the main characters. I throughly enjoyed this book and the characters." - The Book Girl's Nightstand

"My Cousin Rachel is a captivating Gothic story that pulses with emotion and dark undercurrents; you don't want to miss it!" - Book Review by Bobbie
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (March 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402217099
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402217098
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (200 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"They used to hang men at Four Turnings in the old days. Not any more, though...."

I'm a mystery writer, and Daphne du Maurier was one of my earliest inspirations. REBECCA is her masterpiece, followed by two other novels, THE SCAPEGOAT and this 1951 bestseller. The opening sentences of MY COUSIN RACHEL (above) are second only to the immortal opening line of REBECCA.

In 1840s Cornwall, young Philip Ashley inherits the fortune of the cousin who raised him, who has recently married abroad (Italy) and died under mysterious circumstances. Philip's pleasant life is disrupted by the sudden arrival of his cousin's beautiful widow, Rachel. Initially planning to send her on her way with a generous pension, he soon finds himself falling in love with her--even as he begins to suspect that she murdered his cousin and may be planning the same fate for him.

Rarely have I read a novel in which the tension and suspense arise almost exclusively from character. Who is this woman? What is she doing? How is the young hero going to respond to her? These questions have haunted readers since the book first appeared, and they will continue to do so for a long time to come. Reading the book again after all these years, I was amazed by du Maurier's plotting, her use of language, and the way she can create an atmosphere of foreboding that is almost palpable. Writers can learn a lot from this master, and RACHEL is a must for anyone who loves the very best in suspense.

PS: The 1952 film version, with Olivia de Havilland and an incredibly young Richard Burton in the leads, is also excellent.
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Format: Paperback
This book (and the 1952 film, with Olivia de Havilland and Richard Burton) have haunted me since I first read the book over 20 years ago. It's a mesmerizing and artful tour de force, building high atmosphere, suspense and intrigue - and using relentless ambiguity. Du Maurier (12 or 13 years after "Rebecca" - and in my opinion the added maturity shows in more complex characters, circumstances and moral nuances) masterfully spins her tale, weaving in vivid images of a warm and fertile Italy contrasted against those of a cool green England with an economy of description. A naive young man (Philip) in his early twenties, raised by and adoring of his bachelor uncle (Ambrose), is plunged into suspicion on news that his beloved uncle has suddenly and mysteriously died abroad soon after marrying a previously unknown cousin (you guessed it - Rachel) in Florence. Ghastly fantasies mount as Philip awaits Rachel's arrival in England. But she turns out to be a worldly woman of unanticipated charms, who turns young Philip's head entirely. Is she a villainous murderess? Or merely a world-wise woman torn by affection for a dashing much younger man, bearing a marked resemblance to her husband of so few months? Delicious issues are raised, including what are the moral constraints of a woman in a world which allows her few ways to financial freedom. Does the fact that a woman understands finance necessarily mean that she doesn't love a rich husband? Is an Italian woman with a mastery of healing herbs necessarily a poisoner? Can a world-wise woman who has long since lost her innocence nonetheless be captivated by the dewy youthfulness of a young man? And, as with all du Maurier, all of the events occur in lush and beautifully described surrounding events and places. I'm a big reader, and this is one of my big favorites!
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Format: Hardcover
My Cousin Rachel is by Daphne du Maurier (288 pgs) and was written in 1951. There is something about the way du Maurier writes that makes it hard to put one of her books down. And this is no exception. From the opening sentence, I was utterly and completely enthralled!!

The story is told by Philip Ashley, a young orphan who was taken in to raise by his cousin Ambrose, a young man not much more than a boy himself. And it was just the two of them for many years. No women around at all....not even on the staff. There was never a need, when the men could get along so well without them! When Ambrose's health starts to falter a bit, he is pushed to spend the cold, damp winters in a warmer climate. Imagine Philip's surprise when, one winter, Ambrose writes that he has married a woman from Florence! Her name was Rachel, a widow that was struggling to survive the debt her first husband had left. Not only was Philip surprised, he was jealous. Ambrose had always been his and his alone. He never had to share him with anyone.

When Ambrose decides to stay in Florence to help settle some estate problems for Rachel, Philip is upset. And when Ambrose's correspondence starts falling behind, he even starts to get worried. About this time a letter arrives for Philip that is shaky and completely unlike Ambrose. Philip quickly decides to make the trip to Florence. Ambrose complains of being sick and is having doubts about Rachel, his torment. But when Philip arrives at the villa in Italy, Ambrose has already passed away, and Rachel has left the country. With revenge on his mind, Philip goes back to England to find he will inherit the entire Ashley estate on his twenty-fifth birthday, which is only 6 months away. No provisions at all have been made for Rachel, Ambrose's widow.
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