42. Jamaica Inn: Daphne du Maurier

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A book club read but one I had been intending to pick up at some point anyway. I had recorded the recent BBC adaptation (which came under fire for excessive mumbling!) but wanted to read it before I watched it, so glad I was given the push.

Set in Cornwall, Jamaica Inn is the story of Mary Yellan. After the death of her mother, Mary goes to live with her only living relative; her Aunt Patience and her husband who run a mysterious inn on the moors. She finds her aunt much changed, and her uncle is a frightening man involved in smuggling and worse. She battles on at the inn for her aunt’s sake but becomes caught up in her Uncle’s dastardly business, putting herself in mortal danger.

It is quite atmospheric, but the descriptions of the moors are nothing compared to those in Wuthering Heights which is an unavoidable comparison. I found Mary rather annoying but I did root for her and was pleased by her ending. It does get quite exciting and there is a nice little twist or two to keep you guessing. The characters do tend a little towards being two-dimensional but have just enough light and shade to avoid too many stereotypes.

I wouldn’t say it was brilliant, it is a pastiche of Victorian gothic romance really, but it’s definitely a good yarn and thus a good read!

4 stars

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