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Jamaica Inn

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  27,421 ratings  ·  2,348 reviews
The coachman tried to warn her away from the ruined, forbidding place on the rainswept Cornish coast. But young Mary Yellan chose instead to honor her mother's dying request that she join her frightened Aunt Patience and huge, hulking Uncle Joss Merlyn at Jamaica Inn. From her first glimpse on that raw November eve, she could sense the inn's dark power. But never did Mary ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published December 17th 2013 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 1935)
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Judy Lindow Well the main character gets abducted a lot and there's a lot of dirty old man talk but she's feisty and survives it all. She's the kinda of gal…moreWell the main character gets abducted a lot and there's a lot of dirty old man talk but she's feisty and survives it all. She's the kinda of gal that's always thinking of a plan and has a strategy. (less)

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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  27,421 ratings  ·  2,348 reviews

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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.

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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)
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 eradicated. ...more
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 – t
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.
Lucy Langford
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

"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 M/>"There's
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-read, classics
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 othe
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
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing

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 theJoss.


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 c
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
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.
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
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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, Mar
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 J
(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
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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 of giving u
Jan 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: great-britain
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 sh
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.
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
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 whe
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OH MAN OH MAN!! I'm speechless and awed by her story making. How do you even rate a book like this a mere 5 stars? It's too good. I'll babble to try to get to the point, so bear with me! (Speechless?)

The story is set in Cornwall in the 1820s at the inn of her Aunt Patience's husband. Joss Merlyn is a bully, a thief, a murderer and a drunk. Mary Yellan made a promise to her mother to live with family bc it isn't right for a woman to live alone. Mary makes it to Jamaica Inn, the house
Natalie Richards
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-book
I love the way du Maurier tells a story. This is the third book I`ve read by her and while, for me, it doesn`t have the punch of Rebecca or My Cousin Rachel, I still very much enjoyed it. Full of evil deeds, thievery, malice and the dark moors; it makes for an intriguing read. ...more
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 first wowed/>'And
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 19-20-19
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 s
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story is even better the third time around. Every time I read it I notice something new.
Diane Barnes
Oct 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm not really a fan of Halloween, it seems to me to be a month long celebration of something that really only deserves a day at most. However, I do use it as an excuse to venture into gothic or horror sometime during the month of October, and this year I chose Jamaica Inn, because du Maurier can be counted on for darkness and suspense, if Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel are any example.

This was promising from the beginning; dark and dreary moors, an Inn with an unsavory reputation, the
I enjoyed this well enough as a work of historical fiction based on smuggling off the coast of Cornwall. I read My Cousin Rachel recently and really enjoyed it but by comparison this wasn't as good.
Oct 29, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
I don't understand my reaction to this book.

I loved Rebecca, it was beautifully and thoughtfully written, but Jamaica Inn leaves me cold and it shouldn't. I really didn't want it to. It has all of the ingredients of a dark and exciting adventure and is populated by caricatures, larger than life and impossible to beleive in. The albino priest, the drunken landlord and his colourless wife...the smugglers, the cliches of the boggy more. No no no.
Admittedly it was a less m
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Classics Cleanup Challenge #8

I've started this book FIVE TIMES today. I keep drifting off. I hope it gets better.

Kinda reminds me of a Brontë novel

So this has been my least favorite du Maurier novel to date.
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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 a fairy tale. Born into a
“Because I want to; because I must; because now and forever more this is where I belong to be.” 119 likes
“Dead men tell no tales, Mary.” 42 likes
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