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?
©2014 Daphne du Maurier (P)2014 Hachette Audio
As a huge Graham Greene fan, one of her novels popped up in 'people also purchased' while looking through GG's 'also'. I chose "My Cousin Rachel" based on reviews & commentary about DDM's ability to maintain suspense throughout the novel.
They were right! And such a unique type of suspense - a low level of dread that made me ache for the ending or final surprise reveal (if there was going to be one) from the first 30 minutes.
One of those rare novels that leaves you feeling you're still living the narrator's life long after you're done.
I've spent my entire life around the written word - writing it, editing it, teaching it. So, it's no wonder I also love to read it!
In my 20+ years as a story analyst for Hollywood film studios and production companies, I've read my share of stories and we are always looking for that "sense of foreboding," no matter the genre. This is easy to achieve for a scene or two but difficult to sustain. My Cousin Rachel not only opens with a sense of foreboding but Daphne du Maurier has the skill to continue it all the way to the very last word.
I have been a longtime fan of du Maurier's Rebecca; in fact, it's in my Top 10 all-time favorite novels. But, I found My Cousin Rachel to be just a tad more accessible than Rebecca and equally as compelling.
This is the story of Ambrose Ashley and his ward, his young cousin Philip, who are torn apart by the appearance into their lives of a distant cousin named Rachel. When Ambrose, who is not in good health and must spend winters in warmer climates, moves to Italy for the winter and marries Rachel suddenly, Philip is not pleased. In fact, he's jealous and thinks the worst of Ambrose's new bride. But when Ambrose ends up dying while abroad, all kinds of evil thoughts float through Philip's mind, prompted by letters to him from Ambrose. The most important thought is: did Rachel poison Ambrose?
And then Rachel comes to England and meets Philip. At first suspicious, Philip soon finds his cousin Rachel to be sweet and kind and considerate...or, is she?
This gothic-romance is stirring and engaging and a wonderful literary experience. I highly recommend it.
In addition, the narration by Jonathan Pryce adds so much to the literary experience. He captures the smoldering tension floating through Philip's mind and makes the novel easy to listen to and easy to understand. In other words, he's fantastic!
The story is engaging, the narrator completely believable in his interpretation of events. Is she guilty? Is she innocent?
I like a story that reveals itself, as this one does, through the vision of a flawed narrator.
This is the first I have listened to. A compelling performance.
Rebecca used to be one of my favourite novels, but I enjoyed this one much more. There's more of that great underlying tension and ominous feeling that makes for great suspense novels. Was Rachel guilty in the death of her husband? Is she planning another murder? Is her Italian friend plotting with her? Or is she truly bereaved and falling in love with her deceased husband's cousin?
Only the second full novel I've "read" by du Maurier, after the offbeat and intriguing audiobook "The House on the Strand" performed by Simon Vance, a personal favorite narrator, "Rachel" is an engaging and spellbinding fable that cuts to the depths of human virtue and folly. The first audiobook performance by Jonathan Price I've experienced, this one was a gem. Highly recommended.
Of the 10 or so audible books I've listened to, this is by far the best. There is so much more to Daphne DuMaurier's work than Rebecca, and Jonathan Pryce does justice to it. His voices are perfection.
She found long ago she could get away with almost anything as long as she didn't stop to explain - Edith Wharton, The Old Maid
We all three - Ambrose, Philip, and myself - feel that Rachel is guilty but of how much we are unsure. However, through both excellent writing and narration, I am in full agreement with Ambrose and Philip of one overpowering emotional conclusion: "Rachel, my torment"
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