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Archive 2015 > December 2015: Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

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Louise This is the discussion thread for our December read, Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier.


Martha (marthas48) Hope y'all enjoy it! This is one of my favorites by du Maurier.


message 3: by ☯Emily , moderator (last edited Dec 26, 2015 01:23PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

☯Emily  Ginder | 772 comments Mod
I read it last year, so I hope add some comments later!


CluckingBell I'm pretty sure I read, or at least started, this in grade school, but remember little apart from the atmosphere. I'd be very curious to revisit it and see how much seems familiar, though it may be late December before I have a chance to start it...


RitaSkeeter I started reading this tonight. I've read it before, a really long time ago - maybe a decade or more ago - but don't remember a great deal of it.

I remember I thought it was only middling before, but I'm really enjoying it so far (around 20% in). Love the dark, gothic atmosphere.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) I will be starting it real soon. I'm excited, love Daphne Du Maurier


message 7: by ☯Emily , moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

☯Emily  Ginder | 772 comments Mod
I liked Mary. Like many people, she has strengths and weaknesses. She is family oriented and wants to protect her aunt. She might not seem to have enough will to stand up to Joss, but she gets the courage to stand up for her aunt, whom she believes is being abused. There are women who are in abusive situations and "take it" until their children are threatened. That is how I view Mary.

This is a link to pictures of the Bodmin moor: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=b...


message 8: by ☯Emily , moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

☯Emily  Ginder | 772 comments Mod
Did you know there is a real Jamaica Inn? Daphne du Maurier stayed there and got the idea for the book when she got lost on the moor in the fog. http://www.jamaicainn.co.uk/ and http://www.jamaicainn.co.uk/daphne-du...


RitaSkeeter A fun tidbit (that is probably of no interest to anyone except me!).

The town Launceston is mentioned a lot in the book, and it is situated near the river Tamar.

I live in that town's namesake in Tasmania, which is also situated on a river named the Tamar.

The Australian pronunication of 'Launceston' is vastly different to the Cornish one though!


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) ☯Emily wrote: "Did you know there is a real Jamaica Inn? Daphne du Maurier stayed there and got the idea for the book when she got lost on the moor in the fog. http://www.jamaicainn.co.uk/ and http://www.jamaicai..."

How gorgeous. There's so many places I'd like to visit. If only money and distance and all that wasn't an issue.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) RitaSkeeter wrote: "A fun tidbit (that is probably of no interest to anyone except me!).

The town Launceston is mentioned a lot in the book, and it is situated near the river Tamar.

I live in that town's namesake in..."


That's a cool tidbit (and interesting to more than just you :))


Ingonyama | 1 comments I've started reading the book a few days ago. I've never read anything from the gothic genre and at first I wasn't quite sure if I liked the atmosphere in the book, but I've actually been enjoying it a lot so far.


Adria I'm on Ch. 4. I'm enjoying some of it, but also somewhat forcing my way through it. However, I really liked the part in the very beginning where the coach driver and the woman in Bodmin act strangely about Mary proceeding on to the Jamaica Inn. I got chills along with Mary.

There's a song by Tori Amos called the Jamaica Inn. It's not one of her best, but I'll have to listen to it again to see if there's a connection.


message 14: by Louise (last edited Dec 06, 2015 02:58PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Louise I'm about 60% of the way in now - been reading on my commute for the last couple of days.

Enjoying it, but don't think it's going to be a favourite any time soon. The atmosphere is great, in places, but the way everyone instantly offers up their life story at the first conversation amuses me a little. Also Daphne du Maurier continues to make her male love interests absolutely awful people - so at least she's got consistency going for her there! Jem is the worst. Make your own food you horrible man!

For people who have got far enough to meet Francis Davy:
(view spoiler)

It's no Rebecca, but its enjoyable so far.

Did anyone else catch the dire BBC version a couple of years ago? With that girl from Downton Abbey and everyone mumbling their lines in almost impenetrable fake-Cornish accents?


RitaSkeeter ☯Emily wrote: "I liked Mary. Like many people, she has strengths and weaknesses. She is family oriented and wants to protect her aunt. She might not seem to have enough will to stand up to Joss, but she gets the ..."

I agree about Mary. I like her too, for much the same reasons.


RitaSkeeter Louise wrote: "I'm about 60% of the way in now - been reading on my commute for the last couple of days.

Enjoying it, but don't think it's going to be a favourite any time soon. The atmosphere is great, in place..."


I sooooo agree about Jem. I can understand he has that whole likeable rogue kind of thing going on, but I struggle to see he and Mary as well suited. (view spoiler).


Louise To be a likeable rogue though you kind of have to be likeable. I don't think Jem ever really managed that.

Maybe (maaaaaybe) when I was a teenager I could have romanticised that sort of douchebagery, I have a weakness for likeable rogues after all. But even then I think I would have found a guy who pulls the old-timey equivalent of 'make me a sandwich' pretty repulsive.


message 18: by RitaSkeeter (last edited Dec 10, 2015 05:24PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

RitaSkeeter Yeah, see where you're coming from. I still found him likeable though. Not discounting that it was just comparative given most of the males were repulsive though.


message 19: by Louise (last edited Dec 11, 2015 03:12AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Louise Haha, yes... A case could be made, I suppose, for him being the best of a (very) bad bunch.

After reading a few books/short stories of hers though I can't help thinking Daphne du Maurier has a very conflicted thing for domineering, jerkish, violent men in her writing. They appear a lot. And inspire a lot of devotion in the female love interests.

I will give Jem the credit of being better than Max de Winter (Rebbeca) at least.


message 20: by ☯Emily , moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

☯Emily  Ginder | 772 comments Mod
Aren't there a lot of woman attracted by "bad" guys? I've asked a few why they are attracted by and loyal to these creeps. It seems to come down to a belief that their love, devotion and nurturing will CHANGE the guy into a sweet, loving companion.


RitaSkeeter Louise wrote: "Haha, yes... A case could be made, I suppose, for him being the best of a (very) bad bunch.

After reading a few books/short stories of hers though I can't help thinking Daphne du Maurier has a ver..."


It's a tough choice. A horse thief or a (view spoiler) ...


RitaSkeeter ☯Emily wrote: "Aren't there a lot of woman attracted by "bad" guys? I've asked a few why they are attracted by and loyal to these creeps. It seems to come down to a belief that their love, devotion and nurturing ..."

I was going to write about how a lot of the heroes in gothic literature are vile by today's standards, but then thinking it through further I realised things aren't so much better in some contemporary literature. There is a focus in some YA literature at the moment around women dating abusive men, but it's okay for him to hurt them because he has his issues and she'll help him sort it all out by the end of the book/trilogy. It infuriates me, because these are books aimed at YA, and sometimes NA audiences, where the readers are still learning about safe, appropriate relationships and what is okay.


Adria Louise wrote: "Maybe (maaaaaybe) when I was a teenager..."

I completely agree! I probably would've fallen in love with Jem reading this book at 16 (the whole "wild, lonely boy of the moors capturing horses while the wind ruffles his hair" image would have likely made me swoon), but now in my very late 30's, I just want Mary to run, run, run away as fast as she can.


Louise ☯Emily wrote: "Aren't there a lot of woman attracted by "bad" guys? I've asked a few why they are attracted by and loyal to these creeps. It seems to come down to a belief that their love, devotion and nurturing ..."

I would say 'some' rather than a 'a lot' but unfortunately, yes, some women are. And Daphne du Maurier seems fascinated with that - she doesn't present most of these men as good people, she doesn't even pretend that they'll ever change if they 'find the right woman', yet she makes their awfulness part of what makes them irresistible to her female characters. According to wikipedia though she also had very fixed ideas about 'male' and 'female' energies, and viewed her passion and inspiration for writing as a very 'male' power so I suppose it's not too surprising she writes men in that way.

And yeah, it's definitely part of the gothic tradition for the men to be domineering and awful, but Jem could so easily have been an actual loveable rogue. He can still be surly, still steal horses, and be disdainful of the law, still have lots of 'bad boy' points, all he needed to do was flirt in a way that wasn't gross, entitled, and demanding.

I find I have less and less patience with these sort of romances as I get older though (and yes particularly when aimed at a YA/Teen audience). Also having witnessed one of my sisters going through and (hopefully) recovering from a relationship that was seriously emotionally abusive, I get really angry at the 'power of love redeems' bit. It's not romantic behaviour to treat someone like that, it's soul crushing and awful.


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

Im not allowed to read it , the comments shall be my book!


message 26: by ☯Emily , moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

☯Emily  Ginder | 772 comments Mod
Thought questions: Did Mary do exactly what her aunt did by marrying for love? Will her life be any different from her aunt's? What makes the reader think the results will be any different for Mary? Was it a realistic ending?


message 27: by ☯Emily , moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

☯Emily  Ginder | 772 comments Mod
I suspected the albino would be one of the evil people in the book. I think it does a disservice to those who are albinos. The killing of albinos occurs today in Africa: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecu....

This problem was in the news earlier this year: http://news.yahoo.com/abducted-tanzan...

This type of novel plays right into the fears of this type of prejudice.


message 28: by ☯Emily , moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

☯Emily  Ginder | 772 comments Mod
One thing du Maurier did do right was the description of all the places. These towns and villages still exist today, as well as the moor and its mountains.

This is Roughtor: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=r...

This is Altarnun where the wicked vicar lived: http://www.cornwalls.co.uk/photos/alt...

I am amazed at the distances that Mary walked. If you look on a map, you will see that Launceston and Altarnun and North Hill are not close to one another. I am also amazed that Joss allowed Mary to spend so much time wandering the moors.


RitaSkeeter ☯Emily wrote: "Thought questions: Did Mary do exactly what her aunt did by marrying for love? Will her life be any different from her aunt's? What makes the reader think the results will be any different for Mary..."

I find the ending surprising. Right up to the last page (view spoiler)


RitaSkeeter ☯Emily wrote: "One thing du Maurier did do right was the description of all the places. These towns and villages still exist today, as well as the moor and its mountains.

This is Roughtor: http://www.bing.com/im..."


I had thought she did a lot of her wandering when Joss was away from home, or else recovering from one of his drinking bouts??
I can't imagine him allowing it when completely with it either.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) I finally started it - so late!

I agree with earlier observations on the opening - it has that Dracula vibe all about it with the ominous warnings from the coach, the violent weather and the long journey.


message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

Starting now. I'm a little late to the party as I had other books to complete this month. Enjoying the discussion. Should prove to be an enjoyable read.


RitaSkeeter Erin (Paperbackstash) wrote: "I finally started it - so late!

I agree with earlier observations on the opening - it has that Dracula vibe all about it with the ominous warnings from the coach, the violent weather and the long..."


I hadn't made that connection, but yes! It is very like that. Now I want to go re-read Dracula.

Happy reading Erin and Darlene.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) Thank you Rita.

I'm now halfway through the book. As always, I like Du Maurier's writing style, but I can see how the book needed a little more story rather than some of the padding to keep it fresh. I love the heroine's personality, and the landlord's brother is definitely an anti-hero interest so far. I'm hoping to finish it within the next day or so.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) I finished it tonight. Enjoyed it, gave it a 3 star rating. My least favorite from what I've read from her so far (Rebecca, The Birds and other Short Stories), but as always enjoy her writing style.

Also loved the protagonist - she had spirit and wasn't conventional, and the same could be said for the man she was interested in.


RitaSkeeter It looks like we all enjoyed Mary as a character.

What did you think of the relationship between Mary and Jem, Erin? Fan or not a fan?


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) RitaSkeeter wrote: "It looks like we all enjoyed Mary as a character.

What did you think of the relationship between Mary and Jem, Erin? Fan or not a fan?"


He was a non-conventional love interest for sure. I didn't understand all the chemistry between them but I think it falls down to a few things - one, that that family line lured in women of her line, like her aunt who had fallen for the uncle when they were younger. Second, that they both had some bond with how they were similar - she liked the adventurous and mildly daring, didn't mind a little lawbreaking, was rather wild and free in a way that would draw him in. That's probably why the uncle liked her a little too.

The ending was hardly romantic, it was a little bit of an abrupt afterthought, but if he didn't come back at all it would have bugged me.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) RitaSkeeter wrote: "☯Emily wrote: "Thought questions: Did Mary do exactly what her aunt did by marrying for love? Will her life be any different from her aunt's? What makes the reader think the results will be any dif..."

I agree with you - the ending was an abrupt surprise. She just suddenly shook of all her yearnings of home and followed in the same footsteps of her aunt.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) ☯Emily wrote: "One thing du Maurier did do right was the description of all the places. These towns and villages still exist today, as well as the moor and its mountains.

This is Roughtor: http://www.bing.com/im..."


I know, I figured Joss would mind and get paranoid. She probably did a lot of the walking when he was on a drinking binge or away, which he seemed to be a lot. He was upset when catching her on the road back in the carriage and all suspicious then. I wondered how different the book would have ended up, plot wise, if she admitted she knew the vicar and had been with him before to the uncle, or his reaction if she told him she'd been to his brothers house.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) ☯Emily wrote: "I suspected the albino would be one of the evil people in the book. I think it does a disservice to those who are albinos. The killing of albinos occurs today in Africa: https://en.wikipedia.org/wi..."

That's terrible Albinos are killed there today :(

You are right that the main character Mary seemed a little repelled by the albino aspect and made herself trust him regardless. It wasn't her first instinct because of his appearance, but his title of Vicar helped, which plays into his art and points later about his "station" luring people in to false securities.

I was confused at the end as it almost seemed like the author was leading the character of being almost supernatural. Anyone else thinking that?


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