After the death of her mother, Mary Yellan crosses the windswept Cornish moors to Jamaica Inn, the home of her Aunt Patience. There she finds Patience a changed woman, downtrodden by her domineering, vicious husband Joss Merlyn. The inn is a front for a lawless gang of criminals, and Mary is unwillingly dragged into their dangerous world of smuggling and murder. Before long she will be forced to cross her own moral line to save herself.
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(200mm x 134mm x 22mm)
Virago Press Ltd
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
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)
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Author Biography - Daphne Du Maurier
Daphne du Maurier (1907-89) was born in London, the daughter of the famous actor-manager Sir Gerald du Maurier and granddaughter of George du Maurier, the author and artist. In 1931 her first novel, The Loving Spirit, was published. A biography of her father and three other novels followed, but it was the novel Rebecca that launched her into the literary stratosphere and made her one of the most popular authors of her day. In 1932, du Maurier married Major Frederick Browning, with whom she had three children. Many of du Maurier's bestselling novels and short stories were adapted into award-winning films, including Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds and Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now. In 1969 du Maurier was awarded a DBE. She lived most of her life in Cornwall, the setting for many of her books.