Tag Archives: Modern classics

Charming Creepiness: A Review of Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn

I didn’t review a book called Charming Creepiness… just trying out a new heading style!

Rebecca, which I’d read ages ago, made me a fan of Du Maurier’s modern-classic style. There’s just something about the way she weaves classical charm and dark psychology that makes for incredibly compelling reads.

And if you go into Jamaica Inn expecting that, it definitely does not disappoint.

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Source: Goodreads

Genre: Classic, modern classic, mystery, thriller

Length: 315 pages

Blurb:

Mary Yellan honors her mother’s dying request and moves with her few belongings to stay with her Aunt Patience, who is married to the landlord of Jamaica Inn. She’s never met Joss Merlyn, her uncle by marriage, until she ignores the warning from the coach-driver and reaches the forbidding, run-down inn. She finds her Aunt, a shell of her former, happy self, who cowers behind her hulk of a brooding husband. Mary stays only because she does not wish to leave her aunt, and is determined to get them both away from Joss Merlyn and Jamaica Inn. But as weeks and months pass, Mary realizes that there are strange, sinister goings-on at Jamaica Inn. Can she find a way to get her aunt and herself to safety before she loses herself like her aunt did? Or will her uncle succeed in breaking her will… and taking her life?

Overall Rating: 8 out of 10

Plot: 9 out of 10

Characterization: 8 out of 10

Primary Element: 8 out of 10 for its creepiness and mystery

Writing Style: 8 out of 10

Part of a Series: No

Highlighted Takeaway:

The style of the book that somehow manages to be charming while also evoking goosebumps.

What I Liked:

Mary Yellan’s character, which was very self-aware, embracing her strength and weaknesses. This stands out even more because of the era in which this book was written.

What I Didn’t Like:

At times, the style can become a little too archaic to follow easily. Had me wishing I could long-press any button to see its archaic meaning (I couldn’t because I was reading a paperback and not my Kindle).

Who Should Read It:

Anyone who already loves classics, and anyone who wants to try classics but is hesitant. This is a great place to start exploring the genre. And anyone who likes mysteries and thrillers.

Who Should Avoid:

Probably anyone who detests classics.

Read It For:

Its beautiful mixture of narrative that’s just detailed enough to be engaging, characters that are realistic, engaging story, effective but not overplayed creepiness factor, and charming storytelling.

Got some classics or modern classics to recommend? I’d love to add some to my TBR so do drop your suggestions, or anything else you’d like to share, in the comments below. And thanks for stopping by!

– Rishika

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Review: My Cousin Rachel (By Daphne Du Maurier)

 

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Source: Goodreads

 

Length: 335 pages

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

When Philip Ashley is orphaned at a young age, he is brought up by his older, kind, and generous cousin, Ambrose. Never having been keen on marriage, Ambrose loves Philip like a son and considers him his only heir. The only family Philip has ever known is Ambrose, who is father, mother, brother, and guide to him. Philip never finds the need for anyone else. Their world is cozy, complete, and perfect. Until Ambrose travels to Florence, and falls in love.

He marries Rachel, a woman Philip has never seen and knows little of. The jealousy of having to share the love of the only family he’s ever had causes hatred for Rachel within Philip’s heart. And when he learns of Ambrose’s sudden death, his hatred, anger, and dislike turn to suspicion. But when Rachel turns up in England, Philip finds himself drawn to her mystery and beauty. The hatred he’d resolved to hold onto begins to melt away and as he gets to know her, new, strange emotions take its place. Yet, rearing its ugly head occasionally, lies one question at the back of his mind always – does he really know his cousin Rachel, or does her beauty hide the murderous intent that had claimed Ambrose’s life?

My take:

Daphne Du Maurier has a beautiful writing style that pulls you incredibly deep into the story, the lives of the people within, and the very setting in which it takes place. She weaves a tale of mystery and psychological suspense that moves along briskly and keeps you turning the pages as you’re perched on the edge of your seat.

What I really loved about My Cousin Rachel was the myriad of emotions and their depth. The dialog is powerful and intense, with the simplest of sentences delivered with an impact that you can physically feel. The beautifully woven conversations go much further in meaning than the words spoken, and you can actually sense all that meaning around you.

Association with characters is stronger in this book than in most others that I have read. You feel for and with the people – their pain, their joys, and their turmoil. But the thing is that it isn’t just a feeling like one you would have for a friend or loved on, it’s a feeling that completely surrounds you. You sort of feel like you’re standing there, next to the characters, experiencing (almost tangible) wave after wave of their emotions. And it’s touching, elating, and overwhelming, all at once.Du Maurier explores the darkest and purest of emotions, and the chaos they can reign when combined. And she does so beautifully.

But the rollercoaster of feelings and emotions that you’re on throughout the book is only a part of its charm. There’s also the suspense that is always a part of every page, every event. You’re always wondering just what will happen next. And you’re always wondering just what had really happened to Ambrose.

The only reason the book gets a 4.5 instead of 5-star rating is that I wanted it to be just slightly shorter. While reducing it by 100 pages or so would definitely take away from its charm, it could surely have been 25 pages less. Because when every page is an addition to the suspense, those few extra paragraphs can be maddening.

All in all, the book is an exceptional read, regardless of whether you like classics or not. It’s a period novel, reminiscent of the time in which it’s set; it is charming, and full of suspense. The best part about it is that it really transports you right to its setting, making for quite a reading experience.

Highly recommended to:

  • fans of Classics or Modern Classics
  • people who shy away from Classics (it’s a Modern Classic and does not drag)
  • fans of suspense
  • anyone who liked Rebecca

Let us know how you liked My Cousin Rachel, or tell us whether you’d rather wait for the movie that’s coming up soon or read the novel. Drop a comment below!

– Rishika

 

 

 

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