Friday, February 3, 2017

The Shell Seekers - Rosamunde Pilcher

Summary: Set in London and Cornwall from World War II to the present, Rosamunde Pilcher tells the story of the Keeling family, and of the passions and heartbreak that have held them together for three generations. The family centers around Penelope, and it is her love, courage, and sense of values that determine the course of all their lives, 

One of Penelope's most treasured possessions is The Shell Seekers, which her father painted and left her as a remembrance and a legacy. It is this painting that symbolizes to Penelope the ties between the generations. It is the link between the past, the present, and the future. But it is the fate of this painting that just may tear the family apart....

Rosamunde Pilcher's writing demonstrates a deep sensitivity to human frailties, desires, and joys. She weaves a story that bursts with emotion, so involving it is impossible to put down. The world she creates and opens up to you becomes a place you feel comfortable, a place you can't wait to return to, a place you will never forget. (Summary and pic from goodreads.com)

My Review: I have to admit that I almost didn’t give book a fair shake. For my book club’s December book club we not only all brought our favorite treats to share, but we also brought a book that we loved that we were wanted to share with someone else. These books were wrapped in brown paper (or a paper bag) and had three sentences describing them on the front. All the books were put on a table and we drew numbers to see what order we would pick in. Who the books were from was supposed to be anonymous, but that ended quickly as we were all laughing and guessing who would describe a book in a certain way. I was second to last in choosing, and this book was one of the last ones available. It was brought by the oldest member of our book club. This woman is in her seventies and we LOVE her. She is so amazing. She’s funny, she always brings a basket of little gifts that are funny and personal and go with the book, and she always tells slightly inappropriate stories, which is hilarious. The books she chooses when she hosts (or has a friend choose for her) are almost always cute and short JFic books. She’s picked some good ones—don’t get me wrong—but I wasn’t sure what she would choose when she came to book club. Anyway, to make a long story short, I opened the book and was surprised it was a long novel, but I knew I had to read it anyway because we were all presenting our different books at the next book club. Ya’ll, I couldn’t have been more surprised.

Call me naïve, but the author, Rosamunde Pilcher, was not on my radar. However, after I did a little research I can see that in the late eighties and into the nineties she was a fairly prolific and popular author. She has a lot of books that have gotten really good reviews on Goodreads, and The Shell Seekers appears to be her best-selling and highest rated book. She even has a book out now that was re-released called Winter Solstice. I plan on checking this one out as well.

I loved The Shell Seekers. Like I said, I wasn’t sure what to expect and so when I started reading, I was happily surprised. For one thing, I like the way this book was organized. Each chapter is named after a different character in the book, and although it isn’t written in first person perspective, the reader learns about the character, and I found it really enlightening and a really cool and unique way to write. This doesn’t mean the book skips around annoyingly. Sometimes that happens with books that skip around in perspective. Each chapter would continue the story but then the reader would learn more about the character from the chapter name. That being said, the writing was good. Pilcher is a prolific and obviously well-seasoned author and it shows. It’s one of those books where you read along and you’re enjoying it and you’re thinking about how you’re enjoying it and wishing that it wouldn’t end.

The strength of this book, and the reason why so many people have loved this book, no doubt, is that it is about relationships—family, friends, acquaintances, etc. It was just a really rich and rewarding discussion on a human life and who we meet and interact with and what it means to be a good person. Pilcher obviously has her favorite characters, and they received more positive discussion than ones she didn’t like so much, but that was okay. I think that’s realistic to life as well. It’s just a really beautiful, really well-written story about an exemplary woman’s life. It’s about those she meets, those she touches, and is a detailed and enlightening discussion on family relationships. I feel like I learned a lot from this book. I loved the story, and I loved Pilcher’s insights as well. I highly recommend this book. It’s long, but it would be awesome for a book club. I’ve recommended it to several women in my book club already.

My Rating: 5 Stars

For the sensitive reader: This book is clean.

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