I think this is my first book by Rosamunde Pilcher, surprisingly. She has a lot of novels out, and this one, The Shell Seekers has won numerous awards in Europe. But, it’s new to me! Here is my book review The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher.
The novel begins when Penelope Keeling is in her 60’s and after a recent heart attack she is reflecting on her past. The story flits back and forth between Penelope’s childhood – the daughter of a famous artist and his much younger French wife – and present day. Through Pilcher’s strong writing we learn about Penelope’s relationship with her father, mother and their survival during the World Wars.
Pilcher creates some lovely characters in this novel as the life of Penelope Keeling evolves. Her oldest friend Doris, her French mother Sophie and her brilliant artist father Laurence Stern. All are living in England together during WWII and that time will define the rest of their lives.
The novel moves from the past to present day 1984 when Penelope has just had a heart attack. Stubborn and self-confident, Penelope checks herself out of the hospital against her doctor’s advice. Through this experience we are introduced to her three adult children, who respond differently to Penelope’s decision. Each sibling is unique from the other, and two of them are desperately in need of money.
As the novel moves forward it is revealed the paintings of Penelope’s father Laurence have recently become popular again and therefore valuable. Penelope has several paintings, and two of her children try to convince her to sell them. This is where the family begins to rip at the seams.
Like so many beautifully written stories about family ties, The Shell Seekers is complex. Relationships between mother and children, and the siblings themselves is fraught with misunderstanding, stress, rivalry but of course, also love. Penelope finds she can identify more with two young people who come into her life (a gardener and a caretaker) than she can with her own children. But Penelope acknowledges her health issues require her to make some decisions about the future of the valuable art she owns. How will she satisfy her own love of the paintings, and all the players in this story?
You’ll have to read Rosamunde Pilcher’s beautiful book, The Shell Seekers to find out. Thanks for reading my book review The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher.
*****Five stars for The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
See last week’s book review In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
My current read All The Broken Pieces by John Boyne
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