Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Cashelmara” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


4.08  ·  Rating details ·  6,429 Ratings  ·  239 Reviews
In nineteenth-century Ireland, the De Salis family carries on through times of both riches and hardship, but their hard-won resilience will be threatened by tragedy of their own making

When Edward de Salis travels to America after the death of his first wife, he is astonished to find himself falling in love with Marguerite, a young woman many years his junior. Full of hope
ebook, 338 pages
Published October 9th 2012 by Open Road Media (first published 1974)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Cashelmara, please sign up.

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)
Rating details
Sort: Default
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
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
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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
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 05, 2012 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
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.
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
The Lit Bitch
Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 Anne
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
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
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
Elizabeth Ruth
Jul 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very satisfying gothic novel. Not typically my thing, but I will read anything Howatch writes. She has a real gift for prose that makes anything she writes a pleasure to read. Not super memorable, but a satisfying escape.

Note- if you are interested in Howatch, I highly recommend her trilogy about the Episcopal church in present day London: The Wonder Worker, The Heartbreaker, and The High Flyer. Those I read over and over. This I might pick up in 10 years at the beach.
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.
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?
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.
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 :-)
Enjoyed the book, which held my interest most of the time... but didn't love it.
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.
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A book about privilege and how it is used to oppress economically disadvantaged people (and women in the same class) and promote ignorance and selfishness. I nearly didn't finish it. 2 Stars rounded from 1.5 because the writing was decent.
The only character that had any depth or attempts at insight at all was the very last one (of six)- and yet... he still had no skills, did not make use of his education, and had no conscience regarding using his privilege to help anyone in a lower class than he
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: Cashelmara 3 15 Jul 11, 2016 04:34AM  
  • Csardas
  • Testimony of Two Men
  • Trade Wind
  • The Prince of Eden (Eden, #2)
  • Calico Palace
  • God Is an Englishman (Swann Saga, #1)
  • Wild Swan (Wild Swan Trilogy, #1)
  • I Am of Irelaunde: A Novel of Patrick and Osian
  • The Immigrants (Lavette Family, #1)
  • The Oak Apple (Morland Dynasty, #4)
  • Olivia And Jai (Olivia and Jai, #1)
  • Beulah Land (Beulah Land, #1)
  • Zemindar
  • Within the Fetterlock
  • The Rain Maiden
  • The Valley Of Decision
  • The Moon in The Water (Heron, #1)
  • The Light Years (Cazalet Chronicles, #1)
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
More about Susan Howatch...
“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
“Spring was approaching at last.” 0 likes
More quotes…