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Jamaica Inn

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On a bitter November evening, young Mary Yellan journeys across the rainswept moors to Jamaica Inn in honour 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.

302 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1936

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About the author

Daphne du Maurier

404 books8,235 followers
Daphne du Maurier was born on 13 May 1907 at 24 Cumberland Terrace, Regent's Park, London, the middle of three daughters of prominent actor-manager Sir Gerald du Maurier and actress Muriel, née Beaumont. In many ways her life resembles a fairy tale. Born into a family with a rich artistic and historical background, her paternal grandfather was author and Punch cartoonist George du Maurier, who created the character of Svengali in the 1894 novel Trilby, and her mother was a maternal niece of journalist, author, and lecturer Comyns Beaumont. She and her sisters were indulged as a children and grew up enjoying enormous freedom from financial and parental restraint. Her elder sister, Angela du Maurier, also became a writer, and her younger sister Jeanne was a painter.

She spent her youth sailing boats, travelling on the Continent with friends, and writing stories. Her family connections helped her establish her literary career, and she published some of her early work in Beaumont's Bystander magazine. A prestigious publishing house accepted her first novel when she was in her early twenties, and its publication brought her not only fame but the attentions of a handsome soldier, Major (later Lieutenant-General Sir) Frederick Browning, whom she married.

She continued writing under her maiden name, and her subsequent novels became bestsellers, earning her enormous wealth and fame. Many have been successfully adapted into films, including the novels Rebecca, Frenchman's Creek, My Cousin Rachel, and Jamaica Inn, and the short stories The Birds and Don't Look Now/Not After Midnight. While Alfred Hitchcock's films based upon her novels proceeded to make her one of the best-known authors in the world, she enjoyed the life of a fairy princess in a mansion in Cornwall called Menabilly, which served as the model for Manderley in Rebecca.

Daphne du Maurier was obsessed with the past. She intensively researched the lives of Francis and Anthony Bacon, the history of Cornwall, the Regency period, and nineteenth-century France and England. Above all, however, she was obsessed with her own family history, which she chronicled in Gerald: A Portrait, a biography of her father; The du Mauriers, a study of her family which focused on her grandfather, George du Maurier, the novelist and illustrator for Punch; The Glassblowers, a novel based upon the lives of her du Maurier ancestors; and Growing Pains, an autobiography that ignores nearly 50 years of her life in favour of the joyful and more romantic period of her youth. Daphne du Maurier can best be understood in terms of her remarkable and paradoxical family, the ghosts which haunted her life and fiction.

While contemporary writers were dealing critically with such subjects as the war, alienation, religion, poverty, Marxism, psychology and art, and experimenting with new techniques such as the stream of consciousness, du Maurier produced 'old-fashioned' novels with straightforward narratives that appealed to a popular audience's love of fantasy, adventure, sexuality and mystery. At an early age, she recognised that her readership was comprised principally of women, and she cultivated their loyal following through several decades by embodying their desires and dreams in her novels and short stories.

In some of her novels, however, she went beyond the technique of the formulaic romance to achieve a powerful psychological realism reflecting her intense feelings about her father, and to a lesser degree, her mother. This vision, which underlies Julius, Rebecca and The Parasites, is that of an author overwhelmed by the memory of her father's commanding presence. In Julius and The Parasites, for example, she introduces the image of a domineering but deadly father and the daring subject of incest.

In Rebecca, on the other hand, du Maurier fuses psychological realism with a sophisticated version of the Cinderella story. The nameless heroine has

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Profile Image for Bionic Jean.
1,256 reviews1,129 followers
September 17, 2023
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. 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

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.

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."

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:


"My Cousin Rachel"

"The House on the Strand"
Profile Image for Candi.
622 reviews4,714 followers
August 27, 2015
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!
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.8k followers
June 24, 2018

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:
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews46 followers
January 19, 2022
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»؛ «مسافرخانه جامائیکا»؛ نویسنده: دافنه دو موریه؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز سی ام ماه آوریل سال2006م

عنوان: مهمانسرای جامائیکا؛ نویسنده: دافنه دو موریه؛ مترجم فریدون حاجتی؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، دبیر اکباتان، سال1386، در340ص؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیا - سده20م

عنوان: مهمانخانه جامائیکا؛ نویسنده: دافنه دو موریه؛ مترجم محمدمهدی پورکریم؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، تیسفون، سال1371، در333ص؛

عنوان: مهمانسرای جامائیکا؛ نویسنده: دافنه دو موریه؛ مترجم فریدون حاجتی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، سمیر، دبیر، سال1385، در248ص، شابک9789648940237؛

عنوان: مسافرخانه جامائیکا؛ نویسنده: دافنه دو موریه؛ مترجم مجتبی شروقی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، ناس، سال1390، در392ص، شابک9789649917771؛

ماری یلان، دختری است، که پس از درگذشت مادرش، به ��زد 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 ...؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 18/12/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 27/10/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Baba.
3,618 reviews986 followers
February 11, 2021
Bracken and gorse and rocks and tors! Heather and mists and winds and moors! Young adult newly orphaned farmer's daughter Mary Yellen has to move in with her auntie and uncle; her uncle the landlord of Jamaica Inn, a place that nobody even stops at and that never has any patrons! Du Maurier pulls no punches in setting up some obvious plot points and characters only for us to see further reveals when the mist clears. On top of that we get the usual strong female character, despite the book being published in the 1930s.

I sorted of expected some off-beat romance, set in a smokey inn with some sort of older female chaperone in the mix... like I completely forgot who du Maurier was! This is a book about lots of bad men, living in a near feudal society where woman live secondary lives and the 'working people' serve the elite; where du Maurier virtually single handed creates and nurtures the 'bad boy' romantic lead and then doubles down on the bad; where villains look like villains and everything is obvious, but turns out not to be in the way the reader was led to believe!

I considered this a modern classic before I read it, and still do, although I feel Frenchman's Creek is more deserved of the acclaim this book gets. For what it is worth I couldn't put this down for the last 100 pages. 7 out of 12
Profile Image for Dem.
1,190 reviews1,131 followers
July 1, 2020
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 Familiars by Stacey Halls the The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield The Thirteenth Tale or The House at Riverton The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
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.
Profile Image for Nicole.
510 reviews14.3k followers
April 16, 2022
Niestety bardzo się wynudziłam.
Profile Image for Dilushani Jayalath.
995 reviews162 followers
December 23, 2020
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 within 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 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 for 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 or 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 in the end her blossoming romance to Jem that stops her from speaking up the misgivings. One ends 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 within us, can ultimately be a 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 are taken on the journey to unravel the mysteries of the Jamaica Inn too.

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.
Profile Image for Henry Avila.
468 reviews3,253 followers
April 28, 2022
As the crow flies so does Mary Yellan to find not just substance but to the young lady's great goal and hope an
escape from the past, if she can't eliminate the atrocious memories at least make them vague enough to live a life of dull existence, the pain will be bearable she needs to forget. When her mother expires in the Cornish coast of England (set in 19th century) the unprofitable farm kills, has no charm, Mary doesn't look back Aunt Patience her mother's sister will help her she had said. And although unknown to Mary the relative resides in the Jamaica Inn from another village far away, her husband Uncle Joss a giant of a man intimidates with an evil well - deserved reputation, the inn likewise. A place sad to look at and the neighbors avoid at all cost with good reason. The falling old dilapidated structure is in need of repair if the landlord cared, too busy drinking. Poor Mary feels herself imprisoned , the ugly lands surrounding the area are called moors they make for an eerie sight, more important defending herself against Uncle Joss , he imbibes like five men and takes a week for liquid pleasure and days to return to the world. Worst, the criminal activity the newcomer feels and soon sees around the dismal Jamaica Inn evidence of these transgressions are...
a smuggling nefarious gang they dislike taxes and profit from their midnight walks on the beach, sometimes murder luckless sailors, however the isolation keeps the open secret if not quite that , the modern term used...plausible deniability sounds almost respectable (there are two other important, interesting characters that I'll keep hidden so you can discover yourselves).Yet Jem Merlyn the younger brother of Uncle Joss appears , Mary is smitten and thoughts of pleasant nature begin to dominate her wishes and desires is happiness possible, can she become this way?
A little obstacle for the maybe future couple the man is
a horse thief by occupation, not a long lasting vocation for sure, a dangerous job indeed, still he is a handsome man...a stranger the girl wants. This novel by Daphne du Maurier of Rebecca fame is not in that class, a more ordinary book nevertheless a good read for most people, this will not be my last trip with the splendid writer. I could be too harsh in my assessment... she had ability which few today have this magic if I can call it that. Second opinion while a novels value goes up or down as the relentless clock moves ahead and most are left for the ashtray a serious connoisseur seeks the unpolished jewels... may this never change.
Profile Image for Lucy.
417 reviews625 followers
July 6, 2022

This was even better the second time around! The atmosphere of the moors and gothic scenery, as well as Jem and Mary together I enjoyed. The ending did drag a little but still a good read.

Original review:


"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.
Profile Image for Caz (littlebookowl).
302 reviews40.2k followers
May 5, 2015
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.
December 25, 2020
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!
Profile Image for Holly.
1,449 reviews1,088 followers
February 19, 2019
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.
July 29, 2019
Από την πρώτη σελίδα του
Jamaica Inn, η Du Maurier ζωγραφίζει με την μοναδικά υποβλητική της γραφή, ένα σκιώδες, σκοτεινό, γοτθικό σκηνικό, πάνω στα άγρια ερημικά τοπία της Κορνουάλης.
Εκεί, που οι κραυγές χάνονται στην ομίχλη του τρόμου και οι αρχέγονες προσευχές των ψυχών δεν έχουν ναούς, ούτε Θεό.
Εκεί, που οι χειμώνες ζουν παντοτινά σε απόκρημνες χαράδρες και τα εγκλήματα βρομάνε θαλασσινή αύρα που σαπίζει και ματώνει απο την αλμύρα της ενοχής.

Εκεί, που άνεμοι απο το νεκροταφείο του βυθού της θάλασσας, μέχρι τους ξάγρυπνους ήπιους και δολοφονικούς βάλτους καλούν τα πνεύματα απο τα σκουριασμένα ναυάγια σε μια νεκρική Ωδή απο πνιγμένα ουρλιαχτά.
Η ταβέρνα της Τζαμάϊκας δημιουργεί μύθους, εφιάλτες, εγκλήματα και ρομαντικά όνειρα μίσους, απο αυτά που ξυπνούν πάθη και αταίριαστους έρωτες.

Τα περισσότερα βράδια είναι κατασκότεινη και αμπαρωμένη, με κλειδαριές που ξέρουν να τιμωρούν όσους δεν κρατούν μυστικά.

Όταν φωτίζεται, η θλιβερή και άψυχη ταβέρνα ανοίγει την πόρτα της και η γκρίζα πλίθινη αθλιότητα της υποδέχεται λαθραίες ζωές, εγκαταλλειμένες απο ψυχή. Τερατώδεις υπάρξεις γεμάτες ρυτίδες πάνω σε κουφάρια
σκιών και μουχλιασμένων τοίχων.

Η στοιχειωμένη ταβέρνα γεμίζει μαζί με την Σελήνη και τότε πνίγεται απο καπνούς, στυφές μυρωδιές ποτού, στυγνές αποφάσεις θανάτου, και μια αίσθηση της ζέστης και βρόμικης ανθρώπινης παρουσίας, που γελάει μεθυσμένα και στριμώχνεται σε λεκιασμένες σκέψεις και σκούρους πάγκους.

Αφού επισκέφτηκα το πανδοχείο Jamaica Inn το αποφάσισα, δεν θα έκανα ποτέ check in.

Καλή ανάγνωση.
Πολλούς ασπασμούς.
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,155 followers
October 22, 2015

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.)

Profile Image for Magrat Ajostiernos.
580 reviews4,067 followers
November 9, 2019
Esta es la tercera novela que leo de du Maurier (Tras 'Rebeca' y 'Mi prima Rachel'), y me ha parecido la más sencillota y plana, pero aún así tiene algo que me ha tenido atrapada toda la lectura. Seguramente sea esa manera de escribir tan genial de la autora, y especialmente la recreación de los páramos misteriosos, fríos, tormentosos... que me recordaban una y otra vez a aquellos que describían las Brontë en sus novelas...
La historia tiene más de aventura y misterio que de horror, pero tiene puntitos bastante escalofriantes precisamente porque aquí el mal está encarnado por el hombre y no por unos fantasmas... Sea como sea, creo que es una lectura perfecta para leer bajo la manta y de noche para transportarte a esos lugares fríos y desoladores...
Es de agradecer el caracter de la protagonista, que a pesar de vivir en la época victoriana, tiene caracter, valentía y fuerza de voluntad a raudales, y no le da miedo demostrarlo... El final, eso sí, muy previsible, pero eso no estropeó para nada la lectura, que me resultó altamente entretenida.
Profile Image for Duane.
828 reviews429 followers
May 12, 2017
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
Profile Image for Werner.
Author 3 books598 followers
April 21, 2012
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.

I also have another quibble about the ending. 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.) .

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.)
Profile Image for PattyMacDotComma.
1,485 reviews842 followers
August 24, 2020
‘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.
Profile Image for Jason Koivu.
Author 7 books1,255 followers
March 5, 2022
Atmospheric, yes, but I didn't get the thrills and chills I expected from this midnight-smuggling, murder mystery.

Profile Image for Bianca.
1,081 reviews918 followers
November 3, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Beverly.
833 reviews313 followers
October 12, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Mara.
1,635 reviews3,883 followers
May 2, 2021
If you are down for a bit of slow burn that relies a lot on ooky spooky *vibes* for the first 2/3 of this one, the last 100 pages really pay off. No one does the foggy, ominous thing like Du Maurier, and for me, the ride was well worth the destination
Profile Image for Nikoleta.
693 reviews274 followers
October 28, 2022
Η ταβέρνα της Τζαμάικας μου άρεσε πολύ περισσότερο από το Ρεβέκκα. Αν και τα κοινά των δύο μυθιστορημάτων είναι πολλά περισσότερα από τις διαφορές τους. Η Μωριέ ανήκει στο ρομαντικό είδος ή πιο συγκεκριμένα στο sensational. Αν και ευτυχώς για εμένα της λείπει η μελοδραματικότητα των συγκεκριμένων ειδών, αυτός ο εκβιασμός συναισθημάτων στους αναγνώστες και οι υπερβολικές φιγούρες των ηρώων. Αντιθέτως η Μωρίε είναι πιο… χμ… σεμνή. Ετσι λοιπόν και στην Τζαμάικα οι ήρωες της είναι ρεαλιστικότατοι, πολύπλευροι και αρκετά ανήθικοι, πολλές φορές. Αυτή η ανηθικότητα όμως δεν είναι η προσωποποίηση του κακού, δεν υπάρχει άσπρο και μαύρο, οι ήρωες της είναι απλώς άνθρωποι.
Η αφήγηση επίσης κυλάει ρεαλιστικότατα, ενώ η ποιητικότητα δεν κυλάει από τις πράξεις αλλά από την περιρρέουσα ατμόσφαιρα. Η περιγραφή του σκηνι��ού είναι το στολίδι του βιβλίου. Αυτό είναι το Α και το Ω. Αυτή η ζοφερή γκρίζα ατμόσφαιρα την οποία μας χαρίζει με περίσσια ικανοποίηση είναι ο χώρος της για να δράσει. Αυτήν χρησιμοποιεί για να μας μεταφέρει τα αισθήματα των ηρώων της, για να μας προετοιμάσει για μία επερχόμενη καταστροφή, και να μεταδώσει την αγωνία. Μία αγωνία όχι κραυγαλέα αλλά που υπονοείται και η οποία χτίζεται σταδιακά μέχρι την στιγμή της κορύφωσης.
Εξαιρετική συγγραφέας που ξέρει να κάνει κάθε σκηνή δική της. Της ανήκουν ολοκληρωτικά το περιβάλλον και οι ήρωες της και χειρίζεται τα πάντα με μαεστρία. Αν εκτίμησα κάτι περισσότερο στην ταβέρνα της Τζαμάικα από ότι στην Ρεβέκκα είναι η ηρωίδα. Μπόρεσα να την κατανοήσω και να την συμπαθήσω περισσότερο, καθώς είναι δυναμική και προσγειωμένη και σαφέστατα λιγότερο αλαφροΐσκιωτη.
Τέλος πάντων πολύ καλό βιβλίο, συστήνεται στους πάντες, σε αυτούς που αγαπούν το μυστήριο, σε αυτούς που αγαπούν τα σκοτειν�� ζοφερά τοπία, σε αυτούς που αγαπούν τα βιβλία εποχής… όπως καταλάβατε σηκώνει πολλούς αναγνώστες!
Profile Image for Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ .
815 reviews616 followers
March 15, 2023

The most Gothic novel I've ever read

& set in Cornwall, a part of England I adored.

Orphaned Mary Yellan goes to live with her Aunt Patience (who she hasn't seen for many years) at the sinister Jamaica Inn;

Patience's husband Joss isn't sinister - he is a terrifying bully who has completely broken Patience's spirit. Mary is determined to get them both away from him - & the Jamaica Inn. But it isn't going to be that easy...

A real page turner! As (almost) always du Maurier writes really well & you feel the same fear & dread that the brave Mary feels. I have only knocked half a ★ off as the finale went on too long, & became almost farcical. & I will say, if you must have likeable people in your fiction this may not be the book for you - although I liked Mary & I liked a couple of the secondary characters after their personalities underwent quite a abrupt transformation.

What I liked at the end was that

Still most highly recommended.

Profile Image for Jessaka.
901 reviews136 followers
November 20, 2022
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.
Profile Image for Margitte.
1,177 reviews540 followers
June 7, 2021
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 dream that she would become hopelessly ensnared in the vile, villainous schemes being hatched within its crumbling walls -- or that a handsome, mysterious stranger would so incite her passions ... tempting her to love a man whom she dares not trust.

Daphne Du Maurier had the knack of turning buildings into strong characters in her bestselling books. Added to that was her ability to immediately capture the reader's attention and keep it through her suspenseful, thrilling, crime novels. Her success might be attributed to her straightforward narratives without the underlying stream of ideologies, politics, and religious issues, securing all her books in the gallery of perpetual popular classics. However, some of her books did have a psychological undertone. And of course, always a great dollop of the paranormal. Eerie dark nuances. Mystery as thick as fog. Characters as roguish as it can get.

She knew how to get the ants marching up and down my spine nonstop!

I forgot that I've read this novel in early December last year! I was so busy at the time, only sneaking in an hour here and there to read this novel. I never got to adding it to my GR list. What made it more suspenseful was that I only had time to read this book late at night, enhancing the atmospheric tension of the tale. Here and there I had to breath in deeply and sit upright for a spell. In the dark. With my earphones plugged in and reading the text on my iPad while following the audio version on Youtube. I was that hooked to horror and goth at that moment. :-))

What a great experience! I would love to read more of her books.
My reviews for:
1) Rebecca ,
2) My Cousin Rachel ,
3) Jamaica Inn
4) The Frenchman's Creek
Profile Image for Katie Lumsden.
Author 2 books2,952 followers
September 10, 2020
A compelling, atmospheric novel, which I really enjoyed – though not quite as much as the other two of her books I've read previously.
Profile Image for Piyangie.
529 reviews490 followers
July 3, 2021
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.
Profile Image for Alex.andthebooks.
324 reviews1,961 followers
July 28, 2022

Naprawdę dobrze mi się jej słuchało! Klimatem przywodzi mi na myśl Jane Eyre — postać głównej bohaterki też nie daje sobie w kaszę dmuchać i musi się użerać z krnąbrnym typem (tu wujaszek).
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