West Cornwall: 1752. The Penhale Trilogy: Book One
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.
New revised and edited edition.
Period comments about The Owls’ House
“I will content myself with saying—read the book: you will not be disappointed”
The Saturday Review, 1924
“Mr Crosbie Garstin, still hot in the pursuit of adventure, has given of his best in this stirring 18th century romance”
Aberdeen Journal, 1924
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The Owls’ House is currently not available to purchase in the United States.
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 Crosbie 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.