Cashelmara Author:Susan Howatch 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 ... more »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. The events they are involved in become more complex when all the versions are compiled. Cashelmara's plot unfolds through the individual stories of five people. The author's research and attention to detail are meticulous and give the reader insight into the hardships and difficulties of 19th century Ireland. Cashelmara is an example of excellent historical fiction.« less