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Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier

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Misfit
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Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier

Post by Misfit » Thu October 23rd, 2008, 11:06 pm

A spooky, gothic tale perfect for a stormy October night. "Roads? Who spoke of roads? We go by the moor and the hills, and tread granite and heather as the Druids did before us." Why I have waited so many years to read more of Du Maurier's books I'll never know, but there are definitely more of hers in my immediate reading future!

It's early 19C in Southern Cornwall and Mary Yellen's dying mother asks her to sell the family farm and join her Aunt Patience and her husband at Jamaica Inn in Northern Cornwall. Mary arrives and finds that no respectable person will venture near the inn, nor will the carriages stop there for respite. Her once lively and personable aunt is now a terrified shell of a woman married to drunkard inn owner Joss Merlyn. When Joss prepares to entertain "guests" Mary and her aunt are instructed to stay in their rooms and keep their eyes and ears covered -- although our spunky heroine does peek out the window and sees mysterious comings and goings and Mary suspects smuggling.

Mary also becomes friends with her uncle's younger brother Joss, a ne'er do well horse thief (among other things) and the mysterious albino minister Francis Davey. A mischance on the road on the way home from the village on Christmas Eve puts Mary in the middle of her Uncle and his nefarious companions in the midst of a more gruesome crime than smuggling, thus setting in motion a terrifying set of circumstances building up to a nail biting finish on the Bodmin moors.

While this one got off to a bit of a slow start for me, by the last 50 or so pages I was on the edge of my seat as Du Maurier gradually built up the tension and mystery for a rocking good finish, and a big surprise twist at the end. I really enjoyed the way the author used the spookiness of the moors and the surrounding terrain of Cornwall to set her scenes and it greatly enhanced the feel of the book in general. 4.5/5 stars.

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donroc
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Post by donroc » Fri October 24th, 2008, 1:29 am

You might enjoy Charles Laughton and a young Maureen O'Hara in the film.
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Bodo the Apostate, a novel set during the reign of Louis the Pious and end of the Carolingian Empire.

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Post by Misfit » Fri October 24th, 2008, 1:43 am

Thank you for the suggestion, I'd very much like to see this on film. I see that my library has that one plus one starring Jane Seymour. Should I check out both?

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Post by donroc » Fri October 24th, 2008, 11:10 am

I never saw the Seymour version, but no one could "chew the scenery" like Laughton.
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Bodo the Apostate, a novel set during the reign of Louis the Pious and end of the Carolingian Empire.

http://www.donaldmichaelplatt.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXZthhY6 ... annel_page

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Post by Misfit » Fri October 24th, 2008, 11:25 am

Thanks. I think I'll check out both. Definitely a story I'd like to see on film, as long as Hollywood doesn't screw it up like they do Dumas.

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Post by Lady Macbeth » Fri July 17th, 2009, 3:57 pm

I've read this book a couple of times and seen the Trevor Eve/ Jane Seymour adaptation.

I loved the courage and independence of Mary but am not convinced that she should have thrown in her lot with the dangerously inviting Jem at the end of the novel - his complacence at her facial bruising made me think that he was perhaps a younger version of Joss and I feared that she would end up like Aunt Patience eventually.

I felt a real Wuthering Heights vibe when reading this - the sexual menace and the darkness were all there but slightly lacked the subtlety and depth of Emily Bronte's novel.

Having said all that, I enjoyed it enough for a reread and I think it's definitely ready for a new adaptation with great sweeping production values.

Would absolutely love the Beeb to do a Du Maurier season.

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Madeleine
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Post by Madeleine » Fri July 17th, 2009, 7:31 pm

[quote=""Misfit""]Thanks. I think I'll check out both. Definitely a story I'd like to see on film, as long as Hollywood doesn't screw it up like they do Dumas.[/quote]

Unfortunately Misfit, Hollywood not only screwed this one up, they changed it almost beyond recognition :mad: I was warned about this before I saw the film, and watched it only out of curiosity. Be prepared to cringe and shout at the screen! Several of the book's characters have gone completely, whilst others are amalgamated into one person- namely the character played by Laughton (my friend said that he didn't want to be the villain...). Watch it if you dare, it has to be the worst DduM adaptation ever. Daphne's grandson was interviewed last year (or the year before!) when it was the centenary of her birth, and he admitted that it was dreadful.

I only saw the first part of the Trevor Eve/Jane Seymour version (that was a TV mini-series around 1980?) and I think that was pretty bad too, but honestly can't remember much about it.

But if any book is due a decent adaptation, then this is it! perhaps we should start a campaign ;)
Currently reading: "The Moor" by L J Ross

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Post by Ludmilla » Thu October 22nd, 2009, 2:06 pm

Misfit said: A spooky, gothic tale perfect for a stormy October night.
Took your advice and saved this one for October. None of the twists surprised me. I've read too many stories like this not to guess how the heroine is going to react or who the villains really are and so forth, but it's a solid, rollicking novel by DduM. I thought the pacing goes at breakneck speed by the middle to end, almost at the expense of properly developing the relationship between Mary and Jem, which happens a little too fast, but not enough to bother me since it is, afterall, just barely over 300 pages (at least my MMP is).
Lady MacBeth said: I loved the courage and independence of Mary but am not convinced that she should have thrown in her lot with the dangerously inviting Jem at the end of the novel - his complacence at her facial bruising made me think that he was perhaps a younger version of Joss and I feared that she would end up like Aunt Patience eventually.
I didn't quite interpret Jem as being complacent about what happened to Mary. DduM does something very nice in the subtext of this one. Mary and Jem exchange very frank and grim acceptance of one another, I think. Aside from Mary's courage (which is hindered by her often misinterpretations of people in this, I think) is that wonderful implication what Mary would do if she were a man.

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Madeleine
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Post by Madeleine » Thu October 22nd, 2009, 4:46 pm

I don't think Jem was complacent about Mary's bruising, in fact I remember him saying the book something like "he'll swing for this" or that he (Jem) would swing for his brother after what he did to Mary, so no, I wouldn't say he was unsympathetic.

I did guess the twists in the book too and, although the writing, especially at the beginning, does feel a bit dated it's a rollicking read and is crying out to be filmed - properly of course! - instead of yet another version of Rebecca. My Cousin Rachel would make a good film/TV show too.

Just been reading the du Maurier thread in another section, and the bit when Jem jumps through her window after she's been hurt is mentioned - I'd forgotten about that - definitely a "moment" to remember.
Last edited by Madeleine on Fri October 23rd, 2009, 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
Currently reading: "The Moor" by L J Ross

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Madeleine
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Post by Madeleine » Thu June 16th, 2011, 1:00 pm

[quote=""Lady Macbeth""]I've read this book a couple of times and seen the Trevor Eve/ Jane Seymour adaptation.

I loved the courage and independence of Mary but am not convinced that she should have thrown in her lot with the dangerously inviting Jem at the end of the novel - his complacence at her facial bruising made me think that he was perhaps a younger version of Joss and I feared that she would end up like Aunt Patience eventually.

I felt a real Wuthering Heights vibe when reading this - the sexual menace and the darkness were all there but slightly lacked the subtlety and depth of Emily Bronte's novel.

Having said all that, I enjoyed it enough for a reread and I think it's definitely ready for a new adaptation with great sweeping production values.

Would absolutely love the Beeb to do a Du Maurier season.[/quote]

I can see the connection wit Wuthering Heights, but I wouldn't call it (WH) subtle - not all that dialogue, great though it is, such as "I am Heathcliff. He is me" - I found it very melodramatic!
Currently reading: "The Moor" by L J Ross

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