CBR15 Bingo – Relation”ships”: The many overlapping relationships between the Castallacks and Roslyns, both familial and romantic, drive much of the action of the book forward.
When Mark Castallack takes gloomy Penmarric as his home and Janna Roslyn as his wife, he sets a massive family drama into motion.
This is one of those sprawling family sagas in which there are a lot of beautiful, dramatic, maladjusted people. The fun of Penmarric though is that it’s also a transposition of the story of Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and their children to the smaller scale setting of the Cornish coast.
This is a pretty long book, but it kept me engrossed throughout. By dividing the book up into five sections narrated in turn by a different member of the family, it allows us to peek into different factions that formed within the family and adds much more depth to the conflicts that they engage in. Despite the large cast, every character has a distinct personality, and it was fun to try and match them and their fates to their medieval counterparts.
I did however find some of the later sections in the book rather dull. In particular Jan-Yves’s back and forth with Rebecca bored me to tears, which was unfortunate because he had been one of the characters I most liked in earlier part of the story. Also, with the sheer number of children that Mark has, some family members unfortunately end up lost in the shuffle. I would have liked to see more of the girls – Mariana, Jeanne, and Elizabeth – for example.