Jamaica Inn has a promising beginning (orphan girl, isolated inn, sinister "uncle") and an ambitious ending, but very little middle. Mary Yellan, who is portrayed as an intelligent, active young woman, hangs around doing almost nothing until it is time for the shipwreck. Worth reading, but an author of du Maurier's stature should not leave you thinking "is that all there is?"
This is not Daphne du Maurier's novel. It is a play by Lisa Evans. The Summary details and reviews here are misleading as they all refer to the novel which this is not .
An old-style romance, with some beautiful descriptions of the wild and rugged English moors.
The strength of the novel lies in its close association with the rugged landscape and coastline of Cornwall, and particularly the detailed descriptions of Bodmin Moor, on which the author apparently spent a great deal of time examining the hills and marshes. In this respect, comparison with the fine Wessex novels of Thomas Hardy, based in Dorset, is interesting. This novel is marred, however, by a striking discrepancy between the vocabulary and manner of speech of the characters, and the supposed period of events (Regency period, ca. 1810): the characters belong instead to period of Daphne du Maurier, ca. 1930. The reader will note certain words, e.g 'trek' [Cape Dutch, which entered the English language only after the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1901)], which no-one of the Jane Austin period would have understood. It is surprising that she, unlike her contemporary Georgette Heyer, who prepared her novels in this respect with meticulous care, made so little effort to adapt her writing to the historical period. The novel is, certainly, far stronger in terms of human emotion and adventure, than anything which Georgette Heyer wrote, but nowhere does "Jamaica Inn" come close to the subtlety and descriptive power of Thomas Hardy.
Those who associate the title with the fine film of Alfred Hitchcock (starring Charles Laughton) will be surprised to note how widely the film and the book differ. In my opinion, Hitchcock has done well to replace the implausible Vicar of Altarnun with Sir Humphrey Pengallan, a very clever notion which works well on screen.
I was somewhat disappointed in this book. It was ok but not nearly as good as Rebecca or Frenchman's Creek. The story was kind of slow and the ending was a let down.
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