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4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,340 Ratings  ·  174 Reviews
The rich and mighty saga of a wealthy and titled English family in Ireland during the 19th century.
Unknown Binding, 5 pages
Published January 1st 1974 by Hamish Hamilton
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Deborah Pickstone No, it's a completely different story. Penmarric is based on Henry II and his family problems. Cashelmara tells, essentially, the story of Edward II…moreNo, it's a completely different story. Penmarric is based on Henry II and his family problems. Cashelmara tells, essentially, the story of Edward II and Isabella - both books tell the story set in a more modern time with characters representing the historical figures.(less)
Amy Similar in length and complications, but a completely different story.
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I’ve always been a fan of big fat sagas, and Cashelmara did not disappoint. Set in Ireland in the 19th century, we follow three generations of the wealthy de Salis family. As with all sagas, secrets and scandals abound, but the twist here is that the fictional de Salises are based on Edwards I, II and III of England.

If you know the three Edwards, you’ll be looking out for the characters that take on the roles of Piers Gaveston, Hugh Despenser, Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer; knowing how the s
Feb 21, 2014 Misfit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The match flared in the darkness, his eyes watched me above the single steady flame.."

I cannot recall the last time a scene from a book has so thoroughly chilled me to the bone (and there were plenty more besides), but you'll have to read it for yourself to see what I'm talking about - I'm not telling! Set in Ireland in the latter part of the 19C, Howatch recounts three generations of the wealthy English de Salis family in six separate "books", each of those being in the first person POV of dif
I first read Cashelmara when I was about eleven years old and have since probably read it at least once a year! It os one book that I will always keep on my shelf alongside Trade Winds (M.M. Kaye) and Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett).
Cashelmara traces the loves, lies and intrigues of a late 19th aristocratic family based both in England and Ireland. It is split into 6 different parts, each narrated by a different character. As other reviewers have mentioned, the story is loosely - but brillian
Sep 08, 2015 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reading
I fell in love with Susan Howatch’s big historical novels, that took real history and reset it so very cleverly in different ages, when I was still at school. When I re-read 'Penmarric', some months ago, I fell in love all over again, and so I took the same next step as I did all those years ago.

I picked up ‘Cashelmara’.

The story is set in the middle of the 19th century, and it follows the turbulent lives of three generations of an English family, and the fortunes of Cashelmara, the family’s Iri
Susan Howatch's Cashelmara is one rollercoaster of a ride! One of the blurbs on the book calls it "another blockbuster", and gauging the heftiness of Howatch's books (this one weighs in at just over 700 pages) I think I know what that means. It's the sort of story that you literally lose yourself in. Howatch, and other authors who write (wrote?) 'blockbusters' (most notably in the 1970s and 80s it seems) know just how much fishing line to dangle in front of the reader before reeling it all back ...more
Deborah Pickstone
Read last year: am reviewing to make the historical connections.

The story is a retelling of the latter end of Edward I's reign through to the beginning of Edward III. However it is told via a more modern scenario centred around an Irish estate called Cashelmara.

Edward de Salis (Edward I) also has estates in England and is very wealthy. On a visit to the US he meets a much younger cousin, Marguerite Marriott (Margaret of France, 40 years junior), and marries her, with a resulting tricky marriage
Sep 01, 2007 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans
This scandalous through the generations English family saga is set in the mid to late 1860s. Beginning with the patriarch Edward de Salis and ending with his grandson, Patrick, the saga follows the changes in fortune of the family's Irish estate, Cashelmara. The novel is divided into several sections which are narrated by different members of the family. The plot contains a good mix of romance and mystery.
Karen Helmle
I loved this book. It was like an 1850's soap opera! Drama! Drama! Drama! What I liked most about this book is that the story is told thru the voice of 4 of the characters in the book. I was intriqued by how 4 people saw themselves and how they were seen by the people around them, how 4 people can take one event and view it so differently. This books has been around for years. I read it years ago but I picked it up again and still love it.
Holly Weiss
4.5 stars

Cashelmara is a saga about an Irish family through three generations. If the title doesn’t grab you, Howatch’s writing will. The story is mesmerizing and spine tingling. Psychological motivations, dysfunction and macabre machinations abound. Although designated as historical fiction, the novel shines in the characters and their relationships. I’d call it a psychological thriller as well as historical fiction.

The de Salis family owns an estate in England, but can’t seem to give up the re

I found myself not caring for any of the characters Howatch created and wanting to read more about Edward I and Edward II in their own time instead.

Misfit said...

"What she does with this trilogy is parallels the Plantagenets - but the characters and settings are different in the other books.

Penmarric is Henry II and Eleanor and their devil's brood. Cashelmara which Laura just read is Edward I, II and a wee bit of EIII and of course the Piers Gaveston/Hugh Despenser/Isabella the She-Wolf story.
Jun 19, 2011 Diana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although it's been over 20 years since I read this book, I still remember it. The story is intriguing, but so is the way Susan Howatch writes. I'll never forget how I was so into the story and the character, and then she completely switches the point of view to the arch enemy! At first I was not happy about it but she is quite masterful at it. I've enjoyed her books.
Judi/Judith Riddle
Cashelmara is a foreboding castle in Ireland owned by the English deSalis family. No one seems to like the castle and estate but there is a mysterious pull causing the family to spend an excessive amount of time there. We see the deception, romance and the self imposed spiral into doom and then the resilience of three generations of the family. Loosely based on The Three Edwards of Medieval England the novel grabs hold of you and won’t let go. The story explores the heart breaking plight of the ...more
The Lit Bitch
Oct 28, 2012 The Lit Bitch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the things I loved most about this novel was that it was character driven. The characters were flawed just enough to make them relatable and real without putting the reader off and becoming cast as either the villain or the hero. I can’t say that I especially liked any of the characters but that is ok, it didn’t make the novel drab by any stretch of the measure, in fact it made it more exciting…..and here is why. I love books that surprise me and characters who surprise me. I like getting ...more
Sarah Beth
Jan 29, 2013 Sarah Beth rated it really liked it
Cashelmara is a great family saga set in Ireland beginning in 1859 and following the lives and turmoil of the de Salis family. The novel is composed of five parts, each from a different family member's perspective and covers three generations and over 30 years of family history. As indicated by the choice of title, the family's Irish estate, Cashelmara, is the central point of the novel, however, portions of the book also take place in England and America.

The novel opens with Edward, a widower
Thomas Walsh
Aug 29, 2015 Thomas Walsh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Melt into intrigue

This novel, like all Howatch's intricate works, is based on The House of Plantagenet, which coincidentally was Thomas Costain's biographical inspiration. We have a marriage of a too young girl to a too old man, surrounded by English customs threatened by Irish revolts, peppered with sadistic antagonists and innocent love affairs. It is a stunner.
Jun 10, 2012 ladydusk rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

I cannot recommend it. It is set in the early 1800s and plot points are based on the Edward I, II, and III, but I hope not very closely. While the writing is superb, it was dark and disturbing ... and sordid. The book has all kinds of torture from physical to psychological. I did like the discussion of England and Ireland and the relationship between the gentry and the populace. But it was so dark that I didn't really sleep one night and felt the horror of the situation. What really disturbs
Mar 26, 2015 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful book. I read this in the early 1980's and enjoyed it immensely. Extremely well written. If you enjoy Cashelmara, you must read The Wheel of Fortune.
Aug 27, 2014 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one heck of a family saga…on steroids. I love big family sagas with a princely estate which acts as a "character" all by itself. This book features several mansions, so those who are enamored of fancy real estate will love this book.

Cashelmara is the name of an estate in Ireland, and follows three generations of the Anglo-Irish family who owns it. The story begins in the mid-1800s and starts out as an interesting but fairly traditional type of historical novel. About five hundred pages
Audrey Dailey
3.5 stars. Sweeping historical epic telling the story of 3 generations of one English family, set in England, Ireland, and America from the mid nineteenth century on. Howatch uses different narrators to tell the story and she is so good at doomed tales like this. From the moment you start reading, she lets you know that this family is seriously messed up, even if they don't know it yet. So while its kind of sad, it's also engrossing. And I do feel like her great theme of redemption came through ...more
This book is an international bestseller and a classic but it was Not For Me.

I found the characters unlikeable. This became less of a surprise to me once I realized the quotes about Edward I, Edward II, Isabella the Fair, etc. weren't there just to provide interesting parallels, they were supposed to indicate that these characters were re-workings of those historical figures and this was a fictional re-telling of their saga. I find those particular historical figures very unlikeable as well.

Kari Slater
My neighbor recommended this to me. I felt it was mediocre. Maybe because I've been reading such great books recently or because I read a great one right after it. But I slogged my way through all 700+ pages dutifully. However, I was more engrossed by page 2 of Time Traveller's Wife if that puts it in perspective.
Aug 10, 2013 Willow rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Family novel set in the later part of the 19th century. Told from five different character POV. Some were better than others. What I did like about this book was the setting of English in Ireland pre-republic, post famine.
It supposedly follows a Plantagenet history set in a different time and location.
Aug 17, 2014 Monique rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Lovely family saga that takes place in Ireland and England between 1850-1890 or so. We meet six protagonists and the story is told from the six perspectives:
Edward, the baron, his wife Marguerite, his son Patrick and his wife Sarah, Sarah's lover and her son Ned.

The story unfolds over the years, with much flourish, plenty of side trips to maintain the momentum and a strong climax. My only criticism is that in the telling of Ned's story who is between and 15 and 17 years old, it is hard to belie
Jul 31, 2010 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans
Recommended to Laura by: Misfit
Just arrived from Belgium through BM.

WHAT A BOOK!!! It deserves 6 stars in my opinion. The unforgettable story of three generations during the famine period in Ireland. It's hard to decide which character I loved most Marguerite, Sarah or Ned?
Sheila Myers
Jun 08, 2015 Sheila Myers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a family saga set in England, Ireland and America from the 18602-90s. It is told from the view point of six family members: each section is devoted to their POV. I became intrigued with each character and the story gets richer as the saga moves along. Most of the story is set at the family estate in Ireland, Cashelmara and the author does a great job describing the famine, politics and family feuds of the region. The first few sections are about the patriarch: Edward and his second marri ...more
May 24, 2015 Icewineanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this as a teenager & was absolutely captured by this romantic saga. In addition to Mary Roberts Rinehart, Susan Howatch was my favorite author :-)
Susie Fiorito
Oct 22, 2014 Susie Fiorito rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an amazing book. A real epic. I loved it.
Ms. Howatch is a very clever writer. At first I thought it was just
a very good story, the kind that was written in the 1970's compared to the likes of Taylor Caldwell and Barbara Taylor Bradford, about 1/4 of the way through I realized I knew this story in an ancient form.
It is a modern day twist on the story of the much disdained King Edward II. She knew her history when writing this, it was so much fun recognizing who in the book was who in act
Rebecca Hutchison
I got my copy of this book from my Grandmother after she passed away. If was one of very few books she had left with her. I would have so liked to have read it when she was alive and then discussed it with her as it was such a grand and epic novel. I haven't read anything like this or as good as this since The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. Its a calm read until about halfway through and then it takes you a place you NEVER thought this seemingly calm book would go, I was so surprised. I love ...more
Jan 27, 2015 Gina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was on a list of 100 books that one should read. So I did. It's a story told from the perspective of 7 individuals; some I like and some not so much. Characters were well developed and interesting. The saga took place just after the potato famine in Ireland and dealt with the English "landlord" aristocracy versus the Irish who farmed for them. There was also a smattering of Americans thrown it. Life, death, love, intrigue, murder, ignorance and grime...

Up to the very end, I was enjoying it,
Reading a Susan Howatch novel is kinda like digging into a big bowl of hot, buttered, lightly salted popcorn. At first you read/eat slowly, savoring each page/bite. But then as the richness of the writing/buttery goodness start to envelope you, you can't help yourself. You start reading/eating faster and faster. You want to devour it all in one sitting, but Howatch's books are long for just one sitting/ feeding frenzy. Howatch's books are divided into sections with each major character getting h ...more
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Susan Howatch (b. 1940) is a British novelist who has penned bestselling mysteries, family sagas, and other novels. Howatch was born in Surrey, England. She began writing as a teen and published her first book when she moved to the United States in 1964. Howatch found global success first with her five sagas and then with her novels about the Church of England in the twentieth century. She has now ...more
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