Read Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier Online


The coachman tried to warn her away from the ruined, forbidding place on the rainswept Cornish coast. But young Mary Yellan chose instead to honor her mother's dying request that she join her frightened Aunt Patience and huge, hulking Uncle Joss Merlyn at Jamaica Inn. From her first glimpse on that raw November eve, she could sense the inn's dark power. But never did MaryThe coachman tried to warn her away from the ruined, forbidding place on the rainswept Cornish coast. But young Mary Yellan chose instead to honor her mother's dying request that she join her frightened Aunt Patience and huge, hulking Uncle Joss Merlyn at Jamaica Inn. From her first glimpse on that raw November eve, she could sense the inn's dark power. But never did Mary dream that she would become hopelessly ensnared in the vile, villainous schemes being hatched within its crumbling walls -- or that a handsome, mysterious stranger would so incite her passions ... tempting her to love a man whom she dares not trust....

Title : Jamaica Inn
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780380725397
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 302 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Jamaica Inn Reviews

  • Jean
    2019-01-31 09:26

    When I first read Daphne du Maurier's popular novel Jamaica Inn, I had no idea what "wreckers" meant. Some romantic idea connected with pirates, I thought. I knew of the real Jamaica Inn, a pub in the middle of Bodmin Moor. But the grim truth is that Daphne du Maurier was not writing an account about either pirates or ordinary smugglers, but a highly-coloured bloodthirsty tale about bands of men who existed around 1815, according to the novel 20 or 30 years after Cornish pirates had been eradicated. (view spoiler)[These vicious gangs deliberately lured sailors onto the rocks to seize their cargo. When the ships were wrecked, the gangs proceeded to plunder both the cargo and their possessions, killing all aboard by letting them drown, or worse. (hide spoiler)] I read about this with a horrified fascination, and find now that even with foreknowledge, this atmospheric novel still brings home the true horror of that evil trade. And the reader becomes taken up with her evocative descriptions of the weather and Cornish landscape, becoming increasingly emotionally involved with the characters.Published in 1936, Jamaica Inn was Daphne du Maurier's fourth novel. Like many of her books, it was later made into a film, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Many of these films inspired by her novels such as "Rebecca", "The Birds", "My Cousin Rachel", and "Frenchman's Creek" have become cinema classics. However, the directors rarely looked beyond the popular appeal and the romantic glamour of her work. Jamaica Inn too, was an exaggeratedly romantic adaptation, which did not please Daphne du Maurier. Her biographer, Margaret Forster says, "Instead of being violent and ugly, they [the wreckers] had been made into Peter Pan pirates, and the effect was quite the opposite of her intention."Daphne du Maurier announces in her introduction that her intention is to write a thrilling imaginative tale, and that,"Although existing place-names figure in the pages, the characters and events described are entirely imaginary." She even locates the inn precisely. Bodmin Moor, Launceston, Gweek, Helston, Padstow, Altarnun, Twelve Men's Moor, Trewartha Marsh and Dozmary Pool are all real places. The novel itself can be thought of as an imaginative historical adventure story, an errie gothic horror or romance or even (as one publisher has classified it) a murder mystery, although none of these satisfactorily convey the book's timbre and feeling. The viewpoint character throughout is 20 year-old Mary Yellan, who was brought up on a farm in Helston. Mary's mother became sick, and Mary took care of her until she died. Mary's mother had made her promise to sell the farm after her death, insisting that she should go to live with her Aunt Patience in Bodmin. Mary loved the farm, the area, and all her friends, so was reluctant to leave the south coast of Cornwall where, as a character later in the book describes it,"the pleasant lanes wind by the side of the river, and where your villages touch one another string upon string, and there are cottages upon the road"for the north coast, "lonely and untravelled as [the] moors themselves, and never a man's face shall you look upon."However, Mary keeps her promise, and discovers that her Aunt Patience no longer lives with her husband in Padstow, but in the centre of the moors in "Jamaica Inn", which turns out to be a gloomy, neglected and threatening building. As Mary travels towards her new home, the reader is immediately thrust into a vivid description of the savage landscape, looked at through the eyes of Mary, and compared with the gentleness of Helston which she is used to. The harsh stormy weather is unforgiving; the moors dark, alien and desolate."There would never be a gentle season here, thought Mary; either grim winter as it was today, or else the dry and parching heat of midsummer, with never a valley to give shade or shelter, but grass that turned yellow-brown before May had passed." Mary has memories of her Aunt Patience as a vivacious and fun-loving young woman, and is shocked to find her now to be a shadow of her former self, weary, raddled and jumpy whenever she is in the company of her husband Joss Merlyn, a brutish, hulking bully of a man, the keeper of Jamaica Inn. Clearly there is a lot going on behind the scenes. Both the viewpoint characters and the reader are in a constant state of high anxiety, as we try to gain the knowledge to which, Daphne du Maurier clearly hints, Aunt Patience and Joss are privy, "You must never question me, nor him, nor anyone, for if you came to guess but half of what I know, your hair would go grey, Mary, as mine has done, and you would tremble in your speech and weep by night, and all that lovely careless youth of yours would die, Mary, as mine has died."So warns her aunt Patience. And as the tension mounts, Mary's uncle tells her, "I'm not drunk enough to tell you why I live in this God-forgotten spot, and why I'm the landlord of Jamaica Inn."We thus have two extremely contrasting characters, plus Mary herself, the fulcrum. There is an all-pervading sense of foreboding and gloom; the overpowering feeling of the novel at this point is unnervingly claustrophobic. Mary's thoughts and emotions are shared with the reader throughout the novel, although sometimes there are comments within the narration that sound more like an omniscient viewpoint. This is an unusual style for a modern novel, which typically uses a third person narration, switching from character to character, to give the sense of a fully rounded view of events. In Jamaica Inn, however, the viewpoint character never varies, but we do have hints of an authorial voice. Not all the points of view appear to originate with Mary, who feels trapped, mostly by her duty and fears for her aunt, and also by what she repeatedly expresses as her sense of frailty as a woman. The moors themselves have a life of their own in this novel; there is a strong primal, almost atavistic sense,"The moors were even wilder than she had at first supposed. Like an immense desert they rolled from east to west, with tracks here and there across the surface and great hills breaking the skyline. Where was their final boundary she could not tell, except that once, after climbing the hightest tor behind Jamaica, she caught the silver shimmer of the sea. It was a silent desolate country though, vast and untouched by human hand; on the high tors the slabs of stone leant against one another in strange shapes and forms, massive sentinels who had stood there since the hand of God first fashioned them."And at another time,"The air was cold and strangely still, and the moor itself lay placid and silver in the moonlight. The dark tors held their sleeping faces to the sky, the granite features softened and smoothed by the light that bathed them. Theirs was a peaceful mood, and the old gods slept undisturbed."Both the buildings such as Jamaica Inn and the landscape are imbued with a presence, and descriptions of the weather also abound. There is much use of the pathetic fallacy, as in much of Daphne Du Maurier's writing, so that the natural environment is bound up with and echoes the events in the novel. "The rain was pitiless and the wind came in gusts. There was nothing left now of the Christmas spirit.""a wild star straggled furtively behind a low-sweeping cloud and hung for an instant...there was a scream in the wind that had not been before."Everything is imaginatively contrived to seem to have a will of its own. Inanimate objects are personified, to exaggerate the sense of threat,"There was no other sound except the husky wheezing of the clock in the hall and the sudden whirring note preparatory to the strike. It rang the hour - three o'clock - and then ticked on, choking and gasping like a dying man who cannot catch his breath."Sometimes a sentence has many layers of meaning. Even without using the pathetic fallacy, Daphne du Maurier makes the reader see an apparent connection between a character and a natural phenomenon,"Why does your aunt look like a living ghost - can you tell me that? Ask her, next time the wind blows from the north-west." Character portrayal, ominous mood and atmosphere, even a teasing hint of plot development - all are included in this deceptively simple question. It is put to Mary by Joss's brother Jem, who resembles his brother in many ways. Mary does not know whether she can trust him; she is both attracted and repelled by this daring, swashbuckler of a (view spoiler)[horse-stealer. She spends a day with him in Launceston where Jem sells a horse he stole from Squire Bassat back to the squire's unwitting wife. But perhaps he is something even worse than a petty thief. (hide spoiler)]Mary is alternately drawn to the "bad boy" image of Jem, yet also in fear of what may be his true nature. Daphne du Maurier manipulates the reader to also sway to and fro, never hinting at which side Jem will end up. There follows one of the most terrifying parts of the novel, after the idyllic day they spend together. (view spoiler)[Jem mysteriously disappears, and so Mary has to hire a coach to take her back to Jamaica Inn. The coach is waylaid by the gang of wreckers, and the coach driver is killed. Mary, jeered at, is brutally treated, as the wreckers, led by her Uncle Joss, trick a ship into steering itself on to the rocks. Bound and gagged, she is forced to watch helplessly, as they murder any survivors of the shipwreck trying to swim ashore. (hide spoiler)]Jamaica Inn itself - that windswept desolate building - seems to spring to life, revelling in such vile villainy and dastardly deeds,"Jamaica Inn was ablaze with light; the doors were open, and the windows were unbarred. The house gaped out of the night like a live thing."(view spoiler)[Not only the house, but the ship itself is personified, becoming like a gigantic monster in its death throes,"with the cry came the tearing splinter of wood, the horrible impact of a massive live thing finding resistance, the shuddering groan of twisting, breaking timber." (hide spoiler)]Here is another superb instance, from a little later,"She looked up at Jamaica Inn, sinister and grey in the approaching dusk, the windows barred; she thought of the horrors the house had witnessed and the secrets now embedded in its walls, side by side with the other old memories of feasting and firelight and laughter before her uncle cast his shadow upon it; and she turned away from it, as one instinctively from a house of the dead and went out upon the road." And near the end, the power of "Jamaica Inn" is paramount,"She knew she could never climb those stairs again, nor tread that empty landing. Whatever lay beyond her and above must rest there undisturbed. Death had come upon the house tonight, and its brooding spirit still hovered in the air. She felt now that this was what Jamaica Inn had always waited for and feared. The damp walls, the creaking boards, the whispers in the air, and the footsteps that had no name; these were the warnings of a house that had felt itself long threatened." This part presages the great house - or "character" - Daphne du Maurier was to create with "Manderley" in Rebecca. It goes some way to convey the extremely intimate and personal connection with a real house, "Ferryside", one of the great obsessive loves of her life. From now on the novel increases in pace. From its almost overwhelming feelings of imprisonment, we watch Mary struggling to right the wrongs she sees, and take risks to inform on those she knows to have committed unspeakable crimes. The Cornish landscape is dramatically conveyed; its presence in this novel being of equal value to any of the characters. The number of characters is quite small, which serves to increase the feelings of intimacy. There is Squire Bassat and his wife, those few already mentioned, and the wreckers (most of whom could be substituted for each other, as their characters come across as less than human.)There is a betrayal, which the reader may, or may not, guess correctly. There is a bloodbath, which has seemed inevitable. Is there a "happy ending"? Well, that all depends... but it certainly seemed to be a popular ending, at the time the novel was written.As the end approaches, Daphne du Maurier interestingly draws attention to the enmeshing and reflecting of the events of the story, with the natural elements,"Mary walked alone on Twelve Men's Moor, and she wondered why it was that Kilmar, to the left of her, had lost its menace, and was now no more than a black scarred hill under the sky. It might be that anxiety had blinded her to beauty, and she had made confusion in her mind with man and nature; the austerity of the moors had been strangely interwoven with the fear and hatred of her uncle and Jamaica Inn. The moors were bleak still, and the hills were friendless, but their old malevolence had vanished and she could walk upon them with indifference."Daphne du Maurier's love of Cornwall never extends to presenting Cornwall exclusively from an historical point of view. Thanks to her powers of imagination, she makes some historical events have great drama and emotional depth, strongly appealing to a modern reader's sensibility. Not everybody is drawn to historical novels as a genre. But Daphne du Maurier skilfully uses literary devices to manipulate the reader, creating our interest in a particular time and place in history. Her narrative technique engages us, and encourages each reader to identify with the viewpoint character. Focusing on the specific time and culture within which the main character is trapped, the author therefore limits Mary's actions and even to some extent her perceptions. There is a great deal in the novel about the boundaries between men and women, a question very close to Daphne du Maurier's own personal agonies; those of her true identity. In a letter to a close friend, the author referred to herself as, "neither girl nor boy but disembodied spirit... to dance in the evening when there was no one to see". The Gothic feeling of the novel serves to heighten this portrayal of Mary as a powerless female. There are numerous links with the Gothic genre, not only used to raise the issue of gender. The horror the modern reads feels at the depiction of such brutal inhuman actions is given an extra frisson by incorporating the overblown imagery of gothic themes. What is the point of making Francis Davey, the Vicar of Altarnum, an albino, for instance, other than to heighten the grotesquerie and thereby emphasise his alienness to Mary. As Daphne du Maurier tried to reconcile the various parts of her life, as an army wife, a mother and what she called a "career woman", Cornwall became ever more significant, principally for the special freedom it represented. She was to stay in Cornwall all her life, because it was here that she felt the freedom to write. Daphne du Maurier's passion for Cornwall comes through in every sentence in this particular book. In many of her stories she explores various personal issues through her writing. This story is not autobiographical as such, but her own perceptions of reality and sense of place are strong throughout. At a symbolic level, the text is rich and complex. Underneath the imagery, the atmosphere, the thrill of the story, the descriptive flair and the superb writing style, Daphne du Maurier's subtext is as fascinating as the surface story. So may I make a plea for the fiction of Daphne du Maurier. The covers of her books are often sentimental. Her books are generally shelved in bookshops among popular fiction - sometimes even among the more trashy romances. Yet she always vigorously stressed that she was not a romantic writer. Her view of her classic, "Rebecca", for instance, was that it is a study in jealousy and power. It questions the balance of power, both in marriage and society. Far from her writing being, "a glossy brand of entertaining nonsense", in the words of a critic in "The Spectator" in 1962, we can now perceive that her works are well worth a closer analysis. In a way, her very accessibility has stymied her reputation as a serious writer. Daphne du Maurier's novels are mostly read on a superficial level and consequently, the critics often fail to detect any psychological depths to her writing. This one, as with so many of her novels, can be read on many levels. Read it for its entertainment value by all means. Ultimately though, not only is it a rattling good story, but one by a writer of great skill."Below the tor the heavy fog clung to the the ground, obstinate as ever, with never a breath of air to roll away the clouds. Here on the summit the wind fretted and wept, whispering of fear, sobbing old memories of blood shed and despair, and there was a wild, lost note that echoed in the granite...on the very peak of Roughtor, as though the gods themselves stood there with their great heads lifted to the sky... their faces were inhuman, older than time, carved and rough like the granite; and they spoke in a tongue she could not understand and their hands and feet were curved like the claws of a bird.""No human being could live in this wasted country, thought Mary, and remain like other people; the very children would be born twisted, like the blackened shrubs of broom, bent by the force of a wind that never ceased, blow as it would from east and west, from north and south. Their minds would be twisted too, their thoughts evil, dwelling as they must amidst marshland and granite, harsh heather and crumbling stone."Here are links to my reviews of some other novels by Daphne du Maurier:"Rebecca""My Cousin Rachel""The House on the Strand"

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    2019-01-26 09:13

    I have to hand it to Daphne du Maurier: she takes the fusty old gothic novel conventions and tropes, and amps them up in this 1936 novel. The setting is classic gothic―it's the 1820s in a lonely, cold and windswept area of Cornwall, near the treacherous Bodmin Moor, in a decaying inn that all honest people avoid.The real Jamaica Inn, built in 1750, which inspired this novelAn isolated, orphaned young woman, 23 year old Mary Yellan, comes to stay with the pretty and outgoing aunt and handsome uncle that she remembers hearing about in letters from years ago, but finds that he is a large, abusive man and her aunt is beaten and downtrodden. Something terrible is going on at Jamaica Inn, where her brutal uncle is the innkeeper, and Mary can't resist trying to figure it out. Even though she's warned off by, well, pretty much everyone. The one person Mary is willing to trust is the soft-spoken, albino vicar of a nearby village, who helps Mary a couple of times when she's lost or in trouble, but he lives a few miles away from the inn.Du Maurier injects elements of true horror―not the supernatural kind, but what can be in people's hearts. Her Aunt Patience (aptly named) is an abused woman who stays with and takes care of her bully of a husband. Du Maurier also includes a very dubious romantic interest for Mary, her uncle's younger brother Jem, a habitual horse thief in whose lawless way of life and his rather careless treatment of Mary I could see some seeds of what his older brother became. It's not a book that left me entirely comfortable in the end ... but I think that's what the author wanted.Well played, Daphne!P.S. I strongly recommend that you avoid spoilers, including the Wikipedia article, which gives away the goings on right up front. I had great fun speculating on what exactly was going on at the inn. I was close, but it was worse than I thought. The final twist I guessed, but it was still creepy.Some of the elements in this story reminded me powerfully of a 1997 movie that in a few ways is like a 20th century version of Jamaica Inn:(view spoiler)[with Kurt Russell and Kathleen Quinlan (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Catriona (LittleBookOwl)
    2019-01-21 08:34

    Overall, I liked it, however I wasn't totally enthralled. I'm not sure what exactly was missing for me, but I wasn't able to really connect with the characters and the story. Still enjoyable, but wishing I didn't feel so detached while reading it.

  • Candi
    2019-02-16 10:12

    Wonderfully dark and atmospheric and utterly suspenseful, Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn is a thrilling adventure of a novel! I wish I had picked up this book on a chilly, gray and dreary fall day so I could have curled up on the sofa next to the fire with a blanket and a cup of tea. That would have created the perfect environment for reading this one! Nevertheless, it was still a satisfying reading experience.On her deathbed, Mary Yellan’s mother exacts a promise from her daughter – that she will seek out her Aunt Patience and reside with her in order to avoid the uncertainties and pitfalls of a single young woman living alone in her hometown of Helford. Here, Mary’s mother describes her sister Patience as “a great one for games and laughing, with a heart as large as life” with “ribbons in her bonnet and a silk petticoat.” So, the spirited yet obedient Mary leaves the comfort of her farm and sets out to find Aunt Patience in Bodmin. As always, du Maurier does a superb job of evoking the sensations of the surroundings and we see the contrast between the tranquility of Helford with the hostility of the moors for which she is bound. “It was a gentle rain that fell at Helford, a rain that pattered in the many trees and lost itself in the lush grass, formed into brooks and rivulets that emptied into the broad river, sank into the grateful soil which gave back flowers in payment.” On journeying into Bodmin and beyond, Mary and the reader are submitted to harsher conditions with a palpable feeling of threat in the air. “This was a lashing, pitiless rain that stung the windows of the coach, and it soaked into a hard and barren soil. No trees here, save one or two that stretched bare branches to the four winds, bent and twisted from centuries of storm, and so black were they by time and tempest that, even if spring did breathe on such a place, no buds would dare to come to leaf for fear the late frost should kill them.” We get an immediate sense of foreshadowing as Mary relates “No human being could live in this wasted country and remain like other people; the very children would be born twisted, like the blackened shrubs of broom, bent by the force of a wind that never ceased, blow as it would from east and west, from north and south. Their minds would be twisted, too, their thoughts evil, dwelling as they must amidst marshland and granite, harsh heather and crumbling stone.”Once arriving in Bodmin, Mary learns that her aunt now lives out at the formidable Jamaica Inn where her uncle, Joss Merlyn, is the sinister and drunken proprietor of the now disreputable inn that welcomes no travelers but the vilest characters that scurry in from the darkness of the moors. Mary finds Aunt Patience a changed and nearly unrecognizable person. “Her face had fallen away, and the skin was stretched tight across her cheekbones. Her eyes were large and staring, as though they asked perpetually a question, and she had a little nervous trick of working her mouth… Was this poor tattered creature the bewitching Aunt Patience of her dreams, dressed now like a slattern, and twenty years her age?” The suspense mounts as Mary discovers secrets and despicable acts that envelop the owner and the inn itself. Like her aunt, will Mary now languish as her surroundings drain the life out of her? Perhaps made of stronger stuff, Mary perseveres and manages to even wander the moors unattended trying to find answers to the mysteries that plague her sanity. On these solitary ventures where the treacherous marshes place her at increasing risk, Mary encounters two more singular individuals that seem to be quite adapted to the danger of the moors. Jem Merlyn, brother to her infamous uncle, is a bit of an enigma with his charlatan ways, coarse appearance and sharp tongue yet irresistible, ruggedly handsome, and lively bearing. Despite her better judgment, Mary falls for this man. “Jem Merlyn was a man, and she was a woman, and whether it was his hands or his skin or his smile she did not know, but something inside her responded to him, and the very thought of him was an irritant and a stimulant at the same time.” Just the right amount of romance ensues. Mary also meets Francis Davey, the Vicar of Altarnun out on the moors where he rescues her as she finds herself lost and confused when trying to return to the inn. The vicar’s gentle manner and unusual appearance are a bit contradictory yet he often arrives at the right moment to save Mary from her predicaments time and again. On one such occasion, we read “Mary looked up at the pale eyes in the colourless face, the halo of cropped white hair, and she thought again how strange a freak of nature was this man, who might be twenty-one, who might be sixty, and who with his soft, persuasive voice would compel her to admit every secret her heart possessed, had he the mind to ask her. She could trust him; that at least was certain. Still she hesitated, turning the words over in her mind.”One of my favorite things about du Maurier’s writing, besides her ability to create a tremendous sense of atmosphere, is her incredible talent for bringing to life even those inanimate objects within her novels. The houses in Jamaica Inn appear to live and breathe of their own accord and I loved reading about them. The vicar’s home is described here: “There was something strangely peaceful about the house, something very rare and difficult to define… The room in which she was sitting had the quiet impersonality of a drawing-room visited by night. The furniture, the table in the centre, the pictures on the walls, were without that look of solid familiarity belonging to the day. They were like sleeping things, stumbled upon at midnight by surprise.” The inn itself reflects a different sort of feeling: “The house was treacherous tonight, her very footsteps sounding hollow on the flags, and there were echoes that came unbidden from the walls. Even the kitchen, the one room in the house to possess some measure of warmth and normality, gaped back at her as she left it, yellow and sinister in the candle-light.”As Mary tries to uncover the dark secrets of the inn and the covert operations of her uncle and his company, the reader is taken on a blood-tingling trek between the bleak moors, the gaiety of the Launceston fair, the oppressiveness of Jamaica Inn, the strange tranquility of the vicar’s home, and the wretched Cornwall coast. Mary must learn who to trust - the Vicar of Altarnun, Jem Merlyn, or Squire Bassat and his wife? Will she be able to save herself and Aunt Patience from the horrors of the moors and the madness of the inn? Grab a copy of this book, find a cozy corner, and hunker down for a very captivating read!

  • Jason Koivu
    2019-02-09 10:30

    This rancid mess is supposed to be a classic?! The attempt at 19th century prose falls flat..."like a dead thing." Good god. It has all the writerly skill of a romance novel, and a boring one at that. With midnight-smuggling and murder lurking behind a thinly-veiled mystery, I expected "THRILLS and CHILLS!" from this story.For its time, perhaps it was thrilling...NO!...No, I will not defend it. The "what's going on behind the scenes?!" tension is teased out to beyond caring and the characterizations are hackneyed. Aunt Patience, the long-suffering wife? Come on already...Du Maurier came from an almost aristocratically artistic lineage. The pretentious shit she says in interviews even makes her sound snobby. With everyone in her artsy family looking on, she must have felt a great deal of pressure to produce. No wonder her work of any notoriety is, in all likelihood, plagiarized.

  • Carol
    2019-01-31 12:14

    "DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES."First published in 1935, this haunting gothic tale of adventure begins when a brave, young Mary Yellan adheres to her mother's dying wish that she live with her fun-loving Aunt Patience, but upon arrival at the sinister looking and desolate JAMAICA INN, Mary finds her Aunt has turned into a gaunt nervous wreck of a person with a spirit destroyed by abuse and fear of her violent drunkard of a husband, Uncle Joss.As the story evolves and darkness falls....bad things....evil things happen on the moors of Jamaica Inn, but you'll also find a bit of romance, a somewhat predictable twist and another very atmospheric winner of a read by Daphne du Maurier.(Be sure to check out the cool photos of the 18th century Jamaica Inn that still stands today.)

  • Duane
    2019-02-06 07:14

    Published in 1936, two years before Rebecca, Jamaica Inn is a dark tale of murder and thievery, set close to the Bodmin Moor in Cornwall, England. It has a hint of romance, although I wouldn't call it romantic. It would have to be called a mystery if you had to give it a tag. The style is typical of the other du Maurier novels I have read, and excellent writing with great characters. It was a little slow to develop for me but once it did the pace ran quickly to the climax.3.5 stars

  • Nikoleta
    2019-01-29 07:28

    Η ταβέρνα της Τζαμάικας μου άρεσε πολύ περισσότερο από το Ρεβέκκα. Αν και τα κοινά των δύο μυθιστορημάτων είναι πολλά περισσότερα από τις διαφορές τους. Η Μωριέ ανήκει στο ρομαντικό είδος ή πιο συγκεκριμένα στο sensational. Αν και ευτυχώς για εμένα της λείπει η μελοδραματικότητα των συγκεκριμένων ειδών, αυτός ο εκβιασμός συναισθημάτων στους αναγνώστες και οι υπερβολικές φιγούρες των ηρώων. Αντιθέτως η Μωρίε είναι πιο… χμ… σεμνή. Ετσι λοιπόν και στην Τζαμάικα οι ήρωες της είναι ρεαλιστικότατοι, πολύπλευροι και αρκετά ανήθικοι, πολλές φορές. Αυτή η ανηθικότητα όμως δεν είναι η προσωποποίηση του κακού, δεν υπάρχει άσπρο και μαύρο, οι ήρωες της είναι απλώς άνθρωποι. Η αφήγηση επίσης κυλάει ρεαλιστικότατα, ενώ η ποιητικότητα δεν κυλάει από τις πράξεις αλλά από την περιρρέουσα ατμόσφαιρα. Η περιγραφή του σκηνικού είναι το στολίδι του βιβλίου. Αυτό είναι το Α και το Ω. Αυτή η ζοφερή γκρίζα ατμόσφαιρα την οποία μας χαρίζει με περίσσια ικανοποίηση είναι ο χώρος της για να δράσει. Αυτήν χρησιμοποιεί για να μας μεταφέρει τα αισθήματα των ηρώων της, για να μας προετοιμάσει για μία επερχόμενη καταστροφή, και να μεταδώσει την αγωνία. Μία αγωνία όχι κραυγαλέα αλλά που υπονοείται και η οποία χτίζεται σταδιακά μέχρι την στιγμή της κορύφωσης.Εξαιρετική συγγραφέας που ξέρει να κάνει κάθε σκηνή δική της. Της ανήκουν ολοκληρωτικά το περιβάλλον και οι ήρωες της και χειρίζεται τα πάντα με μαεστρία. Αν εκτίμησα κάτι περισσότερο στην ταβέρνα της Τζαμάικα από ότι στην Ρεβέκκα είναι η ηρωίδα. Μπόρεσα να την κατανοήσω και να την συμπαθήσω περισσότερο, καθώς είναι δυναμική και προσγειωμένη και σαφέστατα λιγότερο αλαφροΐσκιωτη.Τέλος πάντων πολύ καλό βιβλίο, συστήνεται στους πάντες, σε αυτούς που αγαπούν το μυστήριο, σε αυτούς που αγαπούν τα σκοτεινά ζοφερά τοπία, σε αυτούς που αγαπούν τα βιβλία εποχής… όπως καταλάβατε σηκώνει πολλούς αναγνώστες!

  • Werner
    2019-02-03 14:12

    Jamaica Inn is a real building which, as Du Maurier notes in her introductory note here, stood in her own time (and still does) on Cornwall's Bodmin Moor. The old inn caught the imagination of the young author, and she proceeded to spin a tale, envisioning it "as it might have been over a hundred and twenty years ago." (Since she wrote those words in 1935, that puts the setting of the novel somewhat before 1815; the date is never given in the text itself.) And what a tale it is, complete with smugglers and wreckers, violence and danger, romance, murder and insanity, all flavored with a richly Gothic seasoning. Add in a well-realized evocation of one of my favorite historical periods, a palpable sense of place (Du Maurier was actually born in London, but her family had a Cornish summer home; she spent a lot of time in Cornwall, and eventually made it her home), vividly-drawn characters and a masterful prose style, and you have all the ingredients of a fictional banquet that's bound to make me happy! This was my first experience of Du Maurier's work, but it definitely won't be the last. :-)The plot here is compressed into a tight time-frame; it opens in November (with some references made, in Mary's memories, to earlier events), and concludes in early January. (It might be argued by some that this furnishes too little time for a couple to fall in love, and to decide on a life partner; but I would say that those things CAN happen in that time, when the attraction is real and strong.) Du Maurier's writing style has something of the flavor of a 19th-century novel (coming from me, that's a compliment); it doesn't have the elaborate, convoluted syntax, but it does have a substantial quality to it, and makes use of a wide vocabulary. (This was one of very few books in recent decades that sent me to the dictionaries in the house to look up a word!) She creates an atmosphere of oppression and dread in the old inn and its desolate, brooding surrounding countryside with a very deft use of language (and atmosphere is extremely crucial in this type of novel). She introduces key elements of traditional Gothic plotting (the old, menacing, isolated dwelling; the hidden secret; a possible love interest who's compromised by a very plausible reason to distrust him) in a way that seems natural and not formulaic. Her level of description is just right; it's obvious that she knows the varied topography of Cornwall firsthand, and she makes it real to the reader. All of the significant characters here are fully three-dimensional, with positive and negative traits intermingled (obviously in different proportions!), and believable reasons for their actions. The plot makes the book a gripping page-turner, and the climax is as exciting a piece of fictional writing as I've ever read.Given all of these positives, what dropped the book's rating from the full five stars? Well, the plot device of the dropped nail from a horseshoe, which plays such a critical role in unraveling the mystery, struck me as somewhat contrived; I'm not sure a recently-driven nail would come loose so conveniently, or that someone with no reason to think it was there would find it so handily. (I'm also not sure that even someone knowledgeable about horses would know the work of local blacksmiths well enough to recognize a nail, even granting that these nails would have been hand-forged and that blacksmiths wouldn't be numerous.) More importantly, the text is salted with sexist comments, in the words of the male characters and often in Mary's own thoughts. True, this can be viewed as a reflection of the way she's been taught, rather than of Du Maurier's own attitude; and for all her ideas about the frailty of women, Mary Yellan is obviously no coward and not weak. She's not Supergirl; she can experience a good deal of fear when its warranted, and more than once be prostrated by shock and horror. But she's also taken responsibility to care for her dying mother; she chooses to stay at Jamaica Inn to help and protect her Aunt Patience when she'd much prefer to escape; and she displays resourcefulness and courage on more than one occasion. (And while she's no Sarah Tolerance (Point of Honour), she does immobilize a would-be rapist long enough to get away, and she can ask for a pistol and walk into a dangerous situation rather than let a male companion do it.) The overall effect of these comments, though, can be grating. That leads into a point that would constitute a spoiler.(view spoiler)[Jem as a love interest comes across as somewhat sexist at times, both in his comments and in his sometimes cavalier treatment of Mary. I get that he's rough-edged, and that she likes him that way at a subconscious level (it's said with good reason that "opposites attract"), and I can even cut him some slack for being a horse thief, in a harsh economic climate where poor people often bent or broke the law to put food on the table. It's clear from some of his actions that he genuinely does love her. But even though I see why he didn't, I still think he should have told the squire about her being with him in Launceston, rather than keeping silent and going off and leaving her to wonder where he was and to get home by herself; to me, that seems harder on her than exposing her to a possible charge of being an accomplice would have been. And while there was no easy solution to the total disparity of the lifestyles they wanted to lead, it galls me that Mary had to be the one that completely gave up her wishes to be with him, where less stubbornness and selfishness on his part might have allowed for more give and take. (hide spoiler)] I also have another quibble about the ending. (view spoiler)[Mary going off with Jem without a chaperone doesn't horrify me, because I think what constitutes a marriage between a man and woman, morally though not legally, is their explicit pledge of commitment to each other. (Not that the legalities are irrelevant; but Jem's character warrants trust that they'll be tended to.) But going off without a word of notice or explanation to the Bassats, who'd be frantic with worry when she just disappears, is completely out of character for Mary, who's been consistently shown to be responsible and kindhearted. Obviously, Du Maurier was trying for a very dramatic ending. But she achieved it by making her character's conduct come across as shabby and inconsistent with who she is. (hide spoiler)] Finally, I think the "freak" language used in several places in referring to the vicar's albinism was overdone and irritating. (Maybe I'm sensitive on this point because a friend of mine in seminary was an albino.) (view spoiler)[And while I wouldn't say a writer can never depict an albino villain, I do think there was sort of a suggestion here that physical "deformity" accompanies moral deformity. (hide spoiler)].These points, though (some of which are rather subjective), didn't keep me from really liking the book. In the main, I think it's a great read that I'd recommend to anyone with tastes for this type of fiction! (Note: If you're acquainted with the story only through the Hitchcock movie version, you need to know that he did NOT follow the novel very closely. Though it has some significant differences, the 1983 miniseries starring Jane Seymour is a much closer adaptation.)

  • Misfit
    2019-01-23 13:17

    (4.5) A spooky, gothic tale perfect for a stormy October night. "Roads? Who spoke of roads? We go by the moor and the hills, and tread granite and heather as the Druids did before us." Why I have waited so many years to read more of Du Maurier's books I'll never know, but there are definitely more of hers in my immediate reading future! It's early 19C in Southern Cornwall and Mary Yellen's dying mother asks her to sell the family farm and join her Aunt Patience and her husband at Jamaica Inn in Northern Cornwall. Mary arrives and finds that no respectable person will venture near the inn, nor will the carriages stop there for respite. Her once lively and personable aunt is now a terrified shell of a woman married to drunkard inn owner Joss Merlyn. When Joss prepares to entertain "guests" Mary and her aunt are instructed to stay in their rooms and keep their eyes and ears covered -- although our spunky heroine does peek out the window and sees mysterious comings and goings and Mary suspects smuggling. Mary also becomes friends with her uncle's younger brother Joss, a ne'er do well horse thief (among other things) and the mysterious albino minister Francis Davey. A mischance on the way home from the village on Christmas Eve puts Mary in the middle of her Uncle and his nefarious companions in the midst of a more gruesome crime than smuggling, thus setting in motion a terrifying set of circumstances building up to a nail biting finish on the Bodmin moors. While this one got off to a bit of a slow start for me, by the last 50 or so pages I was on the edge of my seat as Du Maurier gradually built up the tension and mystery for a rocking good finish, and a big surprise twist at the end. I really enjoyed the way the author used the spookiness of the moors and the surrounding terrain of Cornwall to set her scenes and it greatly enhanced the feel of the book in general. 4.5/5 stars.

  • Sarah (Presto agitato)
    2019-02-17 11:16

    Nobody does Gothic like Daphne du Maurier. A decrepit inn without guests, wild moors, sinister fogs, smugglers, shipwrecks, a dashing horse thief, an albino vicar, and a murder mystery - all of the ingredients are there when orphaned Mary Yellan arrives at Jamaica Inn to live with her aunt who is married to a threatening man with secrets to hide. The plot may seem over-the-top, but du Maurier excels in this genre, carefully laying the groundwork for a creepy, foreboding atmosphere. Instead of giving us a stereotypical plucky, tough-as-the-guys heroine who would be hard to believe in this early 19th century setting, du Maurier creates a more nuanced character, one who “knew the humility of being born a woman, when the breaking down of strength and spirit was taken as natural and unquestioned,” and yet faces her challenges with an understated, steely resolve. Du Maurier was sensitive to the restrictions women faced when she wrote this novel in 1936, and she subtly weaves those concerns into this book. While not quite at the level of Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel, Jamaica Inn is an enjoyable novel that will be appreciated by fans of du Maurier and Gothic fiction.Alfred Hitchcock's 1939 film was based on du Maurier's book.

  • Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
    2019-02-15 15:15

    Now this author could write:'And then I'll feel the thirst come on me and I'll soak. Soak for hours. It's power, and glory, and women, and the Kingdom of God, all rolled into one. I feel a king then, Mary. I feel I've got the strings of the world between my two fingers. It's heaven and hell. ' Daphne du Maurier has style. The woman has a way with words that is as enchanting as her story concepts themselves. She had a bravery in writing realistic characters who are flawed, shining gems. I was first wowed with the classic Rebecca, and then she wowed me again with The Birds and Other Stories.Jamaica Inn was penned earlier in her career, so it shows she was just learning how to climb the creative ropes the right way. It's not her best work but it's definitely readable because, hello!, it's Daphne du Maurier.Mary was unique in that she didn't mind so much with having to consort with lesser-liked types, those who are criminals or viewed poorly by the local village. She's headstrong and daring, but also unique in that she's not the classic goth heroine who is overcome with compassion, fainting spells, hysteria, and insanely overdone innocence. She may not always be the wisest with her actions, but she's spirited in motive and refreshing with her courage and outlook.The story is goth blended in with disorganized crime. While Gothics of the day usually held back most mystery on the evil deeds going on until later for a big reveal, this one shows them pretty early, having the character deal with them the best she can for the sake of a vulnerable aunt. There is a twist at the end on a villain, of course, but nothing too tightly woven. The book is lackluster because of this. We go through her life at the inn, face the horrors and discover the crimes, but there's not enough tension there to make it overly exciting.“No, Mary had no illusions about romance. Falling in love was a pretty name for it, that was all.” The relationship was another weird thing. It made little sense to me that she was so attracted to the brother, but then again it shows that she circled around to live the same life as the aunt she so harshly judges. He's a classic anti-hero though, so that's cool enough by concept. I didn't understand all the chemistry between them but I think it falls down to a few things - one, that the men's family tree lured in women of her line, like her aunt who had fallen for the uncle when they were younger. Second, that they both had some bond with how they were similar - she liked the adventurous and mildly daring, didn't mind a little lawbreaking, was rather wild and free in a way that would draw him in. That's probably why the uncle liked her a little too.The ending was hardly romantic, it was a little bit of an abrupt afterthought, but if he didn't come back at all it would have bugged me. Overall, the book needed a little more story rather than some of the padding to keep it fresh. It's worth reading for more of du Maurier's fantastic writing ability, her unusual characters who stand out like sore thumbs in a sea of normalcy, and for a darker themed gothic novel that dared to take chances with unusual violence.

  • Kelly
    2019-01-20 15:33

    I hovered between three and four stars but ultimately it gets four- for Mary and for the winds and the rains of the Cornish coast, all of them beautifully described and distinct in my mind after finishing this. The land, as in the best of much of Romantic literature, is the true source of this story's seductive powers.

  • Emma
    2019-01-20 14:14

    I enjoyed this well enough as a work of historical fiction based on smuggling off the coast of Cornwall. I read My Cousin Rachel recently and really enjoyed it but by comparison this wasn't as good.

  • Natalie Richards
    2019-02-05 14:24

    I love the way du Maurier tells a story. This is the third book I`ve read by her and while, for me, it doesn`t have the punch of Rebecca or My Cousin Rachel, I still very much enjoyed it. Full of evil deeds, thievery, malice and the dark moors; it makes for an intriguing read.

  • Mandie
    2019-02-10 11:19

    I don't understand my reaction to this book.I loved Rebecca, it was beautifully and thoughtfully written, but Jamaica Inn leaves me cold and it shouldn't. I really didn't want it to. It has all of the ingredients of a dark and exciting adventure and is populated by caricatures, larger than life and impossible to beleive in. The albino priest, the drunken landlord and his colourless wife...the smugglers, the cliches of the boggy more. No no no.Admittedly it was a less mature novel than Rebecca, written earlier the writers career but it lacked subtlety and for me it didn't work

  • Tatiana
    2019-02-14 12:11

    I have to say, this book by Daphne du Maurier is a little underwhelming. The writing is, as expected, gorgeous. Just like in Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel, it is very atmospheric. There is, no doubt, an air of Emily and Charlotte Bronte's style about it. Considering that I am a huge fan of both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, that's a big plus. Du Maurier is also very skillful at building suspense. A feeling of dread and foreboding is maintained throughout the novel making it an intense reading experience. But the writing is not the weakest point of Jamaica Inn. The story itself is. For me the mystery of Jamaica Inn and the crimes it hides is too simplistic. Nothing much happens in the story besides Mary Yellan trying to figure out what awful business her dreadful uncle is a part of and whose brain is behind the whole crime scheme. She figures it all out very quickly indeed. And we along with her. There are simply not enough characters in this book to not figure out who the biggest bad guy is. As for the perpetrator's motive, I don't think I quite got it. And romance. While there are some great conversations, the love story is a bit rushed and underdeveloped IMO. The heroine is smart and strong-willed, but her attraction to the hero is too quick and her decision at the end of the book is strange. Maybe this is what a genre of gothic romance is all about though? An atmospheric story with a romance of the complexity of an average Harlequin novel? I don't know, I am not very familiar with the genre.Anyway, in spite of my slight disappointment, I am still interested in exploring Daphne du Maurier's works in future, but I hope they are more akin to Rebecca rather than Jamaica Inn. Are they?

  • Maria
    2019-01-26 11:15

    This is my third du Maurier, I have also read Rebecca and Frenchman's Creek. What strikes me the most is how different they are. Yes, the writing style is similar, you can tell that it's the same author, but the tone, the topic and the characters are very, very different from book to book. The heroine of Jamaica Inn, Mary Yellan, has to deal with some very ruthless drunks and criminals. As a young girl on her own, she is pretty much helpless when faced with them. She tries to be independent and brave (and she is, for the most part), but her self confidence comes and goes – there one moment, then quickly washed away when faced with some very difficult situations. I found her character to be quite believable. Mary is a strong-headed young woman, but inexperienced, and she encounters some pretty dangerous individuals. Society at large is not criticized in this book. In that manner, it can be said to be the complete opposite of Frenchman's Creek, where the heroine falls in love with a pirate, and runs around with him and his crew, who are perfect gentlemen and treats her like an equal. The world she is trying to run away from, on the other hand, are one of constraint and gender inequality. Although there are some feminist topics in Jamaica Inn as well, the main focus is the protagonist's struggle to survive and remain safe among very ruthless men. While Dona in Frenchman's Creek wants to hide herself away from the patriarchal society she has lived in all her life, and finds freedom and equality among pirates, Mary is the prisoner of a much darker and more dangerous bunch of criminals, hopelessly isolated from the normal, civilized world around her, a world that does not represent constraint, but safety and normality. Although the comparison to other du Maurier books was interesting, Jamaica Inn as a whole failed to captivate me. Long stretches of it were no more than just ok, and in spite of du Maurier's talent for suspense, this was not a page-turner for me.

  • Tweety
    2019-02-17 10:28

    This was fantastic. I've never read anything by Daphne Du Maurier so I wasn't sure what to expect. Since six of my goodreads friend read it and liked it I was sure I would too since they've got good taste. But nothing prepared me for the suspense of the actual book. It was so good and so nail-biting near the end that I wanted to peak. But because it was so good I didn't dare! Mary Yellen has come to the moors of Jamaica Inn to one, fulfill her promise to her dead mother and two because she needs somewhere to stay. It had been ten years since she'd seen her Aunt Patience, and ten years can change a body vastly..Mary's uncle is a massive, violent hunk of a man with the inability to control his drink. But it's not when he's in his drink that he's dangerous, but when he's quiet and wide awake. He finds a fascination in Mary because she's "Not a fool" like her aunt. He is by turns appalling and grotesque. One moment he will be violent threatening to take someone's head off and the next daintily and gracefully serving Mary at the table. But that's not entirely to spookiness, that comes from the men in the night. The pub which only caters to the scum of the earth. The locked room next to Mary's. And Mary's, Uncle's brother.. a handsome horse thief with his brother's devilish eyes and bound for the hangman's noose just as soon as long as his brother hangs first. Then there's albino preacher, the only friend Mary can count on to help her. With his white eyes and gentle hands he draws Mary to him just as much as he repels. Loved it. I didn't figure it out compleatly till the end. With fogs defending upon the moors and sinister dealings in the night, a kindly preacher and a flamboyant horse thief this book has it all. I can't wait to read another Du Maurier. One last thing, there is a romantic thread but it's not the focus. Still, I was satisfied with it since the characters stayed true to form, even if I'd have liked them to be a little more sure that they were in love. PG-13 There's some violence which while we aren't shown it when it happens, we do get told it later, things like hangings, gun shots through the neck and the murdering of innocent people by drowning. There's and attempted rape, but nothing farther than a kiss. One character makes Mary a proposition which she refuses because she couldn't have lived with herself if she'd behaved like a harpy. Really the PG10-13 is mainly for the violence, (view spoiler)[I didn't really need to be told some people have bitten their tongues off when hanging. Because then I see it...(hide spoiler)]

  • Hana
    2019-02-07 08:15

    Two and a half stars rounded up because the first half was terrific. Lots of sinister Cornish moors atmosphere. Dark, abusive characters. A spunky heroine. But then the story was spun out too long and too improbably. And Mary Yellin went from spunky to foolhardy. I found myself skimming to get to the end. I much preferred Daphne du Maurier's My Cousin Rachel and Rebecca. This just was not her best outing.Content PG for domestic violence and very ugly murders.

  • Stephanie
    2019-02-08 07:26

    This is another really dark piece of literature, right up my alley. If you like 'Wuthering Heights', I promise you that you'll love this book. Don't let the purple cover and pink, script letters turn you off! Poor Mary has no idea what she's getting in to when she goes to live with her aunt and uncle! This book has murder, smugglers, deception, and a quiet romantic thread. It had me from page 1!

  • Lori
    2019-02-03 07:24

    Dark, brooding and suspenseful, a true gothic!! Inspired by the author's stay at the real Jamaica Inn, this gothic tale is shivery and satisfying. Daphne du Maurier created a heroine that is stouthearted and then, gave her a love interest who is realistic, albeit scruffy. I really love the way Daphne du Maurier creates mood and the English moors provided her with the landscape she needed to evoke a sense of unease. Unpredictable fogs, pelting rain, and a tumble-down inn provide a sinister backdrop for this tale of mystery.I can't really add much that hasn't already been praised by other reviewers. I do love that this book was written the year my parents were born, 1936. In a small way, it connects me to the world my parents were born into. I also love thinking about Daphne's stay at the inn and how the rooms might have whispered their secrets to her. It' hard to deny that historic old places such as Jamaica Inn might have a dark past. Thank you, Daphne, for this tale that was just begging to be told by a master of suspense.

  • Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
    2019-01-20 13:25

    Mary complied with her dying mother's wishes that she move in with her Aunt Patience. Little did Mary's mother know what that wish held for Mary.Those wishes turned out to be very unpleasant for Mary. Mary had to endure her uncle's ​horribly ​mean disposition, his illegal activities, his mistreatment of Aunt Patience, and ​Mary's being pulled into it all.Mary saw things at Jamaica Inn that she had never seen before. For one thing​, this Inn never had any guests ​except for unsavory characters.The setting of JAMAICA INN is perfect for this gothic, dark story line. Ms. Du Maurier did it again with her detailed writing and pull-you-in tale. She keeps everything dark enough, subtle​ ​enough, and interesting enough that even though you dislike what is going on and will definitely ​dislike ​Uncle Joss, you can't stop reading.​I literally hated Uncle Joss because of his cruel, rude personality. I felt sorry for Aunt Patience because of her fear of Uncle Joss and her reluctance to leave. I feared for Mary's safety in this desolate, dreary place.The book was a perfect Du Maurier book. The entire book was suspenseful, tense, and had a sinister tone. JAMAICA INN is a book I would recommend to those who know Du Maurier's writing even though it took me this long to know the book was out there and to read it. :) If you don't know Du Maurier's writing, you will want to.Enjoy and read JAMAICA INN when you can. 5/5This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.​

  • Stacey (prettybooks)
    2019-02-12 10:29

    This post is part of the 2015 Classics Challenge.WHEN I Discovered This ClassicI read Rebecca in early 2012 and adored it, so it was about time to pick up another Daphne du Maurier! Virago got in touch to offer copies of Rebecca, Frenchman's Creek or Jamaica Inn as part of the blog tour to celebrate the new adult (left) and young adult (right) editions of the books.WHY I Chose to Read It I have already read and reviewed Rebecca. As for Frenchman's Creek, I don't know how I feel about pirates. But it has received such as glowing response on the blog tour that I might now be persuaded to try it. I enjoyed the quiet suspense of Rebecca, and Jamaica Inn sounded closest to that – a thrilling mystery set on the Cornish moors. Who can resist a dangerous world of smuggling and murder?WHAT Makes It A ClassicDaphne du Maurier writes Gothic fiction full of mystery and suspense. She takes common themes from the classics and makes them feel a little more invigorated, even though it's set in the 1820s – and with even more drizzly treacherous moors than in Wuthering Heights. In Jamaica Inn, the gloomy, foreboding atmosphere is as prominent as the bleak events that occur, as Mary Yellan struggles with the problem of her uncle Joss and his dangerous company.WHAT I Thought of This ClassicJamaica Inn was deliciously dark; much darker and violent than I thought it would be, even with the promise of smuggling and murder! I adored our protagonist Mary, only 23 and incredibly determined. She's instantly undeterred by her terrifying uncle, Joss. And I unexpectedly found myself understanding why Mary was drawn to his young brother, Jem, even as she says: He stood for everything she feared and hated and despised; but she knew she could love him. But perhaps I don't love Gothic literature as much as I thought I did. I did not find myself rushing to get back to the story, similar to my experience of reading Northanger Abbey and the (second half of) Wuthering Heights earlier this year. Perhaps I find that the tension works much better for me with visuals on screen? But nonetheless, the twists kept me interested right up until the explosive ending.WILL It Stay A ClassicI forget how old Daphne du Maurier's books actually are. Her prose is so accessible that her stories could have been published for the first time this year. Jamaica Inn was published nearly 80 years ago and it is still as readable as ever, so I can see Daphne du Maurier's novels still being read years from now. Hopefully the new YA editions will enable teenagers to discover her too! I'll still be checking out more novels from her.WHO I’d Recommend It ToPeople who love Gothic stories like Wuthering Heights, Northanger Abbey and Jane Eyre. People who love adventure, mystery and romance. People who want to read accessible classics. People who love bad boys!I also reviewed this book over on Pretty Books.

  • Kirk Smith
    2019-02-18 10:38

    To begin lets just say this is a dam fine Gothic Thriller. There is homage paid to the Brontes and Austens of the previous century, but du Maurier's style is simple pure Twentieth century. Nothing slows the action but by god the gloomy shadowy continuously drenched moors keep it restrained. A horrible tale with shipwreckers murderers rogues thieves and oh yes that nice albino Vicar in the shovel-bill hat. The object of affection one Mary Yellan, orphaned, moves to give aid to her aunt and must abide the psychotic alcoholic uncle. Even in all this gloomy moody effin darkness there's a little romance to give light to the hopeless long nights on the moors. Nearly, completely dark like I was hoping for!

  • Melissa
    2019-01-30 09:26

    First off, I am really thankful to have won this beautiful new edition from a Goodreads Giveaway! I love Daphne du Maurier and this is a truly great example. Every word is evocative as she paints a vivid picture of each barren landscape and soulless individual. The "love" story is more passion than love and I feel more nervous than happy for our heroine by the end of the novel. But it is refreshing to hear the very mature, knowing rationalization she makes of her situation and to see that she chooses to follow her heart, however misguided it may be. Lots of dark and dangerous plotting here, with atmosphere to spare. Maybe I'll be brave enough to watch Hitchcock's version...

  •  Lisa A
    2019-02-02 11:33

    This is one of those books I wanted to love, but didn't. There were multiple chapters I had to push myself through because the story wasn't progressing well. Unfortunately, this story also lacks the sophistication and suspense that was present in Rebecca. Although likeable, when it comes to romance, Mary Yellan makes a frustrating, stereotypical female main character. If nothing else, reading Jamaica Inn satisfied my curiosity about the variances in ratings by readers. I also enjoyed the eerie physical descriptions of the moors. If you are an ardent du Marier fan, perhaps it is a worthwhile read. Otherwise, I wouldn't recommend it. 2.5 stars.

  • Ferdy
    2019-02-03 12:32

    Spoilers-Mostly boring.-Mary was a decent heroine for the most part. I liked how she remained relatively cool and level headed when faced with difficult/dangerous situations, her loyalty towards her abused aunt was great too. What was annoying about her though was how she fell for Jem (her abusive uncle's younger brother) after meeting him two times and kissing him once. She didn't even know him yet she acted like a lovesick tween. It was even more pathetic because Jem reminded her of her disgusting bastard uncle.-I didn't like the smuggling nonsense, it all seemed rather far fetched and ridiculous. The domestic abuse arc between Mary's aunt and uncle was the most gripping aspect. I hated how there was more focus on the crappy criminal nonsense instead of the more interesting dynamics between an abusive husband and abused wife.-Aunt Patience was irritating, I hated how weak and frightened she was. I did feel sorry for her at times but for the most part I was disgusted at her worshipping her husband… Even when he treated her like rubbish. What did she see in him? -Jem was a bit of a bastard. His hot and cold attitude towards Mary pissed me off. He was also a slut, which I didn't like.-I loved the atmosphere of Jamaica Inn and the moors.-There was way too much description and monologuing.-What is it with Daphne du Maurier having heroines faint over nothing?-I was really disappointed when Mary joined Jem at the end. Why would she go with him? She was desperate to go back home to Helford. She kept banging on about her longing to go back to her farm and her friendly neighbours. So why the fuck would she throw all that away for Jem? He didn't even fight for her. And he couldn't even offer her a home or stability. Why would she want to spend the rest of her life traveling from place to place with no roots? She was so fucking dumb to run away with him. -Such a dull read.

  • kari
    2019-02-14 13:24

    OMG, this book is so so so so so boring. If I had not been reading it for a book challenge, I'd have stopped this one after the first chapter. It is so wordy, so descriptive and every time the action starts to move along, Mary, the protagonist, has to think off on some tangent and imagine this and that while the plot stalls. Too much of the brook burbling or the rain mizzling or the blackness of the moors or the people are like the rocks. After the first description, I don't need to read it another ten or twenty times. The story is about Mary, who, after the death of her mother, goes to live at Jamaica Inn with her aunt and uncle. The uncle is a smuggler and a murderer who, when drunk, keeps spilling all his secrets while saying that Mary must never tell. He says over and over what a bad guy he is. Mary isn't supposed to know about the smuggling but she finds out easily and even though she wants to run away, she won't leave because her aunt won't go.Without posting spoilers, I'll just say that the plot is predictable, with the villain and the hero not being much of a surprise. It's your basic very old fashioned gothic mystery. If you really want to read this author and a classic mystery, choose Rebecca, it's much better than Jamaica Inn.

  • Jeanette
    2019-02-01 15:40

    This is a book I read before. Maybe 40 years ago or more. And I did remember just a few aspects of it. I remembered Mary's Aunt Patience with the "working mouth" quite clearly. But not so much Jem. And now, I don't think that strange at all. Because in a full circle reading of the novel as a whole, Jem didn't get half as much page time. LOL!Shocking that I didn't give it 4 stars, and I definitely would have back then. Now, the number of atmospheric adjectives, adverbs and entire paragraphs by twelve didn't turn me as much into the gloom of the dangers and miserable wreckers as much as it formerly did. And I didn't see Mary's reactions to adversity, disgust, and attraction the same way either. Both readings proved her bravery and intelligence- but this one also revealed far more of her yearnings doing her a far larger disservice than I realized at any level- all those years ago. And what lost an ENTIRE star was the last 3 pages. He plays the smitten but diffident wit filled with sarcasm fused affection and willful spirit, Jem does. And belittles her aptness for "normal" and structure, and good intent too. But what does she do in response? It probably is not a spoiler to surmise.It's also a bit too long and the nasty was (for me he was) obvious from the first carriage ride. That didn't fool anyone, IMHO, all that nice-nice. I thought it incredible her spilling so much nearly immediately. And also out of character for the rest of the book's overall personality depth and rather slow to almost molasses in winter pacing. Although the personality and physical description quirks of at least 10 people in this book still shine as brightly in its fine cut core of "eyes". Wasn't that peddler a piece of work? And Mrs. Bassett wasn't too shabby either. Joss for me, just too easy- the usual huge virulent drunk with an after conscience. Far from rare and given too much time.3.5 stars but rounded down for that ending occurrence chapter and particularly the last 2 pages of conversation which concluded the book. Poor Mary- no bed of roses in any direction!Daphne du Maurier was an excellent mood extender per word count author, but I think this one had too many words per Cornwall moor shrub and granite spike within the tors. Some of those were exact repetitions in overblown English. Not just similar words, but identical ones is another order placement.Rebecca is the masterpiece.