Rebecca's Reviews > Jamaica Inn

Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier
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Feb 12, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, thriller-and-suspense, modern-classics, pirates

Aside from the sheer awesomeness that was reading this while on holiday at the real Jamaica Inn, this book never really captured me in the way that Rebecca did. Du Maurier's descriptions of landscape and scenery were an excellent pastiche of the 19th century Gothic classics of the Brontë sisters. The story itself had all the pace and intrigue that you'd expect from one containing elements of murder, smuggling and general criminality in an isolated coastal community. There's definitely plenty to like about this book, with enough plot and atmosphere packed into its relatively brief 300 pages to appeal to fans of everything from Wuthering Heights to Treasure Island. However, du Maurier's characterisation in this early novel lacks the complexity and realism of her later works. I found the character of the heroine to be particularly problematic. She seems mostly to be motivated by short-sighted desires and concerns rather than long-term goals (although that she does possess the latter is frequently mentioned), and while this makes sense to some degree in context, her behaviour still frequently contradicts her stated beliefs and supposedly strongly-held convictions. I'm not suggesting that Mary is badly written so much as she is, perhaps, made to seem a little unlikeable; this contrasts sharply with the heroine of Rebecca, who manages to be self-contradictory and morally ambiguous at times, and yet is still a sympathetic figure. I will always recommend anything by Daphne du Maurier to anyone who will listen, and Jamaica Inn is no exception, but I think that it is best enjoyed by focussing on the beauty of the prose and the excitement of the plot, rather than delving too deeply into the psychology of the characters.
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Reading Progress

February 12, 2011 – Shelved
January 4, 2012 – Started Reading
January 7, 2012 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
January 7, 2012 – Shelved as: thriller-and-suspense
January 8, 2012 –
page 133
44.04%
January 10, 2012 –
page 177
58.61%
January 11, 2012 –
page 228
75.5%
January 11, 2012 –
page 257
85.1%
January 11, 2012 – Finished Reading
February 15, 2012 – Shelved as: modern-classics
June 11, 2013 – Shelved as: pirates

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