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Search tags: My-Cousin-Rachel
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review 2017-07-25 00:00
My Cousin Rachel
My Cousin Rachel - Daphne du Maurier This author is amazing with the mystery. She delivers it in a slow burn that leaves you wanting to know more even at the end. Sometimes historical fiction doesn't keep my attention, but this did completely.
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review 2017-07-13 17:51
My Cousin Rachel - Daphne du Maurier
I listened to the audiobook for My Cousin Rachel, and it only took two hours to finish. I based my assumptions of this story off the two-minute trailer for the upcoming film adaptation.  While there were heavy implications that Rachel would be the villain, upon reading Daphne du Maurier’s book I can easily say that my sympathy for her supposed victim Philip Ashley is lacking and that his blindness towards others is the real evil.

The primary source of enjoyment when reading this story derives from the classic suspense plot and the Gothic undertones that remind me of Henry James’s Turn of the Screw or the movie Crimson Peak (especially when it comes to all that tea, am I right?) If I was already sensing this kind of literary layout, then I should have suspected that the protagonist would be a selfish and ever-so-slightly unhinged young male heir to a considerable fortune.  Philip hears only what he wants to hear, and honestly I can’t see Rachel’s actions as villainous, but rather powerful in the fact that a woman is claiming her right to live richly and well without marrying.

My two questions: what the heck with Rainaldi? Did anything happen with Louise?
 
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review 2017-07-06 18:35
My Cousin Rachel, by Daphne du Maurier
My Cousin Rachel - Daphne du Maurier

I thought to read this, my second du Maurier novel, after recently seeing the film adaptation with Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin. The story balances upon the question of whether or not Rachel is a villain. I was interested to know if the novel might be more definitive about the answer, and it seems to me it is. (Also, I enjoyed reading Rebecca.)

 

Perhaps because I saw the film first, it felt more like a mystery than the novel. The novel illuminates even more the influence of perspective, as it's written from Philip's (English, young, male landowner) first person point of view. I was most engaged with the novel in those moments when I questioned his perspective and instead considered Rachel's. I've started keeping a reading diary, and many of my notes focus on the ways in which Philip is ignorant: for example, he finds Rachel (like all women) to be mercurial and emotionally manipulative while he himself is often moody and simply ignorant of the effect his words and actions can have. Though almost 25, he's childish, and like a child, grows churlish when his immaturity is pointed out to him.

 

I was also interested by the character of Louise, the daughter of Philip's godfather. She's clearly interested in marrying Philip, and the whole county, including Rachel, is behind the idea. Philip is resistant; he at first wants to remain a bachelor as his beloved cousin and guardian Ambrose was for so long. He's also unused to the company of women and has a narrow view of them and marriage. What interested me most was that Louise is the first character to voice suspicions about Rachel; later in the story, at a key moment, she once again wonders about Rachel's character and possible misdeeds. This novel is not one in which all the men or all the women are wrong; it's more nuanced, thankfully.

 

My Cousin Rachel low-key critiques privileged male perspectives and women's roles through its storytelling techniques. The writing and narrative are engaging as well, and I look forward to my next du Maurier.

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review 2017-06-20 22:19
My Cousin Rachel - Daphne du Maurier

I listened to the audiobook for My Cousin Rachel, and it only took two hours to finish. I based my assumptions of this story off the two-minute trailer for the upcoming film adaptation.  While there were heavy implications that Rachel would be the villain, upon reading Daphne du Maurier’s book I can easily say that my sympathy for her supposed victim Philip Ashley is lacking and that his blindness towards others is the real evil.

The primary source of enjoyment when reading this story derives from the classic suspense plot and the Gothic undertones that remind me of Henry James’s Turn of the Screw or the movie Crimson Peak (especially when it comes to all that tea, am I right?) If I was already sensing this kind of literary layout, then I should have suspected that the protagonist would be a selfish and ever-so-slightly unhinged young male heir to a considerable fortune.  Philip hears only what he wants to hear, and honestly I can’t see Rachel’s actions as villainous, but rather powerful in the fact that a woman is claiming her right to live richly and well without marrying.

My two questions: what the heck with Rainaldi? Did anything happen with Louise?

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review 2016-09-16 01:48
My Cousin Rachel - Daphne du Maurier

God, I love Daphne du Maurier. Is there any greater storyteller? 

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