For fans of Poldark and lovers of Cornwall everywhere, comes The Owls’ House, Crosbie Garstin’s 1923 classic adventure novel and the first book in the Penhale trilogy.
West Cornwall, 1752
John Penhale has been served an ultimatum in the will of his Aunt Selina: “Marry within the year or lose your inheritance.”
Fighting off an attack by a highwayman as he returns to his farm near Lamorna, he is followed home by Teresa — a gypsy girl who changes his life forever. First published in 1923, The Owls’ House follows the fortunes of John and Teresa Penhale and their two children Ortho and Eli — exploits that turn a family saga into a rip-roaring adventure sweeping across Cornwall, Morocco and the high seas.
The Owls’ House is the first book in the legendary Penhale trilogy and available to buy worldwide in this new edited and revised edition.
Introduction by the publisher
I’ve dedicated a huge amount of time (and pleasure) to edit and republish new editions of the books, in order to bring Crosbie Garstin to a new audience.
After much soul-searching on whether to publish the novels in their original format or to revise them for a 21st century audience, I took the latter route and hope that I have made the right decision.
I have laid a light touch over these works in the editing process: using an early edition of the texts, I have corrected mistakes and place-names, adapted hyphenation and spellings to make it an easier read (to-day becomes today, etc.) and brought consistency to the style and format of the three novels. Finally, without changing context, I purged the books of outdated words that when written were considered normal in a country that still had its grip on an empire. The gripping drama, the romance, the language and the exploits of the Penhale family remain unchanged.
If you love the Poldark books, you'll love Penhale!
A short profile of Crosbie Garstin
Crosbie Garstin (1887-1930) was the eldest child of Norman Garstin, an Irishman who settled in Penzance and became one of the leading lights of the Newlyn School of Art.
Crosbie Garstin’s short life was as dramatic as any. Following education in Penzance, Cheltenham and Bedford, he travelled to the United States and Canada where he worked as a horse breaker on ranches, in threshing gangs, as a sawyer in lumber camps and as a Pacific coast miner. Subsequently, he travelled to Africa where he became manager of a cattle ranch.
At the start of World War I he returned to Cornwall and enlisted as a trooper in the 1st King Edward’s Horse regiment. Commissioned in the field, he also served as an intelligence officer in Ireland following the 1916 Easter Rising before returning to the Western Front.
Whilst at the front, his poetry that had previously been published in Punch and other magazines was issued as Vagabond Verses, followed by The Mud Larks, a series of sketches from the front for Punch magazine. He then embarked on a short, but prolific literary career that included the three Ortho Penhale books — The Owls’ House, High Noon and The West Wind — as well as further novels, poetry and travel writing (The Sunshine Settlers, The Coasts of Romance, and The Dragon and the Lotus). Crosbie Garstin lived at Lamorna in west Cornwall.
His final novel, China Seas, was made into a Hollywood movie starring Clark Gable in 1935, but Garstin didn’t live to see his work on screen. Following an early morning boating accident off Salcombe, Devon in April 1930, Crosbie Garstin disappeared, presumed drowned, although no body was ever found.