Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Susan Howatch

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 9581
Joined: August 2008
Location: Seattle, WA

Susan Howatch

Post by Misfit » Sat January 24th, 2009, 1:37 pm

Anyone familiar with this author? I have Penmarric out from the library and hope to start it today. What's surprising me is all I was expecting was a big fat family saga starting in late 19C Corwall (nothing wrong with that :o ), but I've read some comments from readers at goodreads that apparently Howatch kind of retells the story of Henry II, Eleanor and their brood of children through that characters in this story. I'm intrigued, although it's apparently multiple POV's which PG and others have made me not so fond of lately.

**Edited** I've just come back from reading reviews of another of her books called Wheel of Fortune. It appears she uses this retelling of English history through other's lives in her other books as well. I'm quoting below from a couple of Amazon reviews.
Cashelmara is based on the story of Edward I, Edward II, and Edward III, ending as Edward III overthrows his mother's lover and claims the throne as his own. The Wheel of Fortune picks up the same story about half way through Edward III's life (he is now Bobby Godwin), and follows the story through the life of his sons Edward The Black Prince (Robert), John (John of Gaunt) and Thomas (Thomas of Woodstock), his grandsons Kester (Richard II) and Harry (Henry IV), and his great grandson Henry V (Hal).
On the last inside page, S. H. says in Author's notes "The Wheel of Fortune is a re-creation in a modern dimension in which the following people play leading parts:

Edward of Woodstock, 1330-1376, The Black Prince
His wife and cousin, Joan of Kent
John of Gaunt, his brother
His younger son, later King Richard 11
John of Gaunt's legitimate son Henry of Bolingbroke, later King Henry 1V who restored England to her former military glory and completed the full circle of the Plantagenet family's wheel of fortune.
Will definitely have to get that one, just to see how she does with John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford!
Last edited by Misfit on Sat January 24th, 2009, 1:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
boswellbaxter
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3066
Joined: August 2008
Location: North Carolina
Contact:

Post by boswellbaxter » Sat January 24th, 2009, 1:47 pm

I have Cashelamara, which tells the story of Edward II and Isabella set in 19th-century Britain. Edward II is (if I recall correctly) an Anglo-Irish landowner and Isabella is his American bride. Guns and poisoning take the place of executions and red-hot pokers. It's well done, and it's fun picking out the parallels between the modern day characters and their medieval counterparts.
Susan Higginbotham
Coming in October: The Woodvilles


http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/
http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/blog/

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 9581
Joined: August 2008
Location: Seattle, WA

Post by Misfit » Sat January 24th, 2009, 1:53 pm

Great, why do I see my reading applecart getting totally upset again? :p :D :)

User avatar
Ludmilla
Bibliophile
Posts: 1346
Joined: September 2008
Location: Georgia USA

Post by Ludmilla » Sat January 24th, 2009, 3:59 pm

She was one of my favorite authors as a teen. I remember loving Penmarric and Cashelmara. She might of been one of the first authors I noticed using epigraphs to open her chapters, and I remember loving the historical parallels.

She also wrote some gothic/romantic suspense novels. I think I discovered her when I had read everything written up to that time (early 80s) by Victoria Holt. I haven't read anything by her in over twenty years, though.

User avatar
Julianne Douglas
Avid Reader
Posts: 429
Joined: August 2008
Location: Northern California

Post by Julianne Douglas » Sun January 25th, 2009, 5:46 am

I really enjoyed Howatch's trilogy about the Church of England that begins with GLITTERING IMAGES, set in the 1930's.
Julianne Douglas

Writing the Renaissance

User avatar
Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 2440
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Post by Margaret » Sun January 25th, 2009, 6:04 am

The Glittering Images trilogy was exceptional! Once I read the first one, I had to read the others. Parts of them are still quite vivid in my memory.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

User avatar
Julianne Douglas
Avid Reader
Posts: 429
Joined: August 2008
Location: Northern California

Post by Julianne Douglas » Sun January 25th, 2009, 6:22 am

I just loved them! The author does a great job of exploring the theological issues that divided the Anglican Church at the time in a dramatic and thought-provoking way. I like books that have a theological angle. These books do, but they are not "inspirational" or preachy in any sense of the word. They examine how moral choices affect the character's lives and careers and society as a whole.
Julianne Douglas

Writing the Renaissance

User avatar
Aneca
Scribbler
Posts: 35
Joined: August 2008
Location: Portugal

Post by Aneca » Sun January 25th, 2009, 10:18 am

I have The Wheel of Fortune in the TBR pile. I see I may have to add a couple more to the wish list...

Looking forward to your review Misfit! :)

User avatar
Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 4233
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favourite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Post by Vanessa » Sun January 25th, 2009, 11:25 am

I've mentioned on another thread that I didn't know these books were based on the Plantagenets.

Another book I've read by this author is The Rich are Different - I really enjoyed this one too. The most memorable part in the book was when the main character had herself delivered as a birthday present in a box - at her destination she jumped out. It has stayed in my mind for some reason. :)
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 9581
Joined: August 2008
Location: Seattle, WA

Post by Misfit » Sun January 25th, 2009, 1:05 pm

[quote=""boswellbaxter""]It's well done, and it's fun picking out the parallels between the modern day characters and their medieval counterparts.[/quote]

I am just loving Penmarric and BB is right about picking out the counterparts - just don't spend too much time thinking - it takes you away from the story. Loved the set up on Mark (Henry II) at the beginning. His mother, Maud (older daughter, her younger brother drowned in a sailing accident!), who had her inheritance stolen from under her and waged a 12 year legal battle fighting to get it back. Sound kind of familiar?

Would the Glittering Images series appeal to someone who doesn't know much about the Anglican Church and it's politics? Or is it a good "history lesson"?

Post Reply

Return to “By Author”