Friday, October 7, 2011

Jamaica Inn by Daphne DuMaurier

This is a good and dark gothic story about a plucky young heroine standing up to an abusive uncle and brutish criminals. So why-oh-why did the author feel the need to throw in a romance? It is totally unnecessary to the movement of the plot. Excuse me while I get on my soapbox, but Mary was doing a perfectly fine job holding her own in a crappy environment, only to melt like a snowflake when she gets kissed for the first time? proclaiming something along the lines of, I'm bound to him forever? Oh please. I wanted to see her kick ass and take names and either not *need* a man, or to at least be a little harder for a man to earn than just with a kiss.

The brooding atmosphere and suspense is, of course, excellent. As is her grasp of the subtleties of human nature and psychology. There is a scene where her frighteningly loud and brusque uncle suddenly becomes quiet and 'gentle' and it is this turn of character that alarms Mary the most. (quote bellow from pg21) Daphne DuMaurier is a fantastic storyteller, I just wish she could envision a strong woman without the need of romance.

It was a cold grey day in late November. The weather had changed overnight, when a backing wind brought a granite sky and a mizzling rain with it, and although it was now only a little after two o'clock in the afternoon the pallor of a winter evening seemed to have closed upon the hills, cloaking them in mist. It would be dark by four. The air was clammy cold, and for all the tightly closed windows it penetrated the interior of the coach. (opening lines)

Had he cut her a chunk of bread and hurled it at her she would not have minded so much; it would have been in keeping with what she had seen of him. But this sudden coming to grace, this quick and exquisite moving of his hands, was a swift and rather sinister revelation, sinister because it was unexpected and not true to type. pg 21

However grim and hateful was this new country, however barren and untilled, with Jamaica Inn standing alone upon the hill as a buffer to the four winds, there was a challenge in the air that spurred Mary Yellan to adventure. It stung her, bringing colour to her cheeks and a sparkle to her eyes; it played with her hair, blowing it about her face; and as she breathed deep she drew it through her nostrils and into her lungs, more quenching and sweeter than a draught of cider. pg32

After a while, when her eyes had accustomed themselves to the shadows, she made them out, huddled against a jagged rock that broke up the expanse of the beach: a little knot of men grouped together for warmth and shelter, silently peering ahead of them into the darkness. Their very stillness made them the more menacing who had not been still before; and the attitude of stealth , the poise of bodies crouched as they were against the rock, the tense watchfulness of their heads turned one and all to the incoming sea, was a sight at once fearful and pregnant with danger. pg184

RIP # 4 - check!

GRC #5 - check!


Tracy said...

The romance is irritating, though it does have a realistic edge, when Mary realises that the probable fate of such a romance is a houseful of squalling babies and a husband who goes out drinking or worse to escape.

Sam (Tiny Library) said...

I've got to say you've put me off this one! I do want to read Rebecca though...

Trish said...

Tracy - Even though she realized this, she still went with him? I wish she hadn't.

Sam - Rebecca is the better read, in my opinion. Although I have my doubts about *that* ending, too.

Kate said...

I tried this one a few years ago but never really gelled with it. I do keep meaning to read it, though, as I'd like to see the film too.

Also I don't recall feeling either Rebecca or My Cousin Rachel were terribly romantic. Have you read My Cousin Rachel?

Trish said...

The only other one I've read is Rebecca and, no, it's not romantic apart from them just being married. As for My Cousin Rachel, I don't know anything about it. If you say it's not particularly romantic then maybe I should give it a try.