MY COUSIN RACHEL by Daphne du Maurier
Kirkus Star

MY COUSIN RACHEL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This comes closer to Rebecca than anything Miss du Maurier has done and is, I think, one of her best novels, ingeniously contrived as to plot, successfully realized as to characters. The ending has "the lady or the tiger" flavor, and the reader turns again to the introductory chapter, seeking an answer which again evades one. Where Rebecca depends almost unbearably on creation of mood and atmosphere, this hinges on character, a character as contradictory, as baffling as any in fiction. The story is unfolded by young Philip, cousin and sole heir of his cousin Ambrose Ashley, well-to-do county squire, bachelor and sportsman, in somewhat precarious health. Wintering in Florence, Ambrose falls under the spell of a widowed and distant cousin, Rachel, and marries her. Philip, shocked at the news, finds himself left in sole charge in Cornwall, and out of touch with Ambrose until he gets a frantic scrap of a message which sends him postehaste (in those days a matter of weeks) to Italy, only to arrive too late, his cousin mysteriously dead, and Cousin Rachel gone... And then she turns up in England, and Philip, too, finds her insidiously charming, baffling, disarming. His jealously, his suspicion lulled, he plans for her welfare, and -- when he comes of age-makes over the estate to her, only to find himself shut out, spurned, her goal once achieved. How he meets this new challenge -- how he brings the whole unhappy experience to an end provides a puzzle which each reader will have to solve for himself. I found the experience an absorbing one. A gifted craftsman and spinner of yarns, Daphne du Maurier excells herself.
Pub Date: Feb. 11th, 1951
ISBN: 1402217099
Page count: 402pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1951




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