Rebecca will ruin Daphne du Maurier for you. Because it’s so good and so perfect of a novel that if you read it first, you will be chasing that particular dragon for ages in her writing. So if you can avoid it, read a few of her other books along the way first.
Here, read “The Birds” right now, I’ll wait: http://hhs.helenaschools.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/31/2016/08/the_birds_by_daphne_du_maurier.pdf
So My Cousin Rachel is about the to be a movie starring Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin, which is more or less perfectly well cast. Rachel Weisz will be great and it doesn’t really matter who plays Philip because he’s a boring English boy of 24 and they’re all the same and boring.
In this novel, Philip was raised by his cousin Ambrose out of orphanhood. Ambrose went away and married a mysterious Italian woman named Rachel and then died. Philip is convinced that she is evil and killed Ambrose, but when he shows up in Italy to find out, turns out she’s hot and he loves her. Now he can’t figure out and decide what to do. Certainly his 25th birthday coming up where he’ll come into his estate and be rich beyond his wildest means won’t come into play.
Philip is impulsive and childish and a total boy at heart, and like all boys he falls for someone he shouldn’t because she is drama-laden and damaged and way more interesting than boring old Louise who is age appropriate and fine, plain old fine.
This novel builds a good mystery and has a satisfying ending.
For me, its better than Jamaica Inn, not quite as good as the short stories, and can’t touch Rebecca.