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4.09  ·  Rating details ·  7,923 ratings  ·  367 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 a…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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Cashelmara by Susan Howatch is a 2012 Open Road Media publication. (Originally published in 1974)

What an epic family saga!

This is a ‘doorstop’ tome written way back in 1974, but is now been formatted into digital form by Open Road Media. Susan Howatch, at one time, was the queen of the family saga. I didn’t get around to reading her books until decades after they were published, but I loved this style of family drama, which covers several generations of related characters, and is packed with l
Cashelmara is Susan Howatch’s retelling of the lives of Edward I, Edward II, and Edward III of England. She sets her tale primarily at Cashelmara, an estate in Ireland, beginning in 1859, with Edward’s second marriage to his first wife’s cousin, Marguerite. The characters are wonderfully real and complicated, grabbing your attention and holding it to the end, and the story progresses so smoothly that it is like watching a movie.

Howatch uses a device that has become common, but isn’t always my fa
Feb 21, 2009 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
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 28, 2012 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 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
Sarah Mac
DNF, somewhere around pg 150.

Unpopular opinion alert!

Clearly I'm in the minority, because negative reviews for this author are like unicorns. But sweet mother of pearl, every time I picked this up I hated it more, because WHO THE HELL CARES?? I can deal with unpleasant people, & even unpleasant people who narrate -- but unpleasant people who babble for pages upon pages about their life & times whilst doing absolutely nothing of interest is where I draw the line. Perhaps the author should have b
Jan 03, 2013 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 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. ...more
Linda Lpp
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read this in the 70s when it was first published. LOVED it then.
I felt much better now that I could see the situation so clearly in black and white

I wish... Or not... The truth and the most exquisite aspect of the book was that you can't decide what to think about characters and their decisions. It was disturbing because who doesn't prefer stability. The idea of a few narrators is intriguing. It can allow seeing a bigger perspective, knowing more facts. But, it can also do what Susan Howatch did - she showed me, that even after finishing the novel I am still
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
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Telling the story of the lives and exploits of three generations of the aristocratic English family who have long been landlords of an Irish estate, this novel is rich with great characters, a great family story filled with intrigue and it certainly never fails to pull out another surprising twist of fate. Set in the latter half of the 19th century, it also encompasses the Irish story of famine, feuding, ejection from property, etc.

The story is told over time by six characters including the lor
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
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
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. ...more
Dec 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
I was very disappointed in this book. It was full of terrible people with no redeeming qualities doing terrible things.
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tragic story in nearly every way. I felt like I was reading a train wreck, but I couldn’t put it down.
I inhaled this book. But how feverishly I turn pages doesn't necessarily equate to how much I like a book. The writing in a pageturner book is a type of sorcery I don't quite understand but which I'm entirely susceptible to.

What I did think was neat was how Howatch made real historical figures (Edward I, Edward II, Edward III, Margaret of France, Isabella of France, and Roger Mortimer) her main characters and plopped them down into a somewhat more modern time period (mid - late 19th century Eng
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
May 24, 2012 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 05, 2012 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
Jun 19, 2011 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. ...more
May 18, 2014 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 :-)
On one hand, Cashelmara is the story of the de Salis family, an aristocratic English family whose principle residence is the titular Cashelmara: a barren Irish estate, and their rise and fall in the 1800s. On the other hand, Cashelmara retells the lives and reigns of Edward I, Marguerite of France, Edward II, Isabella of France, Roger Mortimer and Edward III by transposing them onto England, Ireland and America in the 19th century.

Despite dipping into melodrama, weird sexual hang-ups (view spoil
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
Christina (Confessions of a Book Addict)
Edward, a wealthy British aristocrat, visits the United States in the 19th century. While there he meets his deceased wife's cousin, Marguerite. He is completely smitten. Even though he is much older than her, sparks fly and they have plans to marry. He hopes to take her back to their family land in Ireland, Cashlemara, and as the years go by they live happily. The story follows this family though the years, but it's not always happy times. Edward's son, Patrick, is a bit of a problem. He is una ...more
Dec 10, 2019 rated it liked it
I had read this book years ago and it definitely was not my favorite, so I wondered if age had improved it any. I'm a sucker for Howatch's early novels before you got stuck in the Church of England novels. Unfortunately I still wasn't crazy about this one on a second reading. It is the retelling of Edward the II and Queen Isabella. I'm not sure why people struggle so badly when trying to tell this whether it is in historical fiction or even in nonfiction, but they seem to bumble it every time. T ...more
Kathy Peterson
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 ...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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