Review: ‘Jamaica Inn’ by Daphne Du Maurier

I love ‘Jamaica Inn’ and it is one of those books that you can just devour and run through at a quick pace- something Daphne Du Maurier is great at writing.

‘Jamaica Inn’ is about a young woman called Mary Yellan, who has to go and live with her Aunt and Uncle in Bodmin after her mother dies. These relatives live at the mysterious Jamaica Inn, an old and daunting inn in the middle of the moors, with no other houses around.

Already this setting builds up suspense mystery- and with the description of the moors and the bleak countryside I always get a thrill of mystery and excitement.

When Mary arrives at the inn she realises there is something not quite right, with her Uncle Joss acting in an aggressive, stand-offish way- and her Aunt never dares speak in the house. Mary can feel there is something wrong and, as the novel goes on, more and more gets revealed which makes her question her own morals, as well as those of her family.

Eventually she discovers that her Uncle Joss is behind a smuggling business, which leads to all sorts of problems for Mary and the inhabitants of Jamaica Inn. The darker side of this business leads Mary to build up a case against her Uncle- and the book really follows Mary’s plight against him and his business, and her investigations into just how dangerous this smuggling is.

Alongside Mary’s discoveries of the goings-on at Jamaica Inn, there is the introduction of the character Jem, who is the brother of Mary’s Uncle Joss. At first Mary thinks he is immoral, as he is a reputed horse-thief- and she is wary of getting into a friendship with the brother of a man she hates. However, gradually, she gets closer and closer to Jem and forgets her self-righteousness.

The romance aspect of the book is brilliant, as the initial hostility between the two characters makes their romance all the more interesting.

It’s not like their romance is particularly ‘cute’ but I couldn’t help falling in love with their relationship. And I might add that Mary’s Uncle is her Uncle by marriage and so Mary loving his brother is by no way incestuous or anything like that, which did cross my mind at one point…

I love this book because of the way Du Maurier does what she does best: brilliant action mixed with atmospheric description and settings.

I loved the characters in this book. There was Mr Davey, the local vicar Mary confides in, Jem, Uncle Joss, and Aunt Patience. Each character has a great amount of depth- and I would say all the characters seem very real to the reader. Jem clearly has his faults, and Mary can be annoying in her self-righteousness- but this is what makes them honest and real characters.

The way Du Maurier also builds up to the climax of the story is amazing. There are so many twists and turns throughout this book, which I loved!

‘Jamaica Inn’ is such an easy-to-read modern classic, and the fact that Du Maurier manages to pack so much action and character growth into such a short book is brilliant. I really want to watch the TV series that was made by the BBC a few years ago!

Have you read ‘Jamaica Inn’ by Daphne Du Maurier? What do you think of my review of this book? Have you tried the TV series?

Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below πŸ™‚

Happy reading x

18 thoughts

  1. I’ve literally just finished reading this and absolutely loved it too! I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as her other book Rebecca, which is one of my absolute favourites – if you haven’t read that one yet I highly recommend it πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great to hear! I have read most of Du Maurier’s books tbh, Rebecca was actually one of the first books I reviewed!! I just think she’s a brilliant author! Yeah, I would say they are both fab books! πŸ™‚


  3. I will re-read it in a few years time. I read it a few years ago and I think my english at the time wasn’t up to the subtility of Daphne du maurier and found Rebecca to be my favorite book and much easier to understand. In any case I love Du Maurier

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love Du Maurier too! I can understand that, Jamaica Inn covers some subjects which are difficult to understand, I found it difficult to understand some of the points on smuggling!Rebecca is a great book, I agree! πŸ™‚


  5. Great review! Another Rebecca fan here, but it’s so long since I read Jamaica Inn it’s well overdue for a re-read. She’s such a great author it’s actually quite hard to pick favourites…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so much!! πŸ™‚ I agree, all her books are brilliant. For me, Rebecca and Jamaica Inn are equal winners, they are both so well written!! I love her books for different reasons, so I agree!


    1. It is brilliant! I agree, she is a great writer and her characters are fab. Yes, I love it. In fact, I love all Du Maurier’s books!! I wrote a blog post on everything I love about Du Maurier, just because I think her writing is brilliant! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. We can extend this reading with the great movie of Hitchcock, an old movie but very intense. DaphnΓ© du Maurier is a “immense” writer ! A very good reading.

    Liked by 1 person

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