Category Archives: Book Review

Review: My Cousin Rachel

My Cousin Rachel
By Daphne Du Maurier
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
Pub. Date: March 2009
ISBN-13: 9781402217098
394pp

The blurb from Barnes and Noble:

Philip Ashley’s older cousin Ambrose, who raised the orphaned Philip as his own son, has died in Rome. Philip, the heir to Ambrose’s beautiful English estate, is crushed that the man he loved died so far from home. He is also suspicious. While in Italy, Ambrose fell in love with Rachel, a beautiful English and Italian woman. But the final, brief letters Ambrose wrote hint that his love had turned to paranoia and fear.

Now Rachel has arrived at Philip’s newly inherited estate. Could this exquisite woman, who seems to genuinely share Philip’s grief at Ambrose’s death, really be as cruel as Philip imagined? Or is she the kind, passionate woman with whom Ambrose fell in love? Philip struggles to answer this question, knowing Ambrose’s estate, and his own future, will be destroyed if his answer is wrong.

The Short of It:

A very enjoyable read from start to finish.

My Thoughts:

I cannot believe that this book was originally published in 1951! I read Rebecca ages ago and loved it but I had never even heard of My Cousin Rachel until just a few months ago. I’m so glad I did.

This is one of those stories where you sort of know how things will play out, but you continue to turn the pages because the characters are so richly drawn and the evil is almost too subtle to pick up that you feel the need to really focus on every line as some little clue might pop up. I just love these types of stories.

Philip is so utterly taken with Rachel that he is incredibly frustrating at times, but the dynamic between to the two characters is so tightly wound, that you just expect him (or her) to snap at any moment. The descriptive details of the estate itself were quite well written. I felt as if I were walking the grounds myself at times.

In the end, it was an incredibly satisfying read and if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy soon. I also cannot say enough about the cover of the re-release. It’s stunning.

I won this copy over at Peeking Between The Pages. Thanks Dar!

Review: Sunnyside Blues

Sunnyside Blues
By Mary Carter
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Pub. Date: July 01, 2009
ISBN-13: 9780758229199
352pp

The blurb from the publisher’s website:

Twenty-five-year-old Andes Lane has spent nine years moving restlessly from place to place as she searches for somewhere that feels right. In the little blue houseboat bobbing on a Seattle lake, she thinks she’s found it. But Andes has barely had a chance to settle in before her new life is upended by her landlord, Jay, and his ten-year-old son, Chase.

Smart, secretive, and precocious, Chase touches a chord with Andes even as he plays on her last nerve. When Jay needs someone to take care of Chase temporarily, Andes agrees to accompany the boy to Sunnyside, Queens, on a quest she’s sure will prove fruitless. But in this new, strange, unexpectedly welcoming city, Andes will confront the secrets she tried to leave behind and the lies that have kept her running. And against all odds, she’ll discover a place, a man, and a new found peace of mind that feel very much like home…

The Short of It:

Multi-layered and rich with detail, this novel takes you to the heart of what it means to be different. It’s a novel of acceptance and centers around well-drawn but deeply flawed characters. A quick, yet satisfying read.

My Thoughts:

I love it when you start a book and you know within ten pages that it’s going to be a good story. I picked up Sunnyside Blues during a bout of insomnia and it was definitely the wrong book for me to have picked up because I literally stayed up all night to read it. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not a suspenseful book or even a thriller, but I wanted to know what happened next and so I kept reading.

Andes is a bit of a misfit. She’s an outcast of sorts and recognizes herself to be one. When she heads to Seattle, she hopes to begin again. She finds a houseboat to rent but in doing so, also finds a father and a son that have been through quite a bit together and when the father ends up in jail, Andes end up with the kid.

Let’s talk about the kid a bit. Chase is a ten-year-old boy. He’s one of those extremely bright kids that you have to watch out for. He’s been taking care of his alcoholic father for some time and doesn’t appreciate having to be watched. However, this kid is trouble. I compared him to Damien a few times. You know, Damien from The Omen? That movie scares me to this day. Anyway, he’s a tough kid to watch but Andes can relate to him, her being an outcast and all and they forge an unlikely bond to one another.

As the father sorts out his issues, Andes begins to wonder if she can make a life for this kid. However, Andes has her own issues and when Chase learns of them, she realizes that she either has to face them or risk never being whole again. In the mean time, she’s met a guy that she thinks she might have a future with, but will he understand her need to tie up loose ends?

To me, this book was like a runaway train. It took off from the station and just kept going. I found the characters to be deeply complex, yet I found myself relating to each of them at different parts of the story. My only criticism is perhaps the age of Chase. For me, his mannerisms made me think eight-years-old or so, not ten but I have a ten-year-old so I perhaps compared him to my own son in this regard.

Overall all, I felt that it was well-written and well-paced and I would definitely read another book by the author. If you’d like to read more about Mary Carter, click here.

This book will be available July 1, 2009. Thanks to Mary Carter for providing me with this review copy.