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Penmarric [Kindle Edition]

Susan Howatch
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Among Mark Castallack’s sons are men who want him dead—and this hardly promotes family harmony

Mark Castallack may have the woman of his dreams, a large fortune, and Penmarric, a Victorian mock-castle on the cliffs of Cornwall, but his private life is heading for disaster. His marriage fails, and when he takes a mistress he winds up with two families who hate each other. As the twentieth century unfolds, his children are left struggling to save not only Penmarric but themselves, and their struggles are marked by greed, ambition, and murder. Howatch’s magnificent novel was her first international bestseller and is as compelling as Daphne du Maurier’s classic Rebecca.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Susan Howatch including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.

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Editorial Reviews


“Grippingly readable.” —The Sunday Times

“Larger than life . . . a fascinating saga . . . it has all the right dramatic and romantic ingredients.” —Woman's Journal

About the Author

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 returned to live in Surrey. 

Product Details

  • File Size: 1892 KB
  • Print Length: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media (October 9, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009DA5FXU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,917 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Epic. March 5, 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Wow! What an engrossing novel to read! This was the first Susan Howatch novel I've read, but it certainly won't be the last. The scope and cast of characters is simply huge, and yet is handled in a manner that you're never confused as to what is happening. The way that the author changes narrators five times during the course of the book is fabulous! Just as fabulous is the way that the plot and characters mimic true English history during the 12th to 13th centuries, with some tinkering and creative license, of course! Mark mimics Henry II, Janna mimics Eleanor of Acquitaine, Philip mimics Richard the Lionheart, ect. Overall, the story is a very human struggle where nothing is black and white, life isn't always fair, and the past mistakes of others can have massive ramifications on future generations. This is not the type of novel that can be read in a single sitting, but if you're looking for a passionate and intelligent story that will make you think, I highly recommend Penmarric.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars worth many re-reads December 2, 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Penmarric was the third Howatch novel I read, and the one that got me hooked on her. The first was "Sins of the Fathers", which I liked very much and so, a few years later, I read its prequel, the Rich are Different, which I also enjoyed. But it was only after coming across Penmarric - completely by accident - that I woke up and took notice. Since reading this book I have gone on to read every single one of her following novels - thirteen in all, in succession!
From the first page I was engrossed in the characters. The story begins with Mark, a rather dour man, who falls in love with Janna, a woman several years his senior. These are the two central figures of the novel, which later moves on to the next generation. Howatch proves herself to be a master storyteller with the ability to get under the skin of her characters in such a way that the reader can identify with them completely - a very rare talent. Her multi-character first-person structure enables us to see the unfolding story through the eyes of five characters in turn, and it is quite amazing how a character whom one has disliked when he or she was seen through the eyes of previous narrator suddenly takes on completely new dimensions when he/she comes on central stage. I know of no writer who does this as well as Howatch.
The story is set in Cornwall and begins in 1890 and goes on to span the intervening years till WWII. It is a rich and multifaceted novel, well worth reading many times to discover all its layers, and a great novel for a group discussion. (...)
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb! Started me on a lifetime of Anglophilia November 23, 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I also read this first when I was a young teenager and was deeply moved and involved. I went on to read her other novels thru the mid-80s, until she changed styles and settings dramatically. This year, after 5 other trips to England, I finally traveled to the actual places in Cornwall that she fictionalized in her brilliant and engaging writing. I purchased a new copy of Penmarric at a small bookshop in St Ives, and took a very sentimental tour of the Cornish landscape - windswept cemeteries, old churchyards and sprawling mansions that I first visited as a child through her eyes. It was haunting, thrilling and quite sentimental to finally be there on my 40th birthday. This book is superb, enjoy it!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I must have read this five or six times! December 6, 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a book that I bought years ago when I was looking for something trashy and escapist. I think it was the cover art on the edition I bought that led me to believe it would be a typical historical bodice ripper, or something of that sort.

Instead, it was a book I kept going back to again and again because of the character development, the writing and the plot. I really connected with the characters and the story.

The author separates the book into sections, changes viewpoints from one character to the next, and explores things like "Virtue" and "Justice" through the eyes of whichever character is focused on that issue. Throughout the book, though, the main character is clearly Janna, the family matriarch, and each of the characters rotates around her and her life over the course of decades.

The switch in character viewpoint is not distracting at all, in fact, it increased my sympathy for everyone in the book. I had my favorite (the neglected and unloved child Jan-Yves - the one focused on "justice" - who grew up to be funny and delightful), while other people I know who read the book had theirs.

It's an easy enough read to work well on the beach, but it isn't a throw-away book at all. And it certainly isn't trashy. It's absorbing throughout, and I highly recommend it.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Character Study November 29, 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Both Pennmaric and The Wheel of Fortune are unique in the way Ms. Howatch creates a novel to mirror history. In this case King Henry (Mark), Queen Eleanor (Janna), Richard (Philip) and John Lackland (Jan-Yves) to name just the major characters. However, this technique does not distract from the great story-telling. I truly recommend this book and all of Ms. Howatch's writings.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable and groundbreaking May 14, 2005
By naenti
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was Howatch's first major novel and despite similar titles that she wrote later - cashelmara and wheel of fortune etc - it still remains her best. Fans of Howatch will know that her trademark is the first-person narrator as well as having several different characters narrate in a book. Her gift as a storyteller lies in the reader identifying with each narrator. Just as you feel disappointed that one character's narration has ended, you find that the next character's narration is just as good. Basically you can identify with several disparate characters with various motivations. Another trademark is the parallels between the lives of her characters and famous historical personages - specifically British royalty. To those who have yet to discover Susan Howatch - I envy you!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A deep and complex family saga. Well written .
Published 26 days ago by Linda Spencer
3.0 out of 5 stars I liked this more than the number of stars but not enough to raise the...
I wanted to give this more stars but i found a couple of things that bothered me. First, I found the historical references confusing in relationship to the actual story. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed reading this saga
Enjoyed reading this saga. I like books with well defined characters, many different plots going on and Susan Howatch is one of my favorite authors.
Published 1 month ago by Diane Stetson
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all-time favorites
This is a great book - I'm so glad it's finally on Kindle. The author takes romantic fiction and wraps it around the historical events in the lives of the Plantagenet families,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Paige Parker
5.0 out of 5 stars We recycle
Susan Howatch should be required reading for all authors attempting to write a family saga. This is how it's done. Read more
Published 2 months ago by ReasonableGoatPerson
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning read
I first read this book when I was 14 and loved it. I loved the style of writing and the fabulous family saga. Brilliant! Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kaye Stichbury
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written
This is a good long book with plenty of characters to be interested in. The writing is good--no irritation over poorly constructed sentences to distract from the content. Read more
Published 6 months ago by clinthic in CA
5.0 out of 5 stars Howatch is a favorite
I absolutely loved Penmarric. Howatch is one of my favorite authors. I think it is clever how she uses each character to tell the story. Read more
Published 7 months ago by J. Schmid
5.0 out of 5 stars What a story
It was such a good story twist and turns that I could not stop reading it, if you like a very down to earth story
this is the one for you .
Published 7 months ago by janet pugh
4.0 out of 5 stars Second best to wheel of fortune
Lengthy and wordy like all of her books. All of her work is enjoyable, and this one will not disappoint.
Published 10 months ago by Renee L. Cerro
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