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Cashelmara

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  6,306 Ratings  ·  227 Reviews
Cashelmara - at once beautiful and frightening - is the great house that dominates the Irish estates of the de Salis family, obsessing them from generation to generation, dominating their lives and fortunes, irresistibly drawing them away from the quiet and settled world of mid-Victorian English aristocracy into the violence, passion and danger or Ireland.

For Edward, a ste
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Hardcover, 702 pages
Published May 1st 1974 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1974)
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Popular Answered Questions

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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Misfit
Feb 21, 2009 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
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Anna
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
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K.l.
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
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Jane
May 10, 2015 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
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Danielle
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
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Linda
Aug 17, 2007 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.
Linda Lpp
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this in the 70s when it was first published. LOVED it then.
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
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Barb

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.
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Diana
Jun 19, 2011 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.
Joy
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another re-read of my current Howatch binge.

I was wondering if my assessment of the characters from when I was much younger stood up, and, yeah, everyone of the middle generation in this book (Patrick, MacGowan, Drummond, Sarah) are all terrible people. Marguerite was my favorite character in this book.
Kathy Peterson
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 1/2 stars rounded to 4 stars. Interesting easy summer read. Classic epic saga following the de Salis family from 1859 to 1891 in England, Ireland and America, focusing on their ancestral home in Ireland, Cashelmara. Even though the novel is over 700 pages in length it held my interest I think partly because the story was told in six "books" or sections each one told from the POV of a different character. Also there was no lack of drama with much intrigue, lies and betrayals
Sarah Beth
Jan 22, 2013 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
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The Lit Bitch
Oct 18, 2012 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
JudiAnne
May 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
ladydusk
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Own.

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
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Maureen Curran-Dorsano
I think I read some Susan Howatch books years ago and remembered liking her, so when this came by as a weekly deal, I thought I'd give her a try again. I love novels set in Ireland, but here Ireland is just an impoverished, famine-ridden place, with none of the characters wanting any part of it. Amazon customers seem to like the novel, but I found all of the characters unlikable (to a greater or lesser degree) so I can't agree. I had to force myself to finish, which is my definition of two stars ...more
Willow
Jul 17, 2013 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.
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.
Thomas Walsh
Aug 29, 2015 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.
Laura
Apr 16, 2009 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?
Beth
Mar 26, 2015 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.
Icewineanne
May 18, 2014 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 :-)
 ☆Ruth☆
Enjoyed the book, which held my interest most of the time... but didn't love it.
Drush76
Apr 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is written from the POV of 6 of the characters. Each character has one section which follow chronologically. I though it might have been more interesting to know what each character thought of the same event than each section focusing solely on one character during a different time span.

I found myself reading the book to get it finished so I could move onto something else. Something better. Rather than being so engrossed that I couldn't put it down. I did find the story more engaging
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Denise
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, read-2017
Based on the life of Edward II (and, to a lesser extent, those of his predecessor and successor), this sprawling family saga follows three generations of the aristocratic de Salis family in 19th century Ireland. If you're familiar with the story of Edward II and Isabella, the story itself doesn't contain all that many surprises, but the way the fates of these historical characters have been adapted to Cashelmara's timeline and setting makes for an enthralling read. The characters are easily reco ...more
Trudy Gleason
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclubs
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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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“before he died Francis’ father had ordered that the gutters and gargoyles be painted gold, and the innovation had enabled the house to achieve a new and unbelievable pitch of vulgarity. I am incapable of further description; all I can add is that Greek ideas had married Gothic affectations in the architectural plans, and the marriage had not been a happy one.” 0 likes
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