BLURB: “Orphaned at an early age, Philip Ashley is raised by his benevolent older cousin, Ambrose. Resolutely single, Ambrose delights in Phillip as his heir, a man who will come to love his grand house as much as he does himself. But the cosy world the two have constructed is shattered when Ambrose sets off on a trip to Florence. There he falls in love and marries – and there he dies suddenly. In almost no time at all, the new widow – Philip’s cousin Rachel – turns up in England. Despite himself, Phillip is drawn to this beautiful, sophisticated, mysterious woman like a moth to the flame. And yet…might she have had a hand in Ambrose’s death?”
REVIEW: As many of you will know, I discovered a love of Daphne du Maurier upon reading ‘Rebecca’, and this love has continued to grow as I progressively work my way through her numerous novels and short stories. I stumbled across ‘My Cousin Rachel’ in a charity shop and am very glad I chose to pick it up – this novel is full of du Maurier’s usual spectacular levels of suspense, mystery and intrigue, all mixed up with a little bit of romance. Philip’s level of adoration for his guardian and cousin Ambrose are clearly demonstrated from the very beginning of the book, and it is due to this that we readers feel Philip’s pain upon Ambrose’s death. We also share his instant hatred for Ambrose’s wife, Rachel, whom Ambrose often writes of in letters that become increasingly distressed and accusatory. Philip is initially convinced that Rachel killed his cousin; but when she arrives in England, his feelings towards her begin to change. Even the reader finds that they are conflicted in their feelings towards Rachel, whose character is both sweet and kind-hearted, but who still raises suspicion due to the constant recurrences that Ambrose’s letters make throughout the novel. The ending of the novel is shocking, as usual with du Maurier, but gives the reader no concrete answers regarding Rachel’s guilt or innocence, leaving us to make up our own minds as to whether or not we trust Rachel – and I must say, I still haven’t drawn my own conclusion! I would highly recommend this book!