!READ EPUB ⚇ Cashelmara ⚓ Three Generations Of Drama, Passion And TurmoilA Glorious, Full Blooded Novel Brimming With Memorable Characters Which Centres On Cashelmara, The Coldly Beautiful Georgian House In Galway, Ancestral Home Of Edward De SalisCharged With Emotion, The Fast Moving Plot Follows The Turbulent Fortunes Of An Aristocratic Victorian Family Through Half A Century Of Furious Encounters, Ill Advised Liaisons And Bitter Sweet Interludes Of Love
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 Irish estate.Edward de Salis was a widower with grown up children when he visited cousins in New York, and brought the much younger Marguerite home as his bride The couple proved to be well matched but Edward s daughters were less than happy that their mother s place had been taken by a step mother only a little older than them It was only when Patrick, Ned s only son and heir, comes home from boarding school that Marguerite gained an ally who is sympathetic to her situation and happy for her to have a place in his life.She didn t quite see why Edward was so disappointed in his only son She understood that he was less driven than his father, that he had other interests that he was torn between wanting to please his father and following his own desires.When Edward died and Patrick inherited the de Salis lands and fortune, he delighted Marguerite s by marrying her niece, Sarah This couple was not well matched, and when they returned from New York to live in London their lavish lifestyle and Patrick s gambling nearly destroyed them Forced to economize, Sarah and Patrick were forced to Cashelmara Sarah hated it, and she hated that her husband was far ore involved with his childhood friend Derry Stranahan that he was with their life together or the proper management of their estate When Derry is killed, Sarah sets about repairing marriage and turning the estate around profitable estate, to secure the future for herself and her son But her hopes are shattered when her husband falls under the sway of another man Hugh McGowan who will put her in an invidious position She struggles to escape, and for the sake of her son, Ned, she make an unwise alliance of her own.The consequences are shattering, and when Ned comes of age, he learns that he must chose his own alliances ad plan his moves very carefully to gain his inheritance and his independence.Those are the bones of the story, and they are filled out with a wealth of detail of character, of plot, and of history.The story that is being retold is that the latter years of Edward I the reign of Edward II, who was usurped by his wife, Queen Isabella, and he lover, Roger Mortimer and finally the early years of Edward III, as he emerged from their shadow The way that Susan Howatch has taken that story and reset it in another time and place, using different historical events to drive the same story forward, is nothing short of brilliant But it doesn t matter if you don t know the history, because this story stands up on its own merits The psychology is right and this book is a psychological thriller as well as a historical saga.The characters were wonderful real, complex, three dimensional human beings They had strengths and weaknesses I understood their motivations, why they spoke and acted as they did, and I appreciated that life and experience changed them over the years I was drawn into their lives and I was compelled to watch That the story was told in six volumes, each told by a different character, gave the book strength and depth It was fascinating seeing different perspectives of characters and events, and coming to understand how each one of them saw the world It had to be said that the story is dark and at times it is downright chilling but that is the nature of the history Fidelity to that history meant that there were times when the story didn t progress as quickly as I would have liked, and I did feel that the end of the book tailed off a little.I was a little less caught up with this book than I was with Penmarric maybe because the setting was less familiar and the history that the story was founded upon was less appealing.But still I loved it. 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 story will pan out does not detract from the dark madness of it all If the Edwards are new to you, just think affairs, betrayals, murders and revenge, and then sit back and enjoy I m now looking forward to reading Penmarric, which is based on Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine and their Devils Brood, and The Wheel of Fortune which shadows Edward III and his usurping offspring, the origins of the Wars of the Roses. 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 brilliantly based on the lives of the Three Edwards, and the modern portrayal of these medieval characters is brilliantly done This book has some incredible scenes, Sarah s confrontation with Hugh MacGowan, Ned s realisation of his father s struggles and the scenes of the Irish poverty during the famine to name but a few A must read for anyone interested in historical fiction or drama or romance or murder There s truly something for everyone here Ten gold stars 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 in You know how it goes pages filled with family dramas, passion, hatred, and in the case of Cashelmara revenge There are loads of little cliffhangers throughout the story to keep the reader turning pages and sucking them into the story.Not too long ago a coworker asked me what I was reading and I pulled out my copy of Cashelmara A quick glance at the description and she recalled seeing the book, different edition of course, on her mother s bookshelves when she was young I hadn t realized it had been published so long ago, 1974 to be precise, but then historical fiction doesn t really become too dated easily It is a retelling of the life and reign of Edward II, but if you like me are unfamiliar with that particular era in history, you needn t worry about feeling you are missing out It stands quite soundly on its own Cashelmara is the family seat of a titled English family in Ireland The estate and surrounding lands was bequeathed by Queen Elizabeth to the de Salis family and is entailed in such a way that it cannot be sold off easily and passes from male heir to male heir along down the line This isn t just a garden variety family drama however, it s a family saga, chronicling the dreams, aspirations, weaknesses and shortcomings of three generations of the de Salis family.Howatch recasts the story from 14th century England and Wales to the mid Victorian period and a family home in England known as Woodhammer Hall and Cashelmara in Ireland And like Edward s reign which was marked by petty squabbling, mismanagement and political and military defeats, an all around disastrous reign, Howatch tells the story of the rise and fall of fortunes of the de Salis family At the beginning Lord de Salis is wealthy, well regarded and an excellent land manager to the estate in Ireland The country, the house and the people are loved by de Salis, and he is held in high esteem by his tenants In not too many years, however, and with neglect the once powerful de Salis family takes a tumble It s not just calamitous events such as the Great Famine and the rise of Irish Nationalism that plague the de Salis family but general incompetence in the managing of estate affairs Everything that the elder Lord de Salis worked for and built during his lifetime is destroyed by his son in a very few years.The novel is broken into six sections, each with its own narrator They are told in first person and with titles such as Duty , Fidelity , Loyalty , Passion , Ambition and Revenge it s not hard imagining the narrative arc of the story Each successive Lord de Salis tells his story, two of the wives tell their version of events and most interesting is an outsider of sorts one of the tenants who rises to power This is not a fun filled romp of a story Quite the opposite, it is often dark in tone with its concentration on the foibles of the family members Told in first person, Howatch gives insight into their motivations, actions and behaviors These are flawed characters whose actions will have consequences It s easy to dislike many of them, and surely that is part of the attraction There are simply some characters you love to hate, though you might question your reactions and need to reassess those reactions as the story unfolds.Despite the sometimes heavy tone, Cashelmara is an entertaining read in its way Having such varied narrators makes for interesting going, though it s perhaps a little uneven in the starts and stops A small quibble however I ve already picked up a few of Howatch s other blockbusters and may pull one out closer to summer when a nice idle sunny afternoon sitting on the porch reading is in the offing. 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 , 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 bothered to include on page plot incident instead of relating everything second hand teasing the reader with periodic mantras like Had I but known, I might have done things differently Because I really don t GAF about guessing which character is a thinly veiled recreation of which historical personage when the character voices are boring as batshit all I can think is helloooo, you re a pompous, entitled blowhard GTFO And if I had to read one time about what a masculine fail Patrick was or how Edward resented his advanced age, I might ve put an axe through this brick It s a shame, really, because the prose is nice But a good grasp of English isn t enough for yours truly Sorry Standard 2 star DNF. 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 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 and 2 sons, Thomas and David Thomas, Earl of Norfolk and Edmund, Earl of Kent Edward has children from his first marriage who are of an age or older than his wife, causing family problems Madelaine Mary of Woodstock is a nun, Katharine Joan of Acre is desperate for her father s approval and has married his contemporary to please him Nell Eleanor, Countess of Bar , his favourite child, has already died, which leaves him lonely and partly leads to his remarriage Finally, Patrick Edward II is his only surviving son Edward and his wife were as unfortunate in child mortality as Edward I and Eleanor of Castile were in fact Patrick is a great disappointment to Edward as he has artisanal instincts rather than those of a gentleman Patrick is made well aware of his deficiencies and rebels by running away He has a boon companion from among the Irish peasantry, Roderick Derry Stranahan Piers Gaveston , a boy that Edward had decided showed promise and was educating as an experiment, intending that he should study law Derry and Patrick are inseparable.Edward dies and Patrick inherits Despite an uneasy feeling Marguerite encourages him to marry her niece, Sarah Marriott Isablla of France, known as the She Wolf Patrick is hopelessly poor at managing his estates and Sarah is as spendthrift as he is and also jealous of Derry Stranahan The money is lost at cards and in spending and they are forced to retire to Cashelmara to live quietly Derry interferes in the running of the estate to the ire of Old McGowan Hugh le Despenser the Elder and causes problems with the local peasants, with unfortunate results Meanwhile Sarah meets Maxwell Drummond Roger Mortimer , a local peasant and becomes fixated on him.Events remove Derry from the picture and Ian McGowan Hugh le Despenser enters stage left Patrick is enchanted and hands over complete control of everything to him Including Sarah Hugh marries Edith Eleanor de Clare , a plump and rather unpleasant relative of Patrick s and they form an axis of evil, controlling Patrick who is delighted and Sarah who is very much not During this time Patrick and Sarah have managed to reproduce, against both their inclinations, 4 children Ned, John, Eleanor and Jane Edward III, John of Eltham, Eleanor, Countess of Guelders and Joan, Queen of Scots.Events propel Sarah and Maxwell Drummond together and the battle for control beginsThis is brilliantly written as a Gothic mystery and I have endeavored to keep spoilers at bay The POV changes from Edward to Marguerite, to Patrick, to Sarah, to Maxwell Drummond and finally to Ned There are moments of icy cold suspense as the story builds It s always a bit jarring when a book moves from one POV to another but it takes almost no time to readjust into the new consciousness we are hearing from.All in all, an excellent book which can be read as a straight Gothic mystery but it is so much when you are following the back story along as you read Read this in the 70s when it was first published LOVED it then. 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 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 different characters Older Edward de Salis visits his distant cousins the Marriotts in New York and brings a much younger Marguerite home as his bride Despite the great difference in their ages, the two are well matched and soon have children of their own to add to Edward s brood from his first marriage When Edward s eldest son Patrick inherits the de Salis lands and fortune, he marries Marguerite s niece Sarah and upon their return from New York they live in London until their lavish lifestyle and Patrick s gambling brings it to a screeching halt Forced to economize, Sarah and Patrick start life fresh at Cashelmara but Edward comes under the influence of childhood friend Derry Stranahan Derry s unnatural hold over Patrick continues to grow and leads to clashes in his marriage and with his Irish tenants until Derry s fate is sealed during an Irish riot Eventually Sarah finds her hopes to repair the marriage and run a profitable estate are hindered once again by Patrick s too close relationship with another man Hugh McGowan Sarah soon finds herself an unwilling member of a triangle that for the sake of her children she endures untilwell you know I don t tell all Howatch takes the reader on quite ride in this one as Sarah s desperate situation forces her to make an unwise alliance of her own until she can return although that return sets in place another set of circumstances leading to a death by natural causes or is there something going on here If this is sounding a bit like you ve heard this story before, you re probably right Howatch based her characters on the lives of England s first three Edwards and that s really half the fun of reading this novel Can you spot Piers Gaveston Hugh Despenser Isabella and her lover Mortimer All in all a near perfect read, the scenes between Patrick, Sarah and Hugh were downright bone chilling, let alone the effects of the famine on the Irish tenants Darn near unputdownable, although the last hundred or so pages did slow down just a tad, and the ending it self just a bit too abrupt although at 700 pages enough was probably enough 4.5 5 stars and the story of the third Edward continues in Wheel of Fortune but with entirely different characters. 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.