© 1951 Daphne du Maurier (P) 1989, 2007 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
This is Daphne Du Maurier best work - subtle but so intelligent. Rachel is insidious in the most wonderful way. The narrator is the best I have ever listened to, hands down.
After being orphaned, Philip was raised by his older cousin Ambrose Ashley on an estate in Cornwall. As a very young man, Philip learns that the older cousin that he reveres has met and married a widow named Rachel in Florence, Italy. Jealous because of the separation from his cousin Ambrose, his emotions turn to suspicion when letters from Ambrose arrive suggesting that he is ill and that his wife Rachel may actually be harming him. When Philip travels to Florence to investigate, it is too late, and his beloved cousin Ambrose has already died. Rachel has left town. There was no provision in Ambrose's will for Rachel. He has left everything to Philip. Later, Rachel turns up in England and makes a visit. Initially prepared to hate her, Philip at once develops an intense fondness for Rachel. The visit lasts for many months, and Ambrose, too begins to doubt her sincerity. He suspects her of treachery...even of poisoning him, but is still drawn by his affection for her. The central suspense of the story is whether Rachel is an evil conniver or simply a person who is misunderstood, even if exceedingly materialistic and spendthrift. This is a highly engaging story, whose complex, ambiguous characters keep you wondering long after you have finished it. The narration is superb.
I admit to being a huge du Maurier fan, so perhaps I am biased in favor of "My Cousin Rachel" from the outset. I loved listening to it.
(I started reading it years ago, but lost the book at a spa, absent-minded fool that I am).
I didn't find Rachel to be entirely unsympathetic. She is intriguing. (Strangely I thought frequently of the inscrutable "Anna Barton" in "Damage," another woman who left tragedy in her wake).
Philip is not one-dimensional. Like Hamlet, he is unable to act. He does not seem to know who he is or what he wants, although he describes his life in detail, a life anchored to traditions and earthy activities.
As in "Rebecca," the one who is absent is also very much present, always.
The book is hardly flawless, of course, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Jonathon Pryce is a good narrator, to be sure.
Now on to "The King's General."
Professional Wig Consultant owner of Bambi's Makeover. 50 Yrs. old grew up around wigs & books. My mother always wore a wig & read a book.
Love a Good Book? This was a well written, well spun tale of suspense. A gripping tale that draws you in.
If you love Daphne du Maurier, don't miss this one
I usually use Audible books while commuting. This book I carried around on my iphone wherever I went. It's a page turner, meaning I listened when I woke up and when I went to bed. Jonathan Pryce was terrific and Daphne du Maurier is a drama queen, in the best sense.
very well written, and the narrator is superb - but when this book ended I was left wondering too many things and there were too many open-ended things that never got resolved - its ok to have one or two - but this book ended and I felt like the last 3 chapters were ripped out. too many unanswered questions and unexplained things. not a satisfying read. BUT.. the writing is beautiful, and this is a great book club read.
Lover of ideas who feels no guilt at all about her pleasures.
This is truly a flawless narration of a very flawed novel. Jonathan Pryce's extraordinary talent kept me rapt as this slow motion train wreck story (very very painful to 'watch') reached it's puzzling conclusion.
If I've in any way understood, the novel creates a mystery as to whether Cousin Rachel is a criminal or a saint. The conclusion is that she is neither, of course, and that it is the 'My' in the title that causes all the trouble. It's an excellent thesis, I think, but the problem with the novel is that the narrator/hero is so sweet and suffers so horribly that Rachel becomes completely unsympathetic, regardless of her understanding or intent. The second half is agony and the conclusion hardly satisfying but if you appreciate the vocal gifts of fine English actors, you'll have that to hold on to.
I am a retired Court Reporter and I LOVE books. All kinds of books but my favorites are mysteries and period books. I like civil war books and some biographies.
I loved the story but hated the ending because there wasn't an ending. It just stopped. The story was great. It had me from the very first but I yelled out loud when it just gave up. You have no idea what happened.
I have a DLitt and Phil Degree which must imply a level of discernment? I just clocked over at 60. The significance is that I have read a whole lot of books. I'm now revisiting some of my all time favourites - and enjoying some first time round books. Books are my friends. Audible is JUST AMAZING - takes me back to pre -TV days, with my ear pressed to a crackly transistor radio - but now SO MUCH better and more 'classy' from a Kindle!
Something about the contrasts in du Maurier's novels appeals to me. This book is a thriller - without the overstated, exagerrated, intense, pacey dramatics and climaxes of modern writing. In Rebecca the characters develop, they take shape, they mature, they are believable and rounded. At the same time the plot develops through innuendo, implication and suggestion. Just wonderful! One can imagine these people and these events in one's own backyard. The writing style is beautiful - refreshingly cliche free - limited to the 'essential'. Every sentence has a purpose, every paragraph conveys meaning. I think this is why Daphne du Maurier is so worthwhile. There's Rebecca, The Scapegoat - equally brilliant!.
Hearing a favorite book read aloud
Ambrose, because he was made so real through Philip's admiration for him and memories of him
No, but I've loved his voice when I've seen him in films.
"Rachel - my torment!"
What a brilliant listen! It did take me a while to get into this: Jonathan Pryce's style may not be to everyone's liking, but it grew on me. Du Maurier weaves a twisting tale of intrigue - such that you are constantly switiching allegiances between Rachel and the narrator. Who is the mad person? At one moment you're sure it's her - the next, it's obviously him! There is a strong seam of feminist thinking here. Listen carefully as Du Maurier describes the differences between men and women in the stereotypical language of her days: women are seen as emotional, lacking in stability etc; - this plays directly into the narrators assessment of Rachel and is something to keep in mind as you assess his judgment of who Rachel is and what she has done to Cousin Ambrose!!
"Everyone should listen to this book!"
This is a startlingly good book. Jonathan Price reads in calm, hypnotic style which complements the burgeoning bewilderment the story weaves around the listener. It is a consummate description of the way men cannot understand women and vice versa.
Philip is so likeable and so real that you almost want to shout out encouragement or warning to him, depending on your take of cousin Rachel! Rachel is the cleverest of characters, an ethereal, not quite there person, you struggle to understand other than by the ways those around her react. That this depiction of a man's man so utterly in love with a woman, was crafted BY a woman is a credit to Du Maurier. As a story in its own right, it is perfect, and stays with you long after you finish it. If you loved Rebecca -you will be amazed at how different this is and yet how accomplished. If you havent read/listened to any Daphne yet...I urge you to start here. Bliss.
"Intriguing, atmospheric mystery"
A similar writing style to Patrick McGrath and a similar atmosphere to "Gillespie and I" by Jane Harris. As the story slowly unravels, we are unsure whether the narrator is reliable or not.
The narration was so perfect, I hardly noticed it. Every inflection and accent was pitch perfect. It helped create a wonderful atmosphere.
An intriguing thriller mystery that keeps you guessing till the end.
An atmospheric story of romance and destruction, My Cousin Rachel is arguably just as good as the more famous Rebecca. The plot is centred around the mysterious woman who unexpectedly comes into the life of Philip Ashley, when his idolised cousin Ambrose marries her in Italy, and subsequently dies. Philip, who was raised by Ambrose, is heartbroken by his cousin’s marriage, and devastated by his death, and harbours a strong resentment towards the woman who stole Ambrose’s affection and kept him away from Philip. His anger is driven by the troubling letters he received from Ambrose not long before his death, letters which seem to suggest that Rachel was the cause of his untimely demise… When Rachel turns up at Philip’s Cornish home, high emotions come to the fore, and fate has more cards to play.
Du Maurier’s work is spell-binding because of her admirable skill in characterisation. She manages to portray the moods of the young and immature Philip Ashley so convincingly that the reader at once understands his narration from his point of view, but is also able to see further than he can himself, and interpret his behaviour – and that of the other characters – more than he does himself. The book’s plot is tantalising and engaging, the characters well-rounded, interesting and sympathetic. The prose is beautifully executed, and the structure of the book is magnificent.
The narration by Jonathan Pryce is excellent. He is a fantastic actor and does justice to this incredible book, reading very convincingly and engagingly.
"My Cousin Rachel, A good holiday read"
I listened to this book with great delight, although slow to start, it soon turned into something I couldn't put down. My daughter, aged 15, listened to it too, after loving "Rebecca" by DduM she duly loved this too and is now on a DduM phase! We both found the story line a little predictable, but that didn't detract from the whole, evocative listening fest.
Mrs. Amanda Rothwell, Dordogne, France
"WOW LOVED IT"
My biggest question is why is Daphne du Maurier mainly known for Rebecca - a good book don't get me wrong - but this was brilliant, and having Jonathan Pryce narrate it was such an excellent choice. His voice is velvet.
I expect Rebecca is more famous because of the film but this is more than worthy of being put to film - Give it a go I am sure you will not be disappointed.
This is an exquisite reading of a gripping book. Mystery, intrigue, paranoia, love, all set against the backdrop of a bleak Cornish landscape. The reading is simply stunning. The book was superbly written. My first encounter with Du Maurier - I will definitely download more. All up, it is about an hour too long (so 4 stars not 5 - but if I'll download the unabridged version, what should I expect?).
"Doesn't get much better than this"
Superb reading by Jonathan Pryce. All the characters thoroughly convincing. Difficult to find any faults whatsoever. Definitely worth the money.
"super and clear writing"
This was my first audible book and superbly narrated ... loved every minute of it
A wonderful story and excellently read by Jonathan Pryce. I have read the book a couple of times, but having it read to me was a real luxury. It was hard to tear myself away.
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