Friday 21 May 2021

MY COUSIN RACHEL by Daphne du Maurier


My Cousin RachelMy Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been meaning to get stuck into this book for a while, and when I mentioned it to hubby the other day, he recommended I make it my next read. So, I did!

Philip Ashley was raised by his much older cousin, Ambrose and looks up to him. Ambrose is a little spiky, sickly in the winter and doesn't seem to like women much. So when he tells Philip he's met someone abroad and marries her, Philip is concerned. But that's nothing compared to what happens after Ambrose dies. Yet, Cousin Rachel is unlike anyone he's ever met before, and Philip eventually finds himself caught up in her very alluring web...

OMG. This turned out to be quite a wicked and tangled story dripping with so much ambiguity, I'll be thinking about this for years to come.

Is Rachel guilty? Is she innocent? Funny enough, none of that matters once you get lost in this lush and bleak gothic story. There's just so much crammed into this, and all of it packs quite a punch.

I have to admit, I was pretty much hooked from the very beginning. There's something highly addictive about Daphne du Maurier's writing. She paints such an intricate picture of what should be mundane situations and locations, but darkens them with an air of malice that draws me in every time.

The same thing happened with Rebecca. I love getting swept away by lush prose and wicked stories, so this is my perfect reading ambience.

As much as I suspected Rachel early on, but kept changing my mind, I found it really hard to feel much sympathy for Ambrose or Philip. These privileged men are wealthy, have such high opinions of themselves and despise women so much for no other reason than choosing not to be exposed to them, that it was easy to dislike them. And to not trust much of what Phillip narrates.

I mean, I did feel some empathy for Philip because he's an orphaned boy who was raised so closed off from the rest of the world, that he didn't get a chance to experience much through his own eyes. His whole life, even after his cousin's death, is seen through Ambrose-coloured glasses.

There's a lot of commentary woven into this story about strong independent women who are comfortable in their sexuality. As well as the silliness of men who lose their shit over a woman, while still trying to convince everyone that women are weaker and too emotional. 😒

That's okay, we all saw the truth. And I love how it was expressed in this story via Philip's obsession and suspicion.

I really enjoyed this darkly gothic treat, and didn't expect that ending. Or maybe I did.

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