Jamaica Inn
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Jamaica Inn

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  11,127 ratings  ·  876 reviews
Her mother's dying request takes Mary Yellan on a sad journey across the bleak moorland of Cornwall to reach Jamaica Inn, the home of her Aunt Patience. With the coachman's warning echoing in her memory, Mary arrives at a dismal place to find Patience a changed woman, cowering from her overbearing husband, Joss Merlyn.

Affected by the Inn's brooding power, Mary is thwarted...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published 1947 by Victor Gollancz (first published 1935)
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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...more
Apr 21, 2012 Werner rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of historical and Gothic fiction
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...more
Sarah (Warning: Potentially Off-Topic)
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 g...more
(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...more
Jul 05, 2007 Stephanie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: do you like 'Wuthering Heights'?
This is another really dark piece of literature, right up my alley. If you like 'Wuthering Heights', I promise you that you'll love this book. Don't let the purple cover and pink, script letters turn you off!

Poor Mary has no idea what she's getting in to when she goes to live with her aunt and uncle! This book has murder, smugglers, deception, and a quiet romantic thread. It had me from page 1!
I have to say, this book by Daphne du Maurier is a little underwhelming.

The writing is, as expected, gorgeous. Just like in Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel, it is very atmospheric. There is, no doubt, an air of Emily and Charlotte Bronte's style about it. Considering that I am a huge fan of both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, that's a big plus. Du Maurier is also very skillful at building suspense. A feeling of dread and foreboding is maintained throughout the novel making it an intense reading...more
No need to visit the benign Jamaica Inn on England's southern shore, you've had the experience of the perpetually isolative, foreboding, and murderously Gothic Inn between the covers of Daphne du Maurier's suspenseful classic.

The author's hauntingly descriptive passages of the forbidding house on the 20 mile stretch between Bodmin and Launceston, surrounded by the unforgiving moors will transport you there. You'll know immediately that this is another time, and these inhabitants of the Cornish c...more
Diane D.
Reluctantly, I must return this book to the library tomorrow. I LOVE Daphne Du Maurier, and must add this book to my collection. Jamaica Inn is a real place, in between Bodmin and Launceston (you can google it), and according to what Du Maurier writes in her note in the beginning of the book in 1935, this sinister, page-turner of a tale is how she imagined it might have been 120 years ago.

Du Maurier's writing is superb, in my opinion. For example, she writes about the "granite sky and a mizzlin...more
I don't understand my reaction to this book.

I loved Rebecca, it was beautifully and thoughtfully written, but Jamaica Inn leaves me cold and it shouldn't. I really didn't want it to. It has all of the ingredients of a dark and exciting adventure and yet...it is populated by caricatures, larger than life and impossible to beleive in. The albino priest, the drunken landlord and his colourless wife...the smugglers, the cliches of the boggy more. No no no.
Admittedly it was a less mature novel than R...more
Suzanne Cole
Warning: contains spoilers
Jamaica Inn is probably my favorite of all the Du Maurier books I have read so far. Whenever I say this to a hardened fan the response I usually
receive is that J.I is quite good but nowhere near as absorbing or well written as Rebecca. In some respects I understand this response and I am happy to admit that J.I is less mature and certainly not as clever or insightful as Rebecca, but I also believe this to be a somewhat unfair comparison. To start with this book was wri...more

-Mostly boring.

-Mary was a decent heroine for the most part. I liked how she remained relatively cool and level headed when faced with difficult/dangerous situations, her loyalty towards her abused aunt was great too. What was annoying about her though was how she fell for Jem (her abusive uncle's younger brother) after meeting him two times and kissing him once. She didn't even know him yet she acted like a lovesick tween. It was even more pathetic because Jem reminded her of her disgus...more
What is it about tales of smugglers, wreakers and pirates that is so deliciously compelling? Even now, in a landlocked city in the 21st century, these kinds of tales are able to raise the hairs on the back of my neck. I can remember being utterly thrilled by the Kipling’s poem The Smugglers Song when I first came across it in primary school – it somehow had the same exciting quality about that those old tales of smugglers always have. Reading those lines now after all these years -it seems prett...more
Mar 30, 2014 Wanda rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wanda by: Melinda
Shelves: 2014
29 MAR 2014 -- received from Melinda. Jamaica Inn will be the perfect book to read this week-end as I recover from a very bad sore throat. Not feeling 100% myself, I will allow myself the luxury of sitting on my favorite leather chair (my new furniture purchase - thank you tax return), with my feet propped up, drinking honeyed tea, and sharing an adventure to Jamaica Inn. Having only read Rebecca (I did try another of du Maurier's books and promptly DNF'd it -- what was the name of that dreaded...more
First of all, I am a huge fan of Daphne du Maurier (Rebecca, My Cousin Rachel). She is the master of the suspenseful gothic novel. Jamaica Inn is fantastic. It is not a sweet Jane Austen read so beware! It is a compelling story with a sympathic character thrown into a bizarre situation filled with suspense and mystery. There's even a bit of romance thrown in. Definately a good read, as are all of du Mauriers!
Terri Lynn
I love this book. Daphne du Maurier sweeps the reader away along with 23-year-Mary to the moors of Cornwall. Mary has led a simple but difficult life with her widowed mother trying to keep their farm aloft but when her mother dies , Mary must follow her mother's wishes and go to her Aunt Patience on the desolate moors of Cornwall because her father had died earlier and she has no home after everything is sold.

Right from the start, the coachman and a lady in the town near Jamaica Inn warn Mary n...more
OMG, this book is so so so so so boring. If I had not been reading it for a book challenge, I'd have stopped this one after the first chapter. It is so wordy, so descriptive and every time the action starts to move along, Mary, the protagonist, has to think off on some tangent and imagine this and that while the plot stalls. Too much of the brook burbling or the rain mizzling or the blackness of the moors or the people are like the rocks. After the first description, I don't need to read it anot...more
An amazing, perfect story; gripping from beginning to end. Daphne Du Maurier is a true story-teller with a wonderful talent for description; effortlessly and poetically describing scenes so simply and succinctly. I often felt as if I was right there; everything seemed so real: the country, the characters, the setting. I also felt such a deep sense of familiarity with the story or a connection: as if I'd either read the book before or lived it. Mary was a heroine in my eyes from the beginning: th...more
More intensely gothic than Rebecca, this novel focuses on a young girl who goes to live with her shadow of an aunt and terrifying uncle on the windswept moors. She eventually realizes what the danger is that terrorizes her aunt….but can she stand up against it? And can she overcome the temptation of her uncle’s handsome-but-dangerous younger brother? And will the assorted villagers prove helpful or treacherous?? It’s quite exciting, and extremely atmospheric.
Another fantastic book from du Maurier who, from the 3 books of hers that I've read to date (this, Rebecca, and Frenchman's Creek), seems incapable of writing anything less than brilliant. Master storyteller is, in her case, an extremely well deserved plaudit.

Mary Yellan, newly orphaned, comes to live with her Aunt & Uncle at Jamaica Inn, a place so forbidding that even the locals avoid it. Finding her Uncle a mean, brutal, drunken bully and her Aunt a shadow of her former self, Mary decides...more
BrokenTune [Disclaimer: My opinion is not paid for by Amazon.]
I finished Jamaica Inn in the early hours of this morning and spent most of today thinking about whether I should give it 3 or 4 stars and whether to add a review – there have been so many already, and so much of what can be said about JI has been said:

There’s a lot of scope for discussion whether the characters are too simple, whether the plot is predictable, whether Du Maurier had found her voice as a writer, yet (even though JI is not her debut and Rebecca was published only two years later),...more
Oct 24, 2008 Robert rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Robert by: No one
Mary Yellen, the wonderful heroine from Daphne du Maurier’s brilliantly suspenseful and atmospheric novel Jamaica Inn, is an adventurous, spunky, yet naïve young woman who must leave her beloved Helford, because of the dying wish of her mother to go live with her aunt. The horror and suspense build from that moment on after Mary arrives at Jamaica Inn (a desolate, creepy and seemingly empty place of business deep in the dangerous Cornish moors far from the nearest city). Mary is greeted by the f...more
Jun 15, 2009 Donna rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: 2009
Well I enjoyed this one. I know, shock horror I enjoyed a classic! Well it was a Virago Modern Classic so a bit more recent which helped.

It is set in the late 19th century and is the story of Mary Yellan who moves to stay with her Aunt and Uncle at Jamaica Inn on Bodmin Moor when her mother dies. It is not a typical inn though, there are no guests and the coaches pass on by without stopping. The landlord (Mary's uncle by marriage) is a wrong'un and is involved in smuggling, and her poor aunt kee...more
Tim Pendry
Mar 23, 2008 Tim Pendry rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: classics, five-star
Today's Jamaica Inn is a bit of a forlorn tourist trap so read this before you pass by. It really is a rollicking good story and it picks up on Du Maurier's grand theme - that people are complex, unknowable until the end and almost impossible to judge. Doing the right thing is never clear when you don't have all the facts. She is mistress of story-telling and writing. The book is a deserved classic.
John Newcomb
I was put off reading this novel having seen the film. Having now read it, I realise it bears no resemblance to the film. A wonderful book; Daphne's take on Wuthering Heights is a wonderful novel; creepy scary stark and barren. What a mess Hitchcock made of it.
Alex is The Romance Fox
Having just read a Mills & Boon book set in Cornwall, I wanted to read more books set there…and who better than Daphne Du Maurier’s stories!!! No one has written about Cornwall like she has. Some of my favorite books written by her are set in Cornwall…Rebecca, Frenchman’s Creek and of course Jamaica Inn.

Daphne du Maurier is one of those authors that I have a great love for. Ever since I read one of her books many many years ago, I have been captivated by her stories and can’t even remember h...more
Mary Yellan is one of my favourite heroines. Trapped at the desolate Jamaica Inn in loyalty to her mother’s dying wish, she gets drawn into the sinister criminal activites of her menacing Uncle Joss. Anyone could forgive her for indulging in a little self-pity but that’s not for Mary. Though frightened and at times desperately lonely, she refuses to let Joss bully and break her as he has her Aunt Patience.

Mary is not without her faults, at times her actions seem downright foolhardy - and she ha...more
This was just an ok read for me. Though I am a huge fan of Daphne du Maurier this was not my favorite story. If you are new to the author I recommend starting with Rebecca or Frenchman's Creek.
From the very first page I was engrossed in this book. Daphne (I feel like we should be on first name terms, like old friends) creates a gothic, oppressively gloomy atmosphere, throws in an evil band of smugglers, handsome rake and an albino vicar and centers it all around a young, sensible, and very capable heroine. How could you not root for Mary Yellen as she pledges not to leave the nasty and forbidding Jamaica Inn without her pathetic aunt in the hands of her despicable husband? After readi...more
Leanne (Lolita)
This is my third du Maurier novel and it is by no means my last.There is something about this authors writing style that captures my attention and I am hooked from the beginning to the end. Jamaica inn tells the story of Mary Yellan, whose mother has recently died, and so she goes to live with her aunt and uncle at Jamaica Inn. It is apparent that there is something sinister going on in this isolated inn with its brutish landlord. Without giving anything away, I will say that it is a tense and g...more
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If Daphne du Maurier had written only Rebecca, she would still be one of the great shapers of popular culture and the modern imagination. Few writers have created more magical and mysterious places than Jamaica Inn and Manderley, buildings invested with a rich character that gives them a memorable life of their own.

In many ways the life of Daphne du Maurier resembles that of a fairy tale. Born int...more
More about Daphne du Maurier...
Rebecca My Cousin Rachel Frenchman's Creek The House on the Strand The Birds: and Other Stories

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“Because I want to; because I must; because now and forever more this is where I belong to be.” 75 likes
“Dead men tell no tales, Mary.” 24 likes
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