My Cousin Rachel – audiobook review. Men are dunces too!


Since I loved Du Maurier’s Rebecca (review HERE) I had to get this when it showed up on special offer from Audible. It’s different from Rebecca or Jane Eyre (review HERE) because the main character, Philip, is a man this time.

And he’s just as much of a dunce as any of the weak-willed, love-struck women in other romance novels! Perhaps more so, as he starts the book with a good idea of what’s happened to his guardian and beloved friend Ambrose, yet still falls for the wicked, titular Rachel (who, irritatingly, he calls ‘my cousin Rachel’ for most of the book, EVERY time she’s mentioned!).

The plot is simple so I won’t go into detail and ruin it for you – basically our “hero” is Philip, who comes into money and land when his guardian dies after a trip to Italy where he (Ambrose, the guardian) meets and marries Rachel. The inheritance all comes to Philip instead of Rachel for some reason and she comes to England to visit where everything becomes clear, eventually.

It’s easy to be hard on our hero, Philip, because he is so easily manipulated by Rachel BUT his upbringing is totally unorthodox and it means he doesn’t really know women or how to deal with them (like any man does lmao!).

When a beautiful MILF turns up on his doorstep fluttering her long, dark eyelashes and baring her shoulders is it really so hard to believe that he’d act the way he does?  Maybe not, but it’s still annoying how he’s so easily won over. Almost like a pantomime, the reader/listener is booing and shouting for Philip to not be taken in by what’s going on, to remember his earlier, negative opinion of the woman, to take in the clues he stumbles across and think with his head instead of his heart!

I mentioned his lack of experience with women but even so, the way Philip acts is rather far-fetched for most of the book, and that’s why I didn’t enjoy it as much as Rebecca. The narrator in that was quite soppy and weak-willed, but she never came across as an idiot, whereas Philip does in My Cousin Rachel. The endings in both books are hopeful, not crushingly bleak, but you can’t help thinking Philip DESERVES what was coming to him for being so dense.

Maybe I’m just saying that because I’m a man, so I naturally felt more sympathy for the female narrator in Rebecca than for Philip in My Cousin Rachel? It’s an interesting thought and I’d love to hear from men and women who have read both books.

Anyway, regardless of the faults, My Cousin Rachel is a really good listen if a bit simplistic and obvious compared to Rebecca. There’s not really any twists or anything unexpected – I pretty much saw everything coming although, like I say, the ending was a good one. The storytelling is great however, and that’s what makes it so enjoyable. The reader, Jonathan Pryce was excellent.

I haven’t seen the movie version but Rachel Weisz seems a perfect fit for the title character.

Rating – 4/5

FL series audible (1)I’m onto The Woman In White now, which is, apparently, a classic!

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