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4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  5,955 Ratings  ·  202 Reviews
There were two subjects which lonely widower Edward de Salis never discussed: his dead wife and his family home in Ireland, 'matchless Cashelmara'. So when he meets Marguerite, a bright young American with whom he can talk freely about both, he is able to love again and takes her back to Ireland as his wife. But Marguerite soon discovers that married life is not what she e ...more
Paperback, 720 pages
Published 2004 by Time Warner Paperbacks (first published 1974)
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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.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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, 2009 Misfit rated it it was amazing
"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
Feb 28, 2012 K.l. rated it it was amazing
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
May 10, 2015 Jane rated it really liked it
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
Jan 03, 2013 Danielle added it
Shelves: read-2013
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
Aug 17, 2007 Linda rated it it was amazing
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
May 24, 2012 Holly Weiss rated it really liked it
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
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.
Sarah Beth
Jan 22, 2013 Sarah Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
The Lit Bitch
Oct 18, 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
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
Jun 05, 2012 ladydusk rated it it was ok

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
Jul 17, 2013 Willow rated it liked it
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.
Kari Slater
Jul 22, 2008 Kari Slater rated it it was ok
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.
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.
Apr 16, 2009 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?
Mar 26, 2015 Beth rated it it was amazing
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.
May 18, 2014 Icewineanne rated it really liked it
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 :-)
 ☆☽ Ruth ☆☽
Enjoyed the book, which held my interest most of the time... but didn't love it.
Apr 26, 2015 Drush76 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amanda Cox
Feb 13, 2017 Amanda Cox rated it it was amazing
It's funny because my mom fell in love with Susan Howatch's books when she was in high school. I have spent my entire life staring at them all littering our house and listening to her wax poetic on how wonderful they were. I tried my best to disregard her until one day I was so desperate for something to read that I picked this one up. I was completely entranced. Usually I gravitate toward fantasy but I have seldom discovered a book as captivating as this one. I also do not usually enjoy books t ...more
Mar 18, 2017 Jody rated it really liked it
Reminded of this book recently, and it took a while to remember the title, so I'm recording it on my list here, as I'd really like to revisit it again soon. This is a story I've read a couple of times already. It's not great literature, but I did find it compelling, something about it just captured me.
Feb 04, 2017 Knitnosh rated it liked it
Not as thrilled with it this read through as I was as a teen...found the characters hard to identify with and I think that kept me feeling like I was reading a story, rather than being in a story...( sign of a really good book for me! )
Mar 16, 2017 Murry rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Did not finish. Disliked characters and storyline.
Feb 03, 2017 Yvonne rated it really liked it
Susan Howatch and Catherine Cookson give each other a run for their money when it comes to dysfunctional families and general misery. Nonetheless, they're both excellent storytellers.
Three quarters of the way through I would have given this a 4, but I thought the last segment was the weakest, moving to a somewhat dispirited ending, dropping it back to a 3.
Sandra Lewers
Loved it! Ordered Cashelmara. These are good family sagas.
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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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