➵ [Reading] ➷ The Shell Seekers By Rosamunde Pilcher ➪ – Uroturk.info
The most ordinary of prospects caused her to stop and stare The last of the leaves dropped from the trees, and the bare branches made lace against pale skies Sun after rain turned cobbled streets blue as fish scales, dazzling to the eye Autumn winds, whipping the bay to a scud of white caps, brought with them, not cold, but a surging sense of vitality Penelope Keeling knows how to live life to the fullest and I absolutely adore her She grasps those things that matter most in life the comfort of a home, the security of a loving mother, the laughter of friends and family, the feel of soil and the beauty of the outdoors, the enticing smells of home cooked meals, and the allure of a splendid painting When I come across a character in one of my books that touches me and makes me want to re examine my own life, then I know I have found a gem.Of course, we re all familiar with the phrase don t judge a book by its cover Unfortunately, I have been guilty of that offense in the past and no less so with this book I have seen Rosamunde Pilcher s novels in bookstores and libraries and have admittedly walked right on by due to their overly feminine and botanic covers I didn t think they were my sort of book However, I decided to give this one a try when I discovered some trusted Goodreads friends were reading this Well, thank goodness I did such a true delight At the outset, we learn that Penelope is a sixty four year old widow that has had a surprise glimpse at her own mortality We are introduced to her three adult children Nancy, Olivia and Noel as well as others that have touched her life at some point or another her treasured mother and father, an ill suited husband, a loyal friend, a devoted lover, a grieving young woman and a secretive yet trustworthy gardener Each character is drawn with such depth and clarity that I felt I really knew each and every one of them The title of this novel, The Shell Seekers, derives from a painting given to Penelope by her father, the prominent artist Lawrence Stern When the now deceased Lawrence Stern s works of art become much sought after, the value of this and other pieces increases significantly Each of Penelope s children have their own thoughts about what should be done with this and other works in their mother s possession What they desire reveals to us much about each of them, their innermost substance As with real people, what we see is not all pretty Pilcher has the gift of depicting riveting family dynamicsFamily rows are like car accidents Every family thinks, It couldn t happen to us, but it can happen to everybody The only way to avoid them is to drive with the greatest care and have much consideration for othersPenelope makes a journey to Cornwall, both in spirit and literally, where she sweeps us along to revel in the landscape and her own cherished memories I loved every minute of this visit and will miss my time spent with Penelope Heart warming, memorable, and a bit of a tear jerker, The Shell Seekers is a treasure I won t soon forget I am quite pleased that several Rosamunde Pilcher novels now grace my bookshelf with their blossoming covers and their promise of comfort and pure reading satisfaction. 3.5 Stars A beautifully written character driven novel about family and life, love and loss, greed and hope, a book that has the charm and eloquence of books from a bygone era, just a good old fashioned family saga, a story with real characters and places that are interesting and vivid.I had never read a book by this author before and as a couple of Goodread friends have really enjoyed her novels and the fact I saw it on the BBC list ofTop 100 booksI just had to try one and I was in not disappointed by the story or the writing style as the characters and images in the novel are so well drawn with little details that bring a wonderful sense of time and place to the story which makes this novel so readable and enjoyable.This is the type of novel that while it didn t move me or have me on the edge of my seat, I loved picking it up and spending time with the characters and just enjoyed the good feeling it gave me It would make a terrific holiday read or a book for cosy winter nights by the fire, It the sort of book I will remember reading 10 years from now and still be able to recall the characters.I did find the book a tad long but I am not a fan of long books anyhow but I am certainly looking forward to reading by this author soon.I bought a paperback edition of this novel and delighted to place this one on my bookshelf for future re reading. She believed, of course because without something to believe in, life would be intolerableRosamunde Pilcher The Shell SeekersI definitely was not excited to read THE SHELL SEEKERS My mother had chosen it for her book club telling us all it was one of her favorite books of all time I foolishly viewed this as a woman s book, no, an old woman s book.How wrong I was I absolutely loved THE SHELL SEEKERS My only regret is that I hadn t visited the worlds created by Rosamunde Pilcher sooner.I was sucked into this world from the start I loved Penelope from the opening paragraph, and loved how her story progressed I also loved that this story was told in nonlinear fashion, and each chapter focused on a character who moved through Penelope s life And yet, this is Penelope Keeling s story from start to finish even when she is not present.Penelope is a stylish, elegant woman even in her well worn, often shabby clothes Her generosity, hard work, joie de vivre, understanding, and caring for others never seems to falter Penelope shines like a golden thread in the tapestry of her life and the lives of others She loves unconditionally, rises above mistakes both hers and those of others she makes do with what life has given her.Penelope s philosophy is that money buys, not just material things, but it also buys freedom, independence, dignity, learning, and time As she ages, she comes to believe that the greatest gift a parent can give the children is to maintain one s independence, be self reliant, and not witless a lesson she learned from her father.As we journey with Penelope we view her life through both the best of times, and the difficult times Through it all, we witness what a strong, caring woman, wonderful woman she is.We experience Penelope s life in Cornwall, growing up her artist father and her French mother Sophie, We come to know the village and her people we meet Doris and her two sons, evacuees of WWII Later, we visit London and Spain through Penelope s eyes We see Penelope as she experiencing living in her daughter Olivia s world and meet her friends Cosmo and Antonia We become absorbed in the never ending conflicts of her other two children, Nancy and Noel In her old age we experience the wonderful gift Antonia and her young friend Danus bring to her.Penelope s story reveals so much of human nature, of who we are The Shell Seekers has charms all its own, and you definitely should experience these charms. I seldom find myself blubbering over a book any I used to do it when I was younger, but my insides seem to have toughened as I have aged My sentimental side is harder to access, and even when a book evokes strong feelings I do not really cry Well, Pilcher put the lie to that today I cried like I was 15 again, felt foolish doing it, and felt clean and empty afterward.OK, maybe I was just needing a good cry It happens But, there was something very touching in the way Pilcher presented this story a truthfulness that made it special It was a re read, but goodness knows almost thirty years between reads made it brand new in many ways I thought of my own mother when I read these linesYes, she was lovely But than that, she was warm and funny and loving Hot tempered one moment, and laughing the next And she could make a home anywhere She carried a sort of security about with her I can t think of a single person who didn t love her I still think about her every day of my life Sometimes she seems very dead And other times, I can t believe that she isn t somewhere in the house and that a door won t open and she ll be there For me, she nailed what it is to lose someone you truly love.And this passage that might be best understood by someone my own age, and yet I know I must have understood it even when I was so young, reading this for the first timeA ring was the accepted sign of infinity, eternity If her own life was that carefully described pencil line, she knew all at once that the two ends were drawing close together I have come full circle, she told herself, and wondered what had happened to all the years It was a question which, from time to time, caused her some anxiety and left her fretting with a dreadful sense of waste But now, it seemed, the question had become irrelevant, and so the answer, whatever it was, was no longer of any importance Rosamunde Pilcher must have loved deeply, lost someone very close, known greedy and intemperate people, turned the earth in her own garden, shared meals with irreplaceable friends, and embraced a few kindred spirits in her day She knows all those things too well to have made them up out of air And, to some extent, that is what we all know of life The details, the little things that make it bearable, the larger things that make it seems impossible to live through, these are the hallmarks of humanity In the end, perhaps I cry not for the characters in a book but for myself. Artist S Daughter Penelope Keeling Can Look Back On A Full And Varied Life A Bohemian Childhood In London And Cornwall, An Unhappy Wartime Marriage, And The One Man She Truly Loved She Has Brought Up Three Children And Learned To Accept Them As They Are Yet She Is Far Too Energetic And Independent To Settle Sweetly Into Pensioned Off Old Age And When She Discovers That Her Most Treasured Possession, Her Father S Painting, The Shell Seekers, Is Now Worth A Small Fortune, It Is Penelope Who Must Make The Decisions That Will Determine Whether Her Family Can Continue To Survive As A Family, Or Be Split Apart Rosamund Pilcher is consistently marketed via book jackets covered with flowers I m not sure why On the surface, Pilcher s stories are nostalgic and evocative of magical other places where good things always happen to good people but her novels and characters are consistently rich, complicated, and subtle I ve not read another author who could draw the infuriating imperfections and dysfunctions of family so accurately, or so compassionately It s easy to admire, then almost despise, and then love her characters for being so very human.The Shell Seekers, like so many of Pilcher s stories, is set in England, told from the vantage of a menagerie of characters whose lives are bound together by various ties of kinship and obligation At first, one is content to get to know the cast as their various stories unfold, but little by little the pieces and the people come together, and by the end one realizes how incredibly tight this novel is.It s the sort of novel that restores faith in life, and in fiction. From the blurbSet in London and Cornwall from World War II to present 1983 , The Shell Seekers 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 Deftly shifting back and forth in time, each chapter centers on one of the principal players in the family s history The unifying thread is an oil painting entitled The Shell Seekers, done by Penelope s father It is this painting that symbolizes to Penelope the ties between the generations But it is the fate of this painting that just may tear the family apart. Family rows are like car accidents Every family thinks, It couldn t happen to us , but it can happen to everybody The only way to avoid them is to drive with the greatest care and have much consideration for others MY THOUGHTSI don t really want to write a review for this book, since it touched me so deeply, and I found such a connection with Penelope, that I would rather have talked about the bond of friendship we have formed I almost felt like sitting down and write her a letter It felt that personal.In that spirit I can only conclude that it was a tremendous moment when I started reading this book by Rosamunde Pilcher It was like opening the door to a very familiar home Meave Binchy had this effect on me The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher was my introduction to this author, and it was a unforgettably good experience Perhaps you never completely grew up until your mother died Family saga a story of a courageous woman a compassionate tale of hardship and wonder the making of a family the bonds of blood and destiny It s all there and written in tasteful and beautiful prose.We always talk about a light read to indicate the tone of a book In this case it will have to be described as a medium read, since the horrors of war form part of the saga, but not as brutal and devastating as the violent counterparts by other authors The book shows another side of WWII than the one we would normally encounter in historical fiction A cup full of colorful petals is heaped onto an otherwise mono colored part of history.Recommended to family saga readers. This is one of my favorite books of all time, but I d be hard pressed to explain why The criticisms of this book are true enough semi cliched characters and all but I just love them I love Penelope and this book makes me want to garden and cook soup and let everyone be themselves even if they re stuffy and stodgy or not at all in fashion I love that her personal life is real, as in far from perfect her societally correct husband was miserable and her true love wasn t allowed I love that Antonia happens into Penelope s life and becomes inextricably linked and a better granddaughter than her biological grandkids One of my favorite lines is towards the end where it is said Penelope may not believe in God, but I am quite sure that God believes in her This is a curl up in a chair with a mug of tea, blanket and wallow in the familiarity of it all kind of book.I have read other Rosamunde Pilcher novels, and none of them had this same effect on me There s just something about this story. An older woman looks back on her life, thinks about her family, and tries to decide what to do with a valuable painting that she s inherited from her father, an artist.I read this back in the day and honestly don t remember any of the details, but I do remember enjoying this read. From its supermarket cover have you seen it It felt embarrassing to have such a romantically embossed book in my hands to its one dimensional characters, the entire book reminded me of a heavyweight beach read So.what should get a nice summer read review instead trips me up for weeks, unable to write anything about this book and a dozen others because I m forced to question my reasoning Why do I feel so bad about being critical of this book Mostly, I think it s because many friends and readers I know love this book But, I also think my stupor of thought is a result of a former self once being able to love this book My tastes have changed.It s frustrating, because I think the themes Pilcher wrote about are serious enough to do well Inheritance, greed, sentimentality, playing favorites with children, staying in a loveless marriage, putting a relationship that never fully developed on a pedestal because it escaped the inevitable boredom, irritation, and complacency that all relationships eventually go through These are things you don t usually find underneath a flowery cover Overall, The Shell Seekers didn t feel wholly honest to me The situations did have a semblance of reality I imagine most of us would have some serious introspection if we discovered a piece of art we owned was suddenly very valuable, especially any art we owned that was created by a beloved relative However, the characters, written as people who you should like Penelope, Olivia, Richard , or who you should not like Nancy, Neil, horrible grandmother and husband whose names I can t remember didn t have motives or at least any that I understood It appears to me that Pilcher confused having the coveted flawed character with having bad characters Just because a character makes bad choices shouldn t make them bad I wanted to know why Nancy and Neil cared about money than their grandfather s painting Was Neil a gambler and in debt and needed cash Did Nancy think her marriage would fall apart if she didn t continue to be the lavish bride that her grandmother turned her into Why in the world would Penelope stay in her never should have happened marriage when the author has done her best to describe her as a free spirit, raised by an athiest father and French mother who both could have cared less if she married the father of her baby or took a lover while her husband who she hoped would either die or leave her for someone else was at war, who placed a nontraditional value to things wasn t that the point of the the symbolic painting Most people would care to know how much it was worth But not Penelope, who would rather garden and feed people large meals Why were Neil and Nancy so shallow and greedy Because they were genetically like their father and grandmother who were also inexplicably bad Why did Olivia get such a free pass from her mother Why did we have to invest so much time with her in Greece with her old and linen clad lover who I kept imaging as Kris Kristofferson Odd Was I supposed to really care about her gardener s epilepsy So many questions that have no satisfying answers because, once again, I don t think this is meant as a serious book In which case, I m being snobby and critical Or it was meant as a serious book and I m being picky and callous Or snobby and critical Take your pick Oh mythis is such a bad book review For the confused, I ll tidy things up I enjoyed the book I m disappointed it wasn t And that worries me Because that means I m a book snobOh.curse you, Shell Seekers Why did I ever open your abysmal cover with flowers and shiny typeface Why Because there s a well known saying about books and their covers And I fell for it.