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 intention 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.
Author Biography: Daphne du Maurier, daughter of the famous actor- manager Sir Gerald du Maurier, was born in London and educated at home and in Paris. Most of her novels have been bestsellers and many of them have been made into film. She died in 1989.
Thrillingly exciting, beautifully written, passionate but never sentimental, Jamaica Inn is perhaps the most accomplished historical romance (in the proper sense of the word) ever written. It is set in early 19th-century Cornwall, at a time when the forces of order are gradually beginning to curb the reckless lawlessness of this wild region. After the death of her mother, Mary Yellan decides to leave her peaceful home in South Cornwall and travel up country to live with her Aunt Patience, who is married to Joss Merlyn, the landlord of the Jamaica Inn. The inn is a wretched place, solitary on the desolate moors between Bodmin and Launceston and shunned by those who pass it, but even more shocking to Mary is the state of her aunt, once a merry pleasure-loving woman but now wasted away by the brutality of her husband. As she tries to make a life for herself in the face of her aunt's pathetic fear and her uncle's contempt and viciousness, Mary begins to realize that Jamaica Inn is the centre of a criminal network stretching the length and breadth of the county, and that she must choose between protecting her aunt and destroying her uncle's evil trade. The story is a gripping one, made much more so by du Maurier's powerful evocation of the landscape it is set in. The bleakness of the moors mirrors Mary's loneliness and the cruelty of Joss Merlyn and his kind, but there is also a wild beauty to them, and an entrancement that begins to take hold of Mary in the same way as her growing attraction to Joss's arrogant horse-thief brother Jem. Natural forces dominate everything, from the harsh wind that sweeps across the tors to the unwilling desire Mary feels for Jem. As the narrative builds to its terrifying conclusion, du Maurier refuses to allow us a conventional happy ending - the imperatives of nature are too strong, and Mary must obey them like the generations before her. (Kirkus UK)
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: July 2003
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Dimensions (cm): 19.7 x 11.8 x 2.1
Weight (kg): 0.26
Edition Number: 1