|The original hardcover image from 1971. |
Sadly my copy was missing the dustjacket.
“I was ten years old when I first saw Penmarric and twenty years old when I first saw Janna Roslyn, but my reaction to both was identical.”
One of the big fat books I meant to read this summer was Penmarric, an epic family saga set in Cornwall. Between Daphne du Maurier and the Poldark series (not to mention Doc Martin) I've developed a small fascination with Cornwall, though I've never actually visited. I do love a good multi-generational saga and the setting absolutely sold it for me. I was at The Strand bookstore in New York a couple of years ago and picked up a vintage hardcover for about $7. My edition was more than 700 pages but I had no trouble finishing it in less than a week.
|A 1980s mass-market reprint|
Janna Roslyn is ten years his senior and has her own slightly checkered history, but Mark becomes obsessed with her, eventually winning her as his bride. The narrator changes for the second section of the book and we get Janna's POV.
So we learn Janna's history and it moves on to the next generation of the Castellack heirs to Penmarric. The book spans about fifty years, ending just before World War II, with five different narrators, and includes four generations of the extended family. It's definitely not literature, but nonetheless I enjoyed it. It reminded me very much of the historical family sagas I read when I was a teenager, like Evergreen by Belva Plain and The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough, though both of those were published a bit later, in the late 1970s.
|Paperback copy of a French-language edition from1972. |
Nice image, but it doesn't quite capture the same feeling as the other covers.