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Cashelmara Paperback – October 7, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 250 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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The rich and mighty saga of a wealthy and titled English family in Ireland during the 19th century. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

Grippingly readable Sunday Times Larger than life... a fascinating saga... it has all the right dramatic and romantic ingredients Woman's Journal A mesmerising storyteller Daily Telegraph Truly unputdownable The Times
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (October 7, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751535354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751535358
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.3 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (250 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #572,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jana L.Perskie HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 7, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Susan Howatch has written a gripping multigenerational tale of a titled English family who live on their Irish estate, Cashelmara, during the 19th century. This family saga is interwoven with Irish and English politics of the period, self-rule, the Great Famine, emigration, etc.. The years after the Irish famine were marked with issues like the land question and the struggle for independence. Tenants started to demand more security of land tenure. At the same time, landlords were eager to remove paupers from their land to reduce their poor law charges. The landlord/tenant divide was exacerbated by this conflict. The drama of Cashelmara takes place against this explosive backdrop.
Edward de Salis, an English nobleman with vast landholdings in Ireland and England travels to America and visits the Marriot family, distant relations in New York City. De Salis, a man in his fifties, has been a widower for eight years and has a young son, Patrick, and three older daughters, all married or living away from home. He returns to England with plans to marry seventeen year-old Marguerite Marriot, to his family's great consternation. Marguerite and Edward are married at the family estate, Cashelmara. Oddly enough the marriage turns out to be a love match. Times become difficult when Edward dies and finances become tight. Cashelmara and the situation in Ireland begin to weigh heavily on the family with unexpected results. This historical novel is filled with romance, intrigue, social and political unrest and family drama.
Ms. Howatch is able to vividly describe the same situation through the eyes of various characters. These differing points of view give tremendous depth to her characters and interesting insight into their personalities and ulterior motives.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
'Cashelmara' is Susan Howatch's re-telling of the story of Edward II, King of England 1307-1327, updated to nineteenth-century Ireland. If you're not at all interested in Edward II, or know nothing about him, it's absolutely no problem - you can thoroughly enjoy this novel anyway. However, working out who each character represents historically - for example, Derry Stranahan is 'really' Edward II's favourite Piers Gaveston, while Maxwell Drummond stands for Queen Isabella's lover Roger Mortimer - was a big part of my enjoyment of the novel!

'Cashelmara' is divided into six sections. Each section is narrated in the first person, by a different character. I love this structure, as you really get into the heads of the different characters, and see how they think and see themselves and others. Howatch has complete command of her structure and pulls it off wonderfully.

If you know anything about fourteenth-century English history, you'll see how accurate a re-telling it is. If not, you're sure to enjoy a well-told and fascinating novel that's full of emotional ups and downs. I agree with a previous reviewer who called it emotionally draining! 'Cashelmara' is a highly rewarding read.
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This is the kind of book I love--- involved, lots of interesting charactors, a story that is believable and makes one want to keep reading. The middle of the book gets into a subject that was not mentioned much in other books I have read that were written in the mid 70's, and I was surprised when the plot took that turn, although the hints were there from the first. I just wasn't expecting the story to get so specific. I had my favorite charactors, then they would turn out to be not what I had thought-- the whole book was one I kept looking forward to going back to.

When I finished it, I was almost drained with emotion. That sure doesn't happen to me very often. I loved it.
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Rave rave rave. You'll never tire of this complex and revealing novel, and once you read it, it will occur to you at odd moments forever.
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I happened across this book in 1997 in the library. I was amazed by the writing style and the grittiness of some of the subject matter WITHOUT modern pulp fiction-style explicitness. The story revealed much of the conditions of 19th century Ireland which was of historical interest, but was not the main point of the book. When I finished the book I remember setting it down and feeling amazed. I began reading all of Ms. Howatch's works. As of this date, I have read 10 of her novels. I recommend them to all.
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This and every one of Susan Howatch's novels are well worth the time put into them. They're literate, challenging and dare to explore questions of faith, love, family and loyalty. And while her "potboiler" novels are excellent, DON'T be put off by the 6-volume Church of England series. The characters are engaging and the questions and answers they discover during the traumatic events of their lives and the eventual renewal of their souls took me to philosophical places I'd never been before and forced me to often consider the same issues the characters themselves grappled with. That's what's wrong with people today - they're intellectually lazy and don't want to deal with issues of faith, belief, and the renewing powers of love. However, Ms. Howatch does so with a style and flair and gift with the written word that I can only sit back, read and envy and admire. More! More!
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