Rachel Verinder stands at the center of The Moonstone's plot, yet never speaks her own narrative. In fact, her character is defined largely by omission—omission of her own story—and her withholding of her knowledge about the theft of The Moonstone. This reticence makes Rachel an alluring heroine, according to the cultural logic by which women in a position of holding back are invested with a particular attractiveness. Aside from this quality, Rachel seems an un-idealized image of a heroine. Collins makes clear that she is slightly unconventional, physically, with small stature and dark features. Rachel challenges Victorian propriety and gender roles by treating men and women alike with a straightforward manner that can be startling in its lack of coyness. Rachel's most important character trait is her unwillingness to tell on the misdeeds of another. Collins is clear on the fact that this never amounts to dishonesty—instead of lying about a delicate subject, Rachel says nothing at all.

Rachel's main conflict in the novel is an internal one: the evidence of her senses, which tell her that Franklin Blake stole her diamond and lied about it, must combat her passionate feelings of love and trust in Franklin. Rachel seems to have a tragic counterpart in the outcast Rosanna Spearman. The two women are kindred in their impassioned natures and love for Franklin Blake.