After reading Daphne du Maurier's "Rebecca" and "Frenchman's Creek" and enjoying them both immensely, I decided to read "My Cousin Rachel". Within its pages I found a tender and touching story that has given me a significant volume to think about. This novel follows Philip Ashley, a young upper-class man who was brought up by his older cousin Ambrose in (like in the majority of du Maurier's novels) a grand house in Cornwall. As ever, du Maurier's intricately chosen words perfectly let the reader in on Philip's jealousy as Ambrose travels to Florence and marries the woman honoured in the title, Rachel, and his further feelings of anguish and spite towards her when she arrives in Cornwall following the premature death of Ambrose, believing Rachel to be at fault for his cousin's death. However, Philip's instinct gradually ebbs away as he becomes ever more obsessed with Rachel, and du Maurier effectively manages to stir up emotions in the reader as he loses sight of how possessive he becomes. If I had to compare this steady rise in tension from the beginning of the novel with anything, it would probably be the play "A View From the Bridge" by Arthur Miller: although I did not realise this until I had finished the book, everything in the novel seems to build up to the shocking finale.
I would not class "My Cousin Rachel" as a romance, but ultimately it is a heart-wrenching tale of love, longing and tragedy which is intelligently structured and will remain in the reader's thoughts for some time upon completion of the novel.