© 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.
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."
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.
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.
I honestly write these reviews in a spirit of sharing and helpfulness. I have no idea why I always end up sounding so snotty...
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 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.
Life long fan of the mystery story. I like books where something actually happens, so history and biography are favorites of mine also. I also think that even good books are improved tremendously when an actor performs the narration.
DuMaurier spends way to much time inside the head of the idiot Phillip, which is the only way to justify the length of this book. Fortunately, Johnathan Pryce's perfect narration makes this a delightful listen, even though the story is kinda lame.
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