Jamaica Inn is one of Daphne du Maurier’s great novels. She’s mostly known for Rebecca, another novel and has written Jamaica Inn in 1936, just after her father died. There have been made two movies of the book, one by Alfred Hitchcock.
I liked this one because it was straightforward exciting and it kept me on the edge of my seat for almost the whole story. Every page you read makes you want to know what will happen on the next. I could feel sympathy for Mary and the writer has made the character feel so real, you image you walking in her shoes. The book leaves you constantly surprised and guessing the true identity of the characters within it. It makes you want to know the story behind it all and when you think you do there is a big plot twist.
In this book Daphne shows her rich knowledge of the English countryside by describing every detail in the moors of Southern England. She seems to know every small road by the top of her head, which makes it even more realistic.
The story is about Mary, who has had a dying request from her mother . her mother wants Mary to go to her aunt, who lives at the Jamaica Inn, located at Cornwall’s Bodmin Moore. Mary travels without knowing the rumors that go around about the Inn.
He was a huge man, nearly seven feet high with a creased black brow and a skin the color of a gypsy.
When she arrives and settles she comes to know that Joss Merlyn, the husband of aunt Patience and the landlord of the Jamaica inn is a bad man who is almost seven feet tall and has been harassing her aunt for years. She makes a promise to herself that she will free her aunt from the terror she has been living in.
She starts observing Joss Merlyn and finds out he’s involved with illegal activity and has meetings with thieves, murderers and other criminals. She discovers that there is something unusual about the Inn, which has never had any guests and is never open. One time, she follows Joss deep into the moors and gets lost. Somehow Francis Davey, an albino vicar from Altarnun coincidently happens to find her and brings her home. He says he’ll always be there for her if she needs help.
One day Mary meets the brother of Joss. His name is Jem and he’s a horse thief. She falls in love with him, but still doesn’t know whether to trust him or not. Meanwhile she finds out that Joss Merlyn is a notorious wrecker and goes on trips to the coast with his friends, to mislead cargo ships to the coast and steal their wares.
Mary’s trust seems misplaced when the real leader of the wreckers is revealed and the truth comes to light about the activities at the Jamaica Inn.
I’d recommend this book to anyone, searching for something to read in a day or two. Du Maurier sometimes goes a little overboard describing the moors and the tors, but this also helps to establish the setting.
For a book that has been written 80 years ago, Jamaica Inn was very readable and also entertaining. Definately worth putting on your reading list.