Penmarric by Susan Howatch – Book Review

When Mark Castallack sees his longed-for inheritance Penmarric, a gothic mansion on the bleak cliffs of Cornwall, and the mysterious, mesmerizing Janna, he knows that he will make them his and nothing will stand in his way. Yet when Mark realizes his dreams, Penmarric brings only conflict, jealousy, infidelity, and betrayal…

Spanning the Victorian era to the Second World War, this gripping story of one man and his two feuding families chronicles the tempestuous clashes between warring sons, wives, and mistresses, and between a house divided against itself.

About the Author

Susan Howatch was born in Surrey. After taking a degree in law, she emigrated to America where she married, had a daughter, and embarked on a career as a writer. When she eventually left the states, she lived in the republic of Ireland for four years before returning to England. She spent time in Salisbury – the inspiration for her Starbridge sequence of novels – and now lives in the City of London.


The book was a hefty 706 pages with a story that spanned 3 generations. There were times when I questioned my resolve to continue, but I powered through it and made it to the very end. It was a good one, sinking you into the Victorian era right on through to the Second World War.

As promised, there were warring sons, wives, and mistresses and at the epitome of it all, a house divided against itself. Howatch had her work cut out for her, but she did it.

Recommendation and Rating

A definite must-read for anyone craving a modern piece with the romantic feel of a period piece.

Rating : 4 Stars


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