Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Gloom, Murders, and Moor

In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I'd recommend a nice Gothic Romance. I read this when I was on a Daphne du Maurier kick. Many of us read "Rebecca" in high school, and much later, I read it again, then searched out her other books. The book for today is "Jamaica Inn," first published in 1936. 

The setting is Cornwall in 1820. Mary Yellan, 23 years old, is forced to live with her Aunt Patience after her mother dies. Aunt Patience and her husband, Joss (who is a large, menacing bully) are the keepers of Jamaica Inn, a gloomy and threatening place out in the moors. Mary soon realizes after arriving that something very strange is afoot when she sees her Aunt living a ghost-like existence. As you get swept into this book, you will come across murderous wreckers (bandits who actually cause ships to wreck to take their loot) a romance between Mary and Joss's brother, Jem, an albino Vicar (talk about interesting characters), a shocking betrayal, and daring rescues. You also get a very nice picture of the moor, which is a marshy pastureland-- but not a pretty place for a picnic. You would never want to get lost there, which is exactly what happens to Mary.

An excerpt:
She lifted the sash and looked out. She was met with a blast of wind and rain that blinded her for the moment, and then, shaking clear her hair and pushing it from her eyes, she saw that the coach was topping the breast of a hill at a furious gallop, while on either side of the road was rough moorland, looming ink-black in the mist and rain. 
Ahead of her, on the crest, and to the left, was some sort of a building, standing back from the road. She could see tall chimneys, murky dim in the darkness. There was no other house, no other cottage. If this was Jamaica, it stood alone in glory, foursquare to the winds. Mary gathered her cloak around her and fastened the clasp.
Jamaica Inn, Ch.1, p.14, Virago (2003).

So have a wonderful Valentine's Day and pick up this book! The other books I enjoyed by Daphne du Maurier were "Frenchman's Creek," "My Cousin Rachel," and "Mrs. De Winter" (the sequel to "Rebecca".)  This links to an official website: http://www.dumaurier.org

Have you read this or any other good Gothic Romance novels?

No comments:

Post a Comment