Jamaica Inn is the third novel by Daphne du Maurier (1907 to 1989-UK) that I have read and posted on this year. Rebecca, by far her most famous work, was my first du Maurier. Everyone seems to really like it and I did for sure. It kept my attention to the end. The consensus second best of her novels seemed to be My Cousin Rachael so I read it next. I liked it also though I found the lead male character very irritating at times. I began to do a bit of research to find a 3rd novel. There seemed no real consensus as to what a 3rd best du Maurier novel might be. The choices seemed to be either Frenchman's Creek or Jamaica Inn. I decided to read Jamaica Inn as I wanted to read another tale set in Cornwall, England where the author spent much of her life.
I found Jamaica Inn to keep my interest and to be an exciting read. As the story begins young Mary is going to live in the Jamaica Inn with her aunt and uncle as her own mother has recently passed away. The inn has a sinister reputation in the area. Her aunt, a once beautiful and vibrant woman has shrunk to a poor shadow of her old self. Her uncle is a brutish thug of the worst sort. Mary knows something very evil is going on at the Inn but she at first does not know what it is.
One of the best things I liked about Jamaica Inn was the use of the landscape of the moors in the story. A moor is a marshland subject to flooding which has many bogs which can drown those not familiar with the area. In the time of the story, the moors would have been completely pitch black at night. I also liked getting a look at the poor side of Cornwall, the world outside the mansions.
I did not find the characters as well developed in this story as in the other two books by her I read. I did not find the primary love story real credible and it seemed almost that du Maurier just added it as she knew her readers at the time would expect a love story. It also seemed to be almost a Gothic overkill at times. There is a movie based on the novel.
This is my last post I think for the Daphne du Maurier Reading Challenge which I thank Chrisbookarama for hosting. To me this was a fun challenge as it introduced me to a new to me writer. She may not be a Bronte but she kept my attention and parts of her prose are really well done.
I would endorse her books to any one who enjoys a good story well told.
Du Maurier is a GLBT author.
If anyone has any suggestions for a 4th of her novels, please leave a comment.