Friday Faceoff – This life at best is but an inn, and we the passengers… #Brainfluffbookblog #FridayFaceoffinncovers


This meme was started by Books by Proxy, whose fabulous idea was to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is we prefer. This meme is currently being nurtured by Lynn’s Book Blog and the subject this week featuring on any of our covers is INNS. I’ve selected the wonderful classic, Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier as I loved this rightly famous classic and have actually visited the site where this adventure is set, where there is now a museum devoted to the dark story of Cornish smuggling…


This edition was produced by Virago Press in Mary 2003 and is a strong contender. I love the drama of that red lettering against the scrollwork and in a long, long list of thumbnail covers – this one really pops. I’m aware there isn’t an inn on this edition, but I think the styling gives a sense that it is a historical adventure. I also like the lack of clutter on the cover.


This edition, published in 1983 by Pan Books, made the cut because that the image of the inn lurking in the background is uncannily like the museum housing the Jamaica Inn collection. A pity about the doe-eyed female wafting about in the foreground, though.


Published in paperback by Arrow in 1992, this edition is also a very near miss. The Cornish landscape is so well depicted here, with the ferns and heather crouching in the foreground and Mary staring at the unprepossessing building sprawling in front of her, that I had thought it would be my favourite. Another major plus for me – the strong fonts, lack of text boxes or chatter across that lovely image to spoil the overall effect.


This hardback edition, published by Sun Dial Press in 1937, knocks all the others out of the court. I apologise for the size of it – I generally don’t feature covers that I cannot get to full size. But this cover is good enough to break my rule. What a great effect that gateway provides, with the swinging sign giving the name of the book and author. The puddled, potholed track gives a sense of the dilapidated state of the place, while the girl whose skirts are swirling in the wind blasting across the moor, adds to the sense that all in not well. The aura of brooding menace leaps off the cover and makes this my favourite.


This Spanish edition, published in March 2018 by Alba, also gives a sense of the gothic suspense lurking in the building. I like the monochrome effect of the building against the black sky, though I do question the choice of the author text also being in black as in thumbnail mode, it simply disappears. Which is your favourite?

36 responses »

  1. Excellent range of choices! I prefer the first one, from Virago Press, with the wonderful scrollwork and fonts. I would rather have the story, itself, show me what the Inn is like, instead of having a picture of it placed in my mind by the cover. I do like the Sun Dial cover next in line, as it offers such a strong sense of foreboding.

  2. Omg, I saw this title too! I like the author. The red font one though is brilliant. I think I like number 2 published in 1983 by Pan Books even though these covers look old and outdated. I assume it is a historic novel? Idk. I haven’t read much historical fiction but I am willing to try.

    • Yes, this is a historic novel, set at the height of the smuggling industry that particularly went on around the south coast throughout the 17th and 18th centuries.

  3. I love the first cover in your list, it’s the edition I’d like to have on my shelves when I get around to replacing my battered old copy. I have to say though the Sun Dial Press edition is stunning and I think might be my new favourite cover for this novel.

    • Oh yes… I could only dream of actually owning an edition with the Sun Dial Press cover, as they go for a great deal of money:)). Though that wasn’t why I picked it!

  4. Nice choice! I think the flavor quote for this week’s topic was taken from this book, was it not? Anyway, I think my favorite will have to be the first one. I don’t typically go for text covers, but that one is striking!

  5. These are all good except for that 2nd one! The background is wonderful but something is seriously wrong with the girl’s eyes. It’s almost like she’s rolling them. I either love Du Maurier or hate her but this is one I haven’t read so I’ll have to pick it up.

    • If you haven’t given this one a go, then it’s worth tracking it down. I absolutely loved it – and the Cornish museum on the site of where Jamaica Inn is supposed to be set is an amazing place…

  6. Ooh these look so classic/ old school. I love the 83 and 92 ones, both look like they could be on a spinner rack or paperback display back in the day, and I like the Cornish landscape element of both. Especially 92.

    That 37 one though is SO darn eerie, I love it! Now THAT has atmosphere! 🙂

    • They are classic, aren’t they, Greg? But then, it’s a classic story:). Yes… I was blown away when I saw the 1937 offering – it is in a different league, I think.

  7. I love your choice of favourite and book for the theme. I don’t know which book I like the best – this or Rebecca. Such a beautiful writer and two of my all time favourite books. In fact this has just made me want to reread it.
    Lynn 😀

    • You’re absolutely right, Lynn – she is a towering talent. I also absolutely love My Cousin Rachel, which I think has the greatest circular ending I’ve ever read:)).

  8. Oh my, they are all good! I would buy any one of them basing the purchase on the cover alone, but maybe because I loved that book so much.
    I think I have read many of her books “back in the day.” She is a master of writing!
    Loved the quote, too; clever of you to include it.

    • Thank you, Rae:). Yes – and her books hold up really well. I’m delighted that many younger book bloggers are discovering the likes of Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel and loving them.

      • I am so heartened to hear it! There are some stunning authors of around that era that I think should still be read – Neville Shute and Norah Lofts are another two I adored…

  9. I love the first one, because—as you said it yourself—it pops. Also, the font and ornaments give away a vibe of an inn banner: I could clearly picture this hanging in front of the said inn… At the same time, I can see why you chose your favorite. It has something mesmerizing about it, and it does have a bit of the menacing feel…

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