I finished this book long ago, and I needed some time to write this review since I was left wondering for days about the story. Still, I don’t know if I am doing enough justice in this review.
Everything in this book is a mystery, even the ending. It is left to the reader’s imagination or should I say mental state. It depends on who you want to side with and who you start believing.
The story is narrated by Philip but is he telling the correct thing or its only his perspective. I can’t tell if he was in his right frame of mind while he narrated the story. Was it an outcome of the trauma caused by Ambrose’s death?
Cousin Rachel, Oh! How enchanting she seems to be but is she really who she is. Are Philips’s doubts about her just a part of his puzzled mind. Was she really an open book as she is shown or did she indeed have her secrets that she smartly hid.
The ending is ambiguous. Every reader of this book will have a different opinion. Some believe Rachel was a murderer and some do not. Some think Philip was not mentally fit while some feel he was just seen as the little Philip who never grew up from Ambrose’s foster.
Some lines that I loved in the book –
- It is strange how in moments of great crisis the mind whips back to childhood.
- The point is, life has to be endured, and lived. But how to live it is the problem.
- How soft and gentle her name sounds when I whisper it. It lingers on the tongue, insidious and slow, almost like poison, which is apt indeed.
- But a lonely man is an unnatural man, and soon comes to perplexity. From perplexity to fantasy. From fantasy to madness.
- We were dreamers, both of us, unpractical, reserved, full of great theories never put to test, and, like all dreamers, asleep to the waking world. Disliking our fellow men, we craved affection; but shyness kept impulse dormant until the heart was touched.
- Although invariably courteous he was shy of women, and mistrustful too, saying they made mischief in a household.
- She was young, not more than nineteen or so, but the expression on her face was ageless, haunting, as though she possessed in her lithe body an old soul that could not die; centuries in time looked out from those two eyes, she had contemplated life so long it had become indifferent to her.
- A man’s jealousy is like a child’s, fitful and foolish, without depth. A woman’s jealousy is adult, which is very different.’
- That was the infuriating thing about a woman. Always the last word. Leaving one to grapple with ill-temper, and she herself serene. A woman, it seemed, was never in the wrong. Or if she was, she twisted the fault to her advantage, making it seem otherwise.
- ‘There are some women, Philip,’ he observed, ‘good women very possibly, who through no fault of their own impel disaster. Whatever they touch, somehow turns to tragedy. I don’t know why I say this to you, but I feel I must.’
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