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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.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful
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."
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
This is a startlingly good book. Jonathan Price reads in calm, hypnotic style which complements the burgeoning bewilderment the story weaves around the listener. It is a consummate description of the way men cannot understand women and vice versa.
Philip is so likeable and so real that you almost want to shout out encouragement or warning to him, depending on your take of cousin Rachel! Rachel is the cleverest of characters, an ethereal, not quite there person, you struggle to understand other than by the ways those around her react. That this depiction of a man's man so utterly in love with a woman, was crafted BY a woman is a credit to Du Maurier. As a story in its own right, it is perfect, and stays with you long after you finish it. If you loved Rebecca -you will be amazed at how different this is and yet how accomplished. If you havent read/listened to any Daphne yet...I urge you to start here. Bliss.
27 of 27 people found this review helpful
What other book might you compare My Cousin Rachel to, and why?
A similar writing style to Patrick McGrath and a similar atmosphere to "Gillespie and I" by Jane Harris. As the story slowly unravels, we are unsure whether the narrator is reliable or not.
What does Jonathan Pryce bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
The narration was so perfect, I hardly noticed it. Every inflection and accent was pitch perfect. It helped create a wonderful atmosphere.
If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
An intriguing thriller mystery that keeps you guessing till the end.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful
The narrator's voice was a bit sing songy which was a bit irritating although I did get used to it. A good yarn though.
Great performance by Jonathan Pryce!
This really added to the beauty and richness of the story.