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Jamaica Inn (Virago Modern Classics)

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An alternative cover edition for this ASIN can be found here. After the death of her mother, Mary Yellan crosses the windswept Cornish moors to Jamaica Inn, the home of her Aunt Patience. There she finds Patience a changed woman, downtrodden by her domineering, vicious husband Joss Merlyn. The inn is a front for a lawless gang of criminals, and Mary is unwillingly dragged int An alternative cover edition for this ASIN can be found here. After the death of her mother, Mary Yellan crosses the windswept Cornish moors to Jamaica Inn, the home of her Aunt Patience. There she finds Patience a changed woman, downtrodden by her domineering, vicious husband Joss Merlyn. The inn is a front for a lawless gang of criminals, and Mary is unwillingly dragged into their dangerous world of smuggling and murder. Before long she will be forced to cross her own moral line to save herself...


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An alternative cover edition for this ASIN can be found here. After the death of her mother, Mary Yellan crosses the windswept Cornish moors to Jamaica Inn, the home of her Aunt Patience. There she finds Patience a changed woman, downtrodden by her domineering, vicious husband Joss Merlyn. The inn is a front for a lawless gang of criminals, and Mary is unwillingly dragged int An alternative cover edition for this ASIN can be found here. After the death of her mother, Mary Yellan crosses the windswept Cornish moors to Jamaica Inn, the home of her Aunt Patience. There she finds Patience a changed woman, downtrodden by her domineering, vicious husband Joss Merlyn. The inn is a front for a lawless gang of criminals, and Mary is unwillingly dragged into their dangerous world of smuggling and murder. Before long she will be forced to cross her own moral line to save herself...

30 review for Jamaica Inn (Virago Modern Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bionic Jean

    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 eradica 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"

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    Upping my rating to 5 stars on reread. 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 novel An isolated, orphaned young woman, 23 year old Mary Yellan, comes to stay with the pr Upping my rating to 5 stars on reread. 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 novel An 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 that her mother received years ago, but finds that he is a hulking, abusive man and her aunt is now 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 only person Mary is willing to trust is the softspoken, 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)]

  3. 5 out of 5

    Candi

    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 w 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!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dem

    Dramatic, compelling and full of twists and turns, Jamacia Inn is an atmospheric gothic tale which chills and thrills in equal measures. An intriguing page turner that had me hooked from the very first chapter.. When it comes to suspense and mystery with a little romance thrown in Daphne du Maurer certainly gives the reader what they are looking for. On a dark and dreary November evening, young Mary Yellan journeys across the moors to Jamaica Inn in honor of her mother’s dying request. When she Dramatic, compelling and full of twists and turns, Jamacia Inn is an atmospheric gothic tale which chills and thrills in equal measures. An intriguing page turner that had me hooked from the very first chapter.. When it comes to suspense and mystery with a little romance thrown in Daphne du Maurer certainly gives the reader what they are looking for. On a dark and dreary November evening, young Mary Yellan journeys across the moors to Jamaica Inn in honor of her mother’s dying request. When she arrives, the warning of the coachman begins to echo in her memory, for her aunt Patience cowers before hulking Uncle Joss Merlyn. Terrified of the inn’s brooding power, Mary gradually finds herself ensnared in the dark schemes being enacted behind its crumbling walls — and tempted to love a man she dares not trust. The story was inspired by du Maurier's 1930 stay at the real Jamaica Inn, which still exists as a pub in the middle of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall, England. I just loved the bravery of the heroine Mary Yellan, a 23 year old who squares up to the her uncle and the bullies of the day, a woman who kicks ass with her words and actions and I loved every moment spent with this character. The plot was intriguing and fast paced. I knew very little about this period of history where groups of murderous wreckers run ships aground, kill the sailors and steal the cargo. There is humor in the story and although it is dark and menacing, I had many laugh out loud moments at some of the old fashioned phrases and sentences. I listened to this one on audible and it was superbly performed by Tony Britton and I just did not want this book to end. Although this was written 1930s this is a book that still stands the test of time when it comes, to suspense and intrigue and just good old fashioned story telling. I think readers who enjoy novels like, The Familiars the The Thirteenth Tale or The House at Riverton May well enjoy this book too. If you have this one sitting on your TBR list, bump it up your list as its well worth the read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Jamaica Inn, Daphne du Maurier Jamaica Inn is a novel by the English writer Daphne du Maurier, first published in 1936. It was later made into a film, also called Jamaica Inn, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It is a period piece set in Cornwall in 1820. It was inspired by du Maurier's 1930 stay at the real Jamaica Inn, which still exists and is a pub in the middle of Bodmin Moor. The plot follows a group of murderous wreckers who run ships aground, kill the sailors and steal the cargo. عنوانها: مهم Jamaica Inn, Daphne du Maurier Jamaica Inn is a novel by the English writer Daphne du Maurier, first published in 1936. It was later made into a film, also called Jamaica Inn, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It is a period piece set in Cornwall in 1820. It was inspired by du Maurier's 1930 stay at the real Jamaica Inn, which still exists and is a pub in the middle of Bodmin Moor. The plot follows a group of murderous wreckers who run ships aground, kill the sailors and steal the cargo. عنوانها: مهمانخانه جامائیکا؛ مهمانسرای جامائیکا؛ نویسنده: دافنه دو موریه؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز سی ام ماه آوریل سال 2006م عنوان: مهمانسرای جامائیکا؛ نویسنده: دافنه دو موریه؛ مترجم فریدون حاجتی؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، دبیر اکباتان، 1386، در 340ص موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی - سده 20م عنوان: مهمانخانه جامائیکا؛ نویسنده: دافنه دو موریه؛ مترجم محمدمهدی پورکریم؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، تیسفون، 1371، در 333ص؛ عنوان: مهمانسرای جامائیکا؛ نویسنده: دافنه دو موریه؛ مترجم فریدون حاجتی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، سمیر، دبیر، 1385، در 248ص، شابک 9789648940237؛ عنوان: مسافرخانه جامائیکا؛ نویسنده: دافنه دو موریه؛ مترجم مجتبی شروقی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، ناس، 1390، در 392ص، شابک 9789649917771؛ ماری یلان دختری ست، که پس از درگذشت مادرش، به نزد خاله‌ ی متأهلش «پاسیانی»، میرود؛ زن و شوهر در محلی پرت و دورافتاده، زندگی می‌کنند؛ شوهرخاله‌ صاحب مهمانخانه، و دائم‌ الخمر، خشن و تندخوست؛ خاله‌ اش نیمه دیوانه شده، و ماری (مری) دلباخته ی برادر کوچک شوهرخاله‌ شده، و ...؛ ا. شربیانی

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amalia Gavea

    “Dead men tell no tales, Mary.” The story of Mary Wellan and her journey to the haunting, dark and fascinating Cornish cost. The tale of a land haunted by terrible crimes, where the souls of the lost cry for justice. A story of obsession, secrecy and violence. A woman’s determination to help the ones in need and to find a path of her own. I first read Jamaica Inn at the age of thirteen and since then, Cornwall has occupied a significant place in my heart. Images of moonlit rocks, stormy waves “Dead men tell no tales, Mary.” The story of Mary Wellan and her journey to the haunting, dark and fascinating Cornish cost. The tale of a land haunted by terrible crimes, where the souls of the lost cry for justice. A story of obsession, secrecy and violence. A woman’s determination to help the ones in need and to find a path of her own. I first read Jamaica Inn at the age of thirteen and since then, Cornwall has occupied a significant place in my heart. Images of moonlit rocks, stormy waves and a lantern flickering in the dark...Many contemporary writers have tried to imitate the tone, the atmosphere and the characterization of Daphne du Maurier’s masterpiece. Yeah, right… “Because I want to; because I must; because now and forever more this is where I belong to be.”

  7. 5 out of 5

    Caz (littlebookowl)

    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.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lucy Langford

    4**** "There's things happen at Jamaica Inn, Mary, that I've never dared to breathe. Bad things. Evil things. I dare not even admit them to myself." Gritty, dark and atmospheric, Du Maurier weaves a Gothic tale set in the cold and chilling moors of Cornwall. The main protagonist is Mary Yellan, a young women who after the death of her mother, takes the long and lonely journey over the moors to the isolated and almost desolate Jamaica Inn, where her Aunt Patience resides with her husband, Joss Merl 4**** "There's things happen at Jamaica Inn, Mary, that I've never dared to breathe. Bad things. Evil things. I dare not even admit them to myself." Gritty, dark and atmospheric, Du Maurier weaves a Gothic tale set in the cold and chilling moors of Cornwall. The main protagonist is Mary Yellan, a young women who after the death of her mother, takes the long and lonely journey over the moors to the isolated and almost desolate Jamaica Inn, where her Aunt Patience resides with her husband, Joss Merlyn. Mary soon discovers that Joss is an abominable man who has "broken" her Aunt Patience though his roguish and abusive ways: "But I tell you this, Mary Yellan; I'll break that mind of yours if you let it go astray, and I'll break your body too." Through being trapped on the moors, Mary Yellan soon learns that there is more to her uncle and the brooding Jamaica Inn, with cart noises in the middle of the night and a mysterious noise of someone walking around in a room down the hallway- but with no one in sight...all of these events which will have dire consequences for Mary if she finds out the true goings on at Jamaica Inn. Even though the darkness and isolation of her seemingly trapped life makes her feel alone, Mary meets an enigmatic man who she starts falling for, despite being someone she cannot trust. She also meets some people she may call "acquaintances", each unsettling in their own ways adding to the question of who can she trust? How do I escape Jamaica Inn? How do I save my Aunt? In this book Du Maurier writes with such description that you too feel surrounded by the moors, with it's mist and moans from the wind. It chokes you and leaves the reader unsettled and gripped by the story. In addition to this description, Du Maurier portrays such an amazing character; bright and inquisitive, brave and loyal, as Mary plunders through the events of the book. Mary Yellan is a brilliant character as she was not a 'conventional' female character at the time of writing/release of this book... she is a character who boldly states that she does not see herself getting married and with no desire to, and she only has the desire to own and work on her own farm. Even through the book another character points out that she thinks much more like a 'male' than a female. So glad to be able to pick up a book again after being more ill than usual recently and to finally get the review done. This was another good book written by Daphne Du Maurier that I've bought some more.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    I just noticed - this is my 900th review! *throws confetti* Who knew classic novels could be so wonderfully creepy? I knew this was gothic, but it still surprised me how disturbing it got - murders, thieves, desolate land, and social isolation makes for one heck of an unsettling story. I loved it! Though ironically the one thing I did NOT love was the romance thrown in there - the setup was fine but her emotions/thoughts were a bit too intense and developed too quickly for my modern tastes. I ha I just noticed - this is my 900th review! *throws confetti* Who knew classic novels could be so wonderfully creepy? I knew this was gothic, but it still surprised me how disturbing it got - murders, thieves, desolate land, and social isolation makes for one heck of an unsettling story. I loved it! Though ironically the one thing I did NOT love was the romance thrown in there - the setup was fine but her emotions/thoughts were a bit too intense and developed too quickly for my modern tastes. I have read two other books by this author (My Cousin Rachel and Rebecca) and while I enjoyed them more, I still think this is definitely worth picking up.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    "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....evi "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.)

  11. 4 out of 5

    ~

    This book is an excellent prime example, as to why I read. "Jamaica Inn" made my heart beat just above the norm, obviously just to let me know that it is still doing it's job, but, Du Maurier seems to be masterful at messing with both my head and my heart, as this is the third time it has happened. I'm certainly not complaining. This girl wants MORE. This is a typical gothic style novel. I love this kind of style, and with a creepy building involved, situated near the Bodmin Moor in Cornwall, ma This book is an excellent prime example, as to why I read. "Jamaica Inn" made my heart beat just above the norm, obviously just to let me know that it is still doing it's job, but, Du Maurier seems to be masterful at messing with both my head and my heart, as this is the third time it has happened. I'm certainly not complaining. This girl wants MORE. This is a typical gothic style novel. I love this kind of style, and with a creepy building involved, situated near the Bodmin Moor in Cornwall, made it even more intriguing. The building in question, Jamaica Inn, is a rather unwelcoming and deteriorating place, which the majority of people avoid like the plague. The answer as to why that is, is uncovered when you read the book. Goddamn, I want to unread this book just so I can experience it all again! The main character, is 23 year old Mary Yellen, and she is pretty fearless, and I couldn't help but like her, even more so as the novel progressed. The character development within this story is incredible. Du Maurier has an amazing writing style, and her descriptive language throughout is beautiful. She kept me entirely hooked until the very end. I liked the way Du Maurier brought in a little romance for Mary, without losing sight of the main plot. It worked. I had an inkling of what was going to happen at the end, but, it still didn't prepare me for what was to come. On finishing this exquisite piece of literature, I cannot say that I feel entirely comfortable or at rest, but I can say, that that was probably what Du Maurier wanted, the reader to feel uneasy. I cannot recommend this book enough!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Duane

    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

  13. 5 out of 5

    PattyMacDotComma

    4★ “‘Your revolt and your disgust please me the more, Mary Yellan,’ he replied. ‘There is a dash of fire about you that the women of old possessed.’” Mary Yellan is 23, and her mother has just died, so she’s off to live with her aunt and uncle at the Jamaica Inn in Cornwall. The trip there is horrendous, with weather and atmosphere that is as unwelcoming as possible: wet, windy, clammy cold, and almost dark in mid-afternoon. “No human being could live in this wasted country, thought Mary, and remai 4★ “‘Your revolt and your disgust please me the more, Mary Yellan,’ he replied. ‘There is a dash of fire about you that the women of old possessed.’” Mary Yellan is 23, and her mother has just died, so she’s off to live with her aunt and uncle at the Jamaica Inn in Cornwall. The trip there is horrendous, with weather and atmosphere that is as unwelcoming as possible: wet, windy, clammy cold, and almost dark in mid-afternoon. “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.” She’s the last one off the coach. The coachman almost shoves her and her trunk off the coach and takes off in a rush. I’m reminded of Dorothy – we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto! Her Aunt Patience is not the lovely sister of her mother who visited years before. She’s a grey, nervous shadow of herself. The landlord, her husband, is a terrifying giant of a man. This is an inn with no guests, no custom, no coaches stopping, but there are odd gatherings in the bar and secret meetings of men. It’s an absolutely miserable place, with an oppressive, forbidding atmosphere and nothing much to recommend it. How Mary manages to keep up her spirits and not hide her “revolt and disgust” is beyond me. And I found it hard to understand how she went walking everywhere around treacherous marshes in dangerous circumstances. “This was a new wind, with a sob and a cry behind it, a wind that came from nowhere, bound from no shore. It rose from the stones themselves, and from the earth beneath the stones; it sang in the hollow caves and in the crevices of rock, at first a sigh and then a lamentation. It played upon the air like a chorus from the dead.” But walk, she did. She tried hard to avoid the boggy marshes, which were like quicksand and sucked people and animals down to their doom. But once night begins to fall, the chances of taking a wrong step are high. It’s a thriller in a great setting with an interesting historical aspect. Mary seemed to be allowed a level of freedom that I thought seemed unrealistic, considering her uncle’s nature. She stood up for herself, almost heedless of the possible repercussions. But if she’d been a doormat, there would have been no thrill and no story. I did figure out a lot of what was happening, but I was still awfully nervous for her and her aunt. Du Maurier is a terrific writer, so it’s got a well-earned reputation as a favourite of many readers. I liked it, but not as much as they do.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    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 characterizat 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.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Werner

    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 sm 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.)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bianca

    This was only my second Daphne du Maurier novel. I loved Rebecca which I read many years ago, in translation. I've sort of forgotten what a wonderful writer du Maurier was. The writing was scrumptious, with descriptions out of this world. I'll repeat what many others stated before me - this was a very atmospheric novel. Besides the stunning descriptions, the characters were multi-layered and diverse. Mary Yallan, the heroine of this novel, was only twenty-three when she became an orphan. After sel This was only my second Daphne du Maurier novel. I loved Rebecca which I read many years ago, in translation. I've sort of forgotten what a wonderful writer du Maurier was. The writing was scrumptious, with descriptions out of this world. I'll repeat what many others stated before me - this was a very atmospheric novel. Besides the stunning descriptions, the characters were multi-layered and diverse. Mary Yallan, the heroine of this novel, was only twenty-three when she became an orphan. After selling everything she goes to Bodmin to live with her Aunt Patience and her husband, the proprietor of Jamaica Inn. Aunt Patience is no longer the vibrant and happy woman Mary knew, but a much older looking woman, frightened and weak. The cause of this change is her brute of a husband, the giant Joss Merlyn, who's an alcoholic and a bully. Oh, how I loved Mary. She's earnest, stoic and tremendously self-assured. She won't be bullied. She concedes to some of her uncle's demands as she wants to rescue her aunt from the hands of her domineering husband. Can you help somebody who doesn't want to be helped? There are a few other characters who come to play a role in this story. One of them is Jem Merlyn, her uncle's much younger brother. He's a charming rascal, given to stealing horses. He's in many ways like his brother while also being very different. Mary is discombobulated by his brazenness, although she holds her own. Another man who comes to Mary's help on different occasions is the albino Vicar of Altarnun, Francis Davey. He's kind and caring and Mary finds herself confiding in him about the hardships at Jamaica Inn. There's also a small cast of drunk men who hang around uncle Joss, carrying out illegal business. Will Mary save her aunt Patience and herself from the inhospitable Jamaica Inn is? Read and you'll find out. Jamaica Inn was spellbinding. I was mesmerised and I didn't want to wake up. This terrific audiobook opened my appetite for more du Maurier. I'm particularly keen to see the BBC adaptation of Jamaica Inn. Also, I hope there's a du Maurier biography, because going by Wikipedia, she had a very interesting life.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    Of all Daphne st Maurier's books that I've read, Jamaica Inn, Rebecca and The House on the Strand are my favorites. I reread them frequently. Du Maurier takes a genre, like romance or time travel, and puts her own stamp on it and makes it entirely richer and more wonderful.Jamaica Inn is in simplistic terms a historical romance, but it is oh so much more than that. The suspense is so finely calibrated, it keeps you on the edge of your seat and the pages turning. A 20ish farm girl, Mary Yellan los Of all Daphne st Maurier's books that I've read, Jamaica Inn, Rebecca and The House on the Strand are my favorites. I reread them frequently. Du Maurier takes a genre, like romance or time travel, and puts her own stamp on it and makes it entirely richer and more wonderful.Jamaica Inn is in simplistic terms a historical romance, but it is oh so much more than that. The suspense is so finely calibrated, it keeps you on the edge of your seat and the pages turning. A 20ish farm girl, Mary Yellan loses her mother to a stroke and has to come live with her Aunt Patience and her uncle whom she has never met.They own Jamaica Inn set in the bleak moors. Mary has never seen this sort of country before and finds it spare and ugly, after the lush green growth of her part of England. She finds her uncle a coarse brute and her aunt a faint shadow of the laughing young beauty she was at one time. Uncle Joss Merlyn has cowed the poor woman into insensibility. Mary determines to save Aunt Patience, skittish and dejected, Patience is terrified of her husband who delights in her torment. There is something or someone else who both aunt and uncle are afraid of and Mary uses her brains, toughness and tenacity to find out what keeps the couple frozen in a trap of their own making. One puzzle is how the couple makes money, since no one ever comes to the inn? Mary is constantly in danger, is surrounded by no one trustworthy, and also finds out a lot about herself along the way.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dilushani Jayalath

    All hail the Queen of Gothic Romance. That is the best manner I can express my feelings about the book. Her style of writing, the prose, the character development, everything was withing my taste. For those who are well versed in the classics and Gothic romance, this may seem almost as if child's play but for me who's is an amateur in this genre, this book truly stands out among others. We have our heroine, Mary Yellen, a truly stalwart woman, who keeps to her morals (even though sometimes her de All hail the Queen of Gothic Romance. That is the best manner I can express my feelings about the book. Her style of writing, the prose, the character development, everything was withing my taste. For those who are well versed in the classics and Gothic romance, this may seem almost as if child's play but for me who's is an amateur in this genre, this book truly stands out among others. We have our heroine, Mary Yellen, a truly stalwart woman, who keeps to her morals (even though sometimes her decisions seem quite futile and stupid) and takes decisions not just fro herself but thinking of even her loved ones. The cogent moment of the story, what really made me like the character of Mary was when, at the face of love, she becomes a victim to the frailty of it too. Personally love, romance has become one of yet another vain part of the human character for me but when we are handed on a plate the vulnerabilities and lengths that humans go, in the name of love, I am truly intrigued. Love is a definite characteristic in humans that ultimately prove to be the downfall or the upliftment. It is not only romance that I am speaking about but familial love too. That is what becomes the true turning point for Mary Yellen. Her love for her aunt which stops her from going to the authorities with the true happenings in Jamaica Inn and it the end her blossoming romance to Jem that stops her from speaking up her misgivings. One turn out to be a tragedy while the other somewhat saves her. Thus, here we are given a perfect look at how love becomes the unbecoming or the ultimate savior of life. That frail feeling that blossoms withing us, can ultimately be stronghold or the perfect weapon against us. Fundamentally, I do not think that was what Mrs. Du Maurier was leaning towards when she was writing this novel, but rather the mystery and suspense. From the first page we are transported to the dark grim moors, we are made to walk along the fog filled paths and wander the dark passages of Jamaica Inn. The elegant writing and the suspense she creates, clearly helps to this cause. We are transported to the eerie quarters of Jamaica Inn. As we read on we are given a vivid detail of the feelings our protagonist feels and we too are taken on the journey to unravel the mysteries of the Jamaica Inn. One of the favorite part of the story was the vivid descriptions of Jamaica Inn and its surrounding moors. The fog, the beaches, the hills, the cobblestone pathways, it is as if we too are living in the same as Mary. We as readers, grieve alongside Mary for the victims of Joss Merlyn. As I read, I could truly feel goosebumps raise on my arms and had my mind running miles per hours trying to figure the truth. Although from the beginning we are given the hints to who the mastermind is, we are still led astray at few points. "They come towards her, shoulder to shoulder, neither seeing nor hearing but moving like blind things to her destruction; and she cried suddenly, and started to her feet, every nerve in her body throbbing and above" This style of writing of Mrs. du Maurier, elegant yet simple enough to understand was what really sold this book for me. The conclusion, in a very non-du Maurier way, is somewhat tied up neatly with a pretty ribbon, our protagonist having a chance at the romance that she almost lost, the bad guys all ending up gone, a new clean slate ready for Mary. The beauty and the appeal of du Maurier books rely on that conclusion, the bittersweet open endings and in a certain way this does deviate from the norm, yet we are not left unsatisfied. We do not know what the ending of Mary would be. For all the intelligent and well-thought decisions she took, she could end up just as same as Aunt Patience, stuck to Merlyn, with a bleak future, at the same time she could be brave and take a different path and change the younger Merlyn to the best too . We are not given a concrete ending yet we are given a satisfying one. In the end we are have left behind the horror, the gloom and the destruction that Jamaica Inn brings.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jessaka

    Foggy Bogs It was a dark and stormy day and night that went into the next day and night and the following day. Tornadoes were being sited; trees were being ripped out by their roots, and houses were being blown away. There were seventy five tornadoes in Oklahoma and elsewhere, mostly Oklahoma. And after that more tornadoes were to follow. It was a good time to just sit on the couch and read a good book, a book about another kind of darkness: It was a dark and stormy day when Mary took a coach to J Foggy Bogs It was a dark and stormy day and night that went into the next day and night and the following day. Tornadoes were being sited; trees were being ripped out by their roots, and houses were being blown away. There were seventy five tornadoes in Oklahoma and elsewhere, mostly Oklahoma. And after that more tornadoes were to follow. It was a good time to just sit on the couch and read a good book, a book about another kind of darkness: It was a dark and stormy day when Mary took a coach to Jamaica Inn in order to live with her Aunt Patience, as her dying mother had requested. Patience lived on the Moors in England, the Moors with it bogs and its fog that enveloped everything. It was an uninhabitable land of rolling hills, trees, and as said, fog and bogs. People and animals that fell into these marshes were swallowed up and were never to be seen again. Mary took one took at Jamaica Inn and found it foreboding. She met Patience’s husband Josh, and she didn’t like what she saw: a drunk who was loose in tongue, cruel and frightening. I didn’t like him either and wished he would just shut up and go away. Still, the book was spellbinding. I couldn’t put it down and was able to forget the storms raging out our window. The story reminded me of the few gothic novels that I had read as a young woman. They were always the same: a woman gets a job as a governess in a mansion whose owner, being widowed with children, needed someone to care for them. These novels were always the same, as I had said: the woman was afraid of her boss, thinking him to be evil, but he never was, and so they fell in love and lived happily ever after. I grew tired of those books after reading maybe 4 or 5. This book was like that but different. The master of the Inn was really evil, and he was married. He was not husband material for anyone, much less his own wife. But most of all, this entire book was well written unlike… Mary walked along the roads to town, staying away from the lowlands, the bogs. She got lost in the night when she failed to get home before dark. She spied on Josh, and went through the danger of being around him and his criminal friends. I got up and watched the storm out our own window. Water was running across our front lawn in large sheets, leaving lakes in the field next door where mosquitoes could breed. And then when the book had ended, Mary was safe, just as we were.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Katie Lumsden

    A compelling, atmospheric novel, which I really enjoyed – though not quite as much as the other two of her books I've read previously.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Maria Espadinha

    The Hitchcockian Muse Strikes Again Purity attracts Evil in the same way Protons attract Electrons. It’s all about Balance and Opposites Attractions! Hence, it was definitely not surprising watching a good girl like Mary Yellan gradually merging into deep dark waters 😈. However, there’s nothing to worry about cos, in due time, this lack of surprise will be generously compensated! 😉 Patience and Fortitude, cos... Du Maurier the Hitchcockian Muse... always delivers! 👍👍👍😍

  22. 5 out of 5

    Antoinette

    I loved reacquainting myself with a gothic novel. The author certainly knows how to create an atmosphere. The opening scene with the wild carriage ride to Jamaica Inn is reminiscent of the scene in Dracula. Your final destination- an isolated, dark, brooding, unkempt inn that seems closed off from everyone in its sheer isolation. The countryside with the moors, the bogs, the tors all come alive with the author's vivid descriptions. The scene has been set for the arrival of Mary, recently orphane I loved reacquainting myself with a gothic novel. The author certainly knows how to create an atmosphere. The opening scene with the wild carriage ride to Jamaica Inn is reminiscent of the scene in Dracula. Your final destination- an isolated, dark, brooding, unkempt inn that seems closed off from everyone in its sheer isolation. The countryside with the moors, the bogs, the tors all come alive with the author's vivid descriptions. The scene has been set for the arrival of Mary, recently orphaned, who promised her mother on her deathbed that she would go live with her aunt in Cornwall at the Jamaica Inn. There she discovers an aunt who lives in fear and an uncle who is downright evil. She discovers the nefarious goings on and her plan is to somehow rescue her aunt and get away from Jamaica Inn. It wouldn't be a gothic novel without some romance and without death. Both are present in this book. The underlying fear of both Mary and her aunt, the not quite knowing what was going on, kept me rapidly reading the pages. Definitely a book that drew me in and kept me interested throughout. I absolutely loved the book!

  23. 4 out of 5

    PorshaJo

    What an absolutely fabulous, gothic tale from none other than Daphne du Maurier. I tried this one via audio a year ago and it just was not the right time. I couldn't concentrate and I didn't care much for the male narrators female audio voices. But I tried it again. I still didn't care much for the female voices the narrator did, but I ended up really enjoying this haunting tale. Mary Yellan is young when her mother dies. Her wish is for Mary to go and live with her Aunt Patience at Jamaica Inn. What an absolutely fabulous, gothic tale from none other than Daphne du Maurier. I tried this one via audio a year ago and it just was not the right time. I couldn't concentrate and I didn't care much for the male narrators female audio voices. But I tried it again. I still didn't care much for the female voices the narrator did, but I ended up really enjoying this haunting tale. Mary Yellan is young when her mother dies. Her wish is for Mary to go and live with her Aunt Patience at Jamaica Inn. Her aunt's husband and innkeeper is a hulk of man, called Joss Merlyn. Joss is a rogue fellow, into some dastardly deeds. On Mary's approach to Jamaica Inn she is told by the coachman that no one goes to the place, and the locals have such a fear of it and the innkeeper. Mary has no idea what she in for. The place is very dark and quite scary. But Mary ends up finding someone quite charming there and it is none other than Joss Merlyn's brother, Jem Merlyn, another crook who steals horses. And so begins this wonderful, mysterious tale. I'm a big fan of Daphne du Maurier books and really enjoyed this one. Jamaica Inn itself and the moors are practically characters themselves. du Maurier is a master storyteller and she really sets the scene. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this one sitting by the fire at night, sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would unfold. Naturally, I guessed it early but it took nothing away from the rest of the book. I'm very happy to finally read this one and now I'm looking forward to the movie version. I'm sure it will not compare to this detailed, gothic tale.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Misfit

    (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 (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.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Piyangie

    Jamaica Inn is the most sinister novel by the author. Set in the Cornwall moors, it is a simple tale on secret smuggling that is carried on the coast of Cornwall and the ensuing murders of that enterprise. It is not a complicated plot, nor exciting and action-driven, yet intriguing in the eerie atmosphere that the author cleverly creates. Du Maurier's writing is unique. It's both picturesque, atmospheric, and mysterious. This style of hers produces such a charm that the readers find it difficu Jamaica Inn is the most sinister novel by the author. Set in the Cornwall moors, it is a simple tale on secret smuggling that is carried on the coast of Cornwall and the ensuing murders of that enterprise. It is not a complicated plot, nor exciting and action-driven, yet intriguing in the eerie atmosphere that the author cleverly creates. Du Maurier's writing is unique. It's both picturesque, atmospheric, and mysterious. This style of hers produces such a charm that the readers find it difficult to resist. This is true to all her works, and especially to this one. The Cornish moors, the Jamaica Inn, the vicarage of Alternun all become characters under the author's clever hand just as the fictitious human characters she creates. This ability of hers to create a living atmosphere in her stories is a unique and fascinating feature in her works. Mary Yellen, our protagonist, is a young and somewhat naive farm girl, who on becoming an orphan, is mixed up unwittingly on a deadly enterprise. Her strength, courage, love, loyalty, and sense of justice are constantly tested. She has a trusting heart and a blind outlook on life which almost cost her her life. I liked Mary Yellen and admired and respected her for her fight for justice notwithstanding the peril to her own life. She is one of the best female protagonists that Daphne du Maurier has created. The story though slow-paced was enjoyable. The time spent on it was worth and satisfying. It certainly wasn't a quick page-turner, but when reading, it took me to the time and place and towards the very action making me so intricately connected with it. I found the experience very pleasing. Jamaica Inn may not be on par with author's other works. Yet, it certainly has merits of its own.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marchpane

    Written over 80 years ago, Jamaica Inn is an early prototype of the sort of fast-paced, twisty suspense thriller that is so popular today. By now, some of what du Maurier does here has become cliched, but man she really nailed the formula: buckets of atmosphere, menacing location, distinctive characters with traumatic backstories, page-turning tension, a late twist, and the Hollywood-ready final showdown. As a gothic melodrama, du Maurier brings her 1930s sensibility to the early 1800s setting, w Written over 80 years ago, Jamaica Inn is an early prototype of the sort of fast-paced, twisty suspense thriller that is so popular today. By now, some of what du Maurier does here has become cliched, but man she really nailed the formula: buckets of atmosphere, menacing location, distinctive characters with traumatic backstories, page-turning tension, a late twist, and the Hollywood-ready final showdown. As a gothic melodrama, du Maurier brings her 1930s sensibility to the early 1800s setting, with lots of winking commentary to things like gender roles, marriage and religion. The heroine, Mary, is refreshingly pragmatic and reasonable, and the villains are truly dastardly, ruthless criminals even by today’s standards (as opposed to just breaching some pious outmoded standards of morality). It does still feel a bit dated though in other ways, eg. describing a character who has albinism as ‘a freak of nature’, and honestly I think most modern readers will pick the ‘twist’ easily, as it is loudly telegraphed. Jamaica Inn, while enjoyable, doesn’t quite earn the label of ‘classic’, but it’s fascinating to watch du Maurier developing the style that later would do just that in Rebecca.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah (Presto agitato)

    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 o 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.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    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 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 behaves as perfect gentlemen. The world she is trying to run away from, on the other hand, is one of constraint and gender inequality, and the book critiques this througout. Although there are feminist topics in Jamaica Inn as well, it's not first and foremost in the critique of patriarcal society, like in Frenchman's Creek it's in the protagonist's immediate struggle to survive and remain safe among a band of very ruthless criminals. 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, on the other hand, is the prisoner of much darker and more dangerous 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.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    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.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*

    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 fir 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.

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