Jamaica Inn Mass Market Paperback – 1936
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Top Customer Reviews
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 Jem, a ne'er do well horse thief (among other things) and the mysterious albino minister Francis Davey. A mischance on the road 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.
Mary Yellan is an appealingly scrappy heroine, if somewhat prone to foolhardy actions. I liked that she had guts and that she could be honest about her feelings about a man she had no business loving. Another plus for this book: I bought her falling in love with the roguish horse thief Jem Merlyn. I myself found him sexy (wish there had been more of him in the book). Their chemistry was a nice reflection of the less benign pairing of Mary's poor Aunt Patience and the brutish Joss Merlyn. Perhaps my favorite line because it spoke volumes in few words is "Now Mary understood why she hated her uncle." Or something to that effect.
DuMaurier goes a little overboard in the description of the moor and the tors, although I admit it is necessary to establish the setting. A big reason I do love DuMaurier books is the strong sense of place and time. I suppose that this particular setting was not as interesting as - say - the estate in Rebecca. I knew so because my eye would dart down the page and the next for quotation marks in the hopes that a conversation would break up the lengthy descriptions.
In short one could do a lot worse than this book in the general realm of fiction but as far as DuMaurier fiction is concerned, one could do somewhat better.
I really enjoyed this book - the first du Maurier I had read, and it has certainly made me keen to read more.
Most recent customer reviews
Read this over 30 years ago in high school, was so pleased to find and be able to again enjoy.Published 12 months ago by Annette Derry
A 20th century masterpiece. I've read it several times in my life. Always keeps me engaged.Published 16 months ago by BGreenwood
I've loved Daphne Du Maurier for years, ever since seeing the movie version of "Rebecca" as a young girl, and later, reading the novel. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Anne Martin
Mary Yellan is our spunky protagonist who has come to stay with her Aunt Patience and Uncle Joss, and evil man who is the landlord at Jamaica Inn. Read morePublished on June 4 2002 by Denise Holmes
For anyone who likes romance and suspense, this book is for you. I agree that sometimes the book drags on, but then so do many classics... Read morePublished on June 3 2001 by Diana
An account of the dark reality of life and human nature. A grim way of life in crime, murder, and abuses. The characters are caught in the horrid crimes of the times. Read morePublished on Oct. 27 2000 by Kathy Struewing
Excuse me miss 17-year-old from the Netherlands but you just gave away the entire plot of the book. Nice going. Thanks. Read morePublished on Jan. 3 2000 by Margaret Taylor
Although not as deep emotionally as Rebecca, DuMurier did a nice job in changing the setting and time period to one that is totally different. Read morePublished on Dec 7 1999