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Daphne du Maurier Omnibus 4: Rebecca; My…
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Daphne du Maurier Omnibus 4: Rebecca; My Cousin Rachel (VMC Book 100)

by Daphne Du Maurier

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Rebecca
A young girl working as companion to a wealthy American woman in Monaco meets Maxim de Winter, a rich and handsome widower who asks her to marry him. But how can she possibly compete with the beautiful, witty Rebecca, the first Mrs de Winter, who had all the social poise and elegance the narrator, with her crippling lack of self-confidence, does not?

Although I can sympathise with the narrator's continual fantasies, second-guessing other people's reactions to her (I have been known to do it myself), it does get tedious after a while. The story after the big reveal does raise uncomfortable questions about where the reader's sympathies should lie. The narrator, if not the author, wants our sympathies to go in one direction but should they?

There were obvious echoes of "Jane Eyre", which I re-read last year, but not as many echoes as I thought from my memory of "Rebecca" from when I read it 35 or so years ago.

My Cousin Rachel:
Philip Ashley's cousin and foster father, Ambrose Ashley, travels to spend the winter in Italy for the sake of his health. There he meets and marries a distant cousin, Rachel, the widow of an Italian count. He stays in Italy for a year longer than he had planned and then dies before he can come home again. Are his last letters home due to paranoia brought on by a brain tumour, or is Rachel really up to no good? Philip must decide when Rachel comes to stay with him.

Spoiled by what seems to me to be a major plot hole: Wouldn't the will leaving the estate to Philip have been invalidated by Ambrose's subsequent marriage, so Rachel as his wife would have got everything anyway? ( )
  Robertgreaves | Feb 21, 2016 |
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