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Jamaica Inn (1936)

by Daphne du Maurier

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,304983,061 (3.75)1 / 395
"A fine romantic tale...rich in suspense and surprise." --New York Times Book Review On a bitter November evening, young Mary Yellan journeys across the rainswept 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.… (more)
  1. 70
    Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (katie4098)
  2. 10
    The House on the Strand by Daphne Du Maurier (sturlington)
  3. 10
    Falling Creatures by Katherine Stansfield (Becchanalia)
  4. 10
    Diamonds Are Forever by Ian Fleming (Sylak)
    Sylak: Another story involving a complex central character worth a good read.
  5. 10
    To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway (Sylak)
    Sylak: Another story involving themes of smuggling and alcoholism.
  6. 00
    Burnt Mountain by Anne Rivers Siddons (silva_44)
    silva_44: Although the plot isn't very similar, Burnt Mountain reminds me of Jamaica Inn because of the peculiar psychotic actions of characters in each.
  7. 23
    North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (AdonisGuilfoyle)
    AdonisGuilfoyle: Mary Yellan reminded me very much of Gaskell's heroine Margaret Hale: both are young, outspoken, and are strong enough to cope with life's hardships and sorrows. And there is a comparison of 'north' and 'south' Cornwall in Du Maurier's novel, too!… (more)
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» See also 395 mentions

English (92)  French (3)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (98)
Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
This was... OK. Enjoyable enough, but I'm not going to spend too much time thinking about it afterwards.

Brave heroine goes to live with aunt and evil uncle who's into all sorts of wrongdoing (it takes half of the book to set the scene on that part). Reaches somewhat improbable climax and then our brave heroine heads off into the sunset with her new lover.

Good enough for the type of book it is, and some enjoyable scene setting amidst the moors which worked well.

3.5 stars - the book equivalent of easy listening music. ( )
  AlisonY | Dec 5, 2021 |
This, for inexplicable reasons, has to be my favorite book ever. I don't know why. It might be the setting. It might be the subtle Bronte references (du Maurier absolutely adored the Brontes). It might be that I read it at a time in my life that I really needed a book like this and it has now imprinted upon my nostalgic psyche. Whatever it is, I don't care. I've read this book more times than I can count, and I don't care if you don't like it. Mary Yellan is my girl. ( )
  JessicaReadsThings | Dec 2, 2021 |
Digital audiobook narrated by Toni Britton

From the book jacket: The coachman tried to warn young Mary Yellan away from the ruined, forbidding place on the rainswept Cornish coast. But Mary chose instead to honor her mother’s dying request that she join her Aunt Patience and Uncle Joss Merlyn at Jamaica Inn. From her first glimpse on that raw November eve, she could sense the inn’s dark power.

My reactions
What a wonderfully atmospheric, dark, sinister tale! I shivered with the damp, cold fog, strained to see by faint candle or lamp light, listened to the whistling wind, the baying hounds, and the alternating whispers and shouts of a rabble of men up to no good.

Mary Yellan is a marvelous heroine. Young and somewhat naïve, she is still a strong woman, resolute and determined to make the best of her situation. As many have told her, she is too young and pretty to live alone, so she goes to her Aunt Patience. But instead of finding a happy woman with ribbons on her bonnet (Mary’s memory of her Aunt’s only visit some twelve years previous), she finds a frightened, dispirited woman clearly afraid of her own husband. And Uncle Josh? He’s a foreboding hulk of a man who rules his establishment with an iron fist and is unusually secretive about his business.

As Mary struggles to make sense of her situation and determine what, if anything, she can do about it, she meets two men who will become intricately involved: Jem Merlyn (her Uncle’s brother, and a horse thief) and Francis Davey (vicar of the local parish). They could not be more different, and yet each will help – and hinder – her in unexpected ways.

Du Maurier’s plot is intricate and complex and had several twists & turns in it. I wish there were a sequel so I could find out what Mary Yellen is like as an older woman!

Toni Britton does a fine job of narrating the audio version. She has a good pace and differentiates the characters sufficiently, so I had no trouble keeping track of who is speaking. ( )
  BookConcierge | May 2, 2021 |
This was my 3rd Du Maurier and I liked this one the least of the three (Rebecca & Frenchman's Creek). Mary Yellan arrives at Jamaica Inn, a den for "wreckers" a brash, outspoken woman and by the time the story ends she is "in love" and mush. 320 pages ( )
  Tess_W | Mar 6, 2021 |
Oh, the disappointment. :( To think this volume of absolute gothic nonsense came from the author of "Rebecca" is astonishing. True, du Maurier has excellent command of language, and her descriptions of the wild moors are quite lovely. That's why I gave it 2 stars instead of 1. Her writing will always start at that level for me. To be fair, du Maurier wrote this novel in 1936 - Rebecca came two years later. Perhaps she was merely flexing her style here, getting ready to create characters that readers could actually care about.

If you're in the mood for some light mood-ish reading, and don't expect to be interested at ALL in the shallow stupidity of the main characters, then you may get some enjoyment from this. But if you're turning to this novel after the searing, page-turning genius of "Rebecca," you will be very disappointed. There's a good 1 star review here on LT that goes into good detail as to what makes this novel such a failure - find that one if you need more.

Aside: I came across this book in a charming, 3-story bookstore, converted from a former glove factory in downtown Detroit - John K. King Used & Rare Books. My copy is nothing special, just a typical wide-release paperback. But I wasn't going to leave that place without something in hand, and can't wait to get back to Michigan to visit this store again. For that memory alone, I am happy to have this copy. ( )
  terriks | Dec 2, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
du Maurier, Daphneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Britton, TonyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dunant, SarahIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Serbezova-Levi, StoyankaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Jamaica Inn stands today, hospitable and kindly, a temperance house on the twenty-mile road between Bodmin and Launceston.

In the following story of adventure I have pictured it as it might have been over a hundred and twenty years ago; and although existing place names figure in the pages, the characters and events described are entirely imaginary.

Daphne du Maurier
Bodinnick-by-Fowey
October 1935
Dedication
First words
It was a cold grey day in late November.
Jamaica Inn opens with echoes of Dracula: a carriage rattling through the desolate landscape and wild weather to a place where even the locals don't go, so ferocious is its reputation. (Introduction)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"A fine romantic tale...rich in suspense and surprise." --New York Times Book Review On a bitter November evening, young Mary Yellan journeys across the rainswept 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.

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Book description
VIRAGO EDITION:
Her mother's dying request takes Mary Yellan on a sad journey across the bleak moorland of Cornwall to reach Jamaica Inn, the home of her Aunt Patience. With the coachman's warning echoing in her memory, Mary arrives at a dismal place to find Patience a changed woman, cowering from her overbearing husband, Joss Merlyn.

Affected by the Inn's brooding power, Mary is thwarted in her attention to reform her aunt, and unwillingly drawn into the dark deeds of Joss and his accomplices. And, as she struggles with events beyond her control, Mary is further thrown by her feelings for a man she dare not trust...
A huge success on first publication, Jamaica Inn is a dark and intriguing gothic tale that will remind readers of two other great classics, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights
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Average: (3.75)
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