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Topic: Anyone read Susan Howatch?

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Subject: Anyone read Susan Howatch?
Date Posted: 12/11/2009 9:21 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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Forgive me if there's an old thread on this, the PBS site bogs down on me sometimes and I can't sit and browse forever.

Howatch has written three novels - all separate stories/characters - but the fun thing is she parallels the Plantagenets in those books. In Penmarric (set in late 19C Cornwall) it's Henry II, Eleanor and their devil's brood. In Cashelmara (set in 19C Ireland) and the story parallels Edward I, Edward II (ooh there's some scary moments) and the early days of Edward III. I haven't read Wheel of Fortune yet but my understanding is that this story set in early 20C Wales parallels Edward III, Henry Bolingbrook and I think R2.

She breaks her books down into sections that tell the story from different first person POV's and it's actually quite effective. I understand in Wheel that one section is her own "John of Gaunt" and his Katherine.

Date Posted: 12/11/2009 9:33 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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Whadaya mean, you can browse here forever! Why not?

;-)

I read Penmarric and loved it. I have Cashelmara and one of these days I'll get to it.

I too enjoyed the very obvious re-telling of Henry and Eleanor without actually depicting those characters. It was well-done.

Date Posted: 12/12/2009 6:09 AM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,393
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I've read and thoroughly enjoyed all three of these novels, but my favorite of the three is definitely  Wheel of Fortune.  In addition to the wonderful portrayals of John of Gaunt and Katherine, other great characterizations include Joan of Kent who married the Black Prince and  Alice Perrers, Edward III's pushy mistress.  A great, totally entertaining novel!  

 

Linda

Date Posted: 12/12/2009 7:10 AM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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Genie, what are you waiting for? My my how she handles the Piers Gaveston/Hugh Despenser relationships.

Kelly, I really must get to Wheel. The library holds always seem to get out of control just when I'm starting to think about it.

Date Posted: 12/12/2009 10:21 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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Seriously, Cathy. I'm a slacker. What can I say?

Date Posted: 12/12/2009 1:42 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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**cracks whip**

Time to pick up the slack already Genie :)

Howatch also wrote a series on The Church of England. I believe she parallels ancient Rome and the Ceasars but I could be wrong. That one doesn't interest me. She's also written some romantic suspense that I'd like to try one of these days.

Date Posted: 12/12/2009 2:21 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Well you peaked my intrest and I just ordered them. Oy!

Date Posted: 12/12/2009 2:42 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2009
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I read Cashelmara and Penmarric some years ago but never realized the parallels to Plantagenet history. I'm with Jerelyn.  My interest is peaked as well.   I think it's time for a re-read with new eyes. 

Date Posted: 12/12/2009 3:06 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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I really need to get started on these books! The whole series sounds so good! I know I have at least 3 of them, but I don't know the order of them. I'm going to find that and post it in case anyone else is wondering.

Date Posted: 12/12/2009 3:13 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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Penmarric (1971), a family saga set in Cornwall, which utilizes the ‘double’ technique she has used elsewhere, particularly in her historical fiction, relocating the story of Henry II to a different time and place.

Cashelmara (1974), similarly, incorporates two different historical periods;

The Sins of the Fathers (1980) tells the story of Julia, daughter of the Emperor Augustus, but sets it in the contemporary world.

 

Church of England series-

Glittering Images (1987) was the first in a series of novels devoted to the influence of individual talents and powerful personalities on the Church of England, using the same double technique. The novel, which was loosely based on the life of Bishop Herbert Hensley Henson, was followed by several others, including

Glamorous Powers (1988), which refers to the writings of Dean Inge;

Ultimate Prizes (1989), based on Charles Raven's religious thought; and

Scandalous Risks (1990), which deals with the repercussions in the Church of Dr John Robinson's book,

Honest to God. Mystical Paths (1992) and Absolute Truths (1994) complete the series. She has also conceived, selected, and introduced The Library of Anglican Spirituality (1994), eight reissues of classic theological texts.



I just realzied that I have read some Howatch books. I read two of the books in the St. Benet trilogy, but I don't remember much about them.

The Chruch of England series sounds awfully good too. Has anyone read them?



Date Posted: 12/12/2009 3:17 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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Uh oh, I've started something :p

The Plantagenet twist is sooo much fun. I loved spotting the Stephen/Matilda conflict in Penmarric, as well as *John* and the death of *Arthur*, *Constance & Geoffrey* and *Richard's* alledged homosexuality.

These can be read in any order. The stories and characters do not cross over to the next book.

Date Posted: 12/18/2009 4:41 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Cathy,

I ordered Penmarric, Cashelmara, and Wheel of Fortune,  from different people and they all came today.  That has never happened to me, it's a Christmas miracle,  I think that I'll have to arrange my challenge lists. 

Date Posted: 12/18/2009 5:18 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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Jerelyn, happy Christmas reading. What's a girl to do? Any one of them should qualify if you're in a chunkster challenge.