Set in London and Cornwall between World War II and the present, this is the story of the Keeling family, and of the passions and heart-break that have held them together for three generations--a story of life, hope, children and death
The thing that struck me about this book is that, despite its length, I never felt like it was dragging. It's not uncommon for books that dive into the past to have portions that seem dull or inconsequential; parts that make you wish it would just get back to the good part. And I never felt that for this book, despite all the extra characters mentioned and scenes replayed.
I really enjoyed it and loved (or loved to hate) the characters. Many of the characters reminded me of real people or of parts of myself. Pilcher did a great job with the intricacies of family (blood and chosen) and how people relate to their family members and how differently people can view the same thing, situation, etc.
If you're an avid reader, I'd definitely recommend it. At a bit over 500 pages, it's maybe not for someone who reads sporadically or hasn't much time for reading.
Rosamunde Pilcher does not disappoint!
Published by Southern Logophile , 1 year ago
Absolutely loved this book. Such well developed characters and storyline. You will definitely become engrossed in their lives. Her writing is so descriptive and beautiful. I did not want the book to end.
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 14 years ago
From Publishers Weekly On the heels of a hasty wartime marriage, Penelope Keeling is left to repent at leisure in the English seaside town of Porthkerris, where her artist father and her French mother are spending the duration of World War II. Safe in the embracing arms of that warm household, Penelope forgets her sour husband and takes a lover, and in that relationship, too, she weathers the war's privations and its hardest blows. In a beautifully detailed family saga that shifts effortlessly back and forth in time, Pilcher (Under Gemini) recounts Penelope's story and that of her three children. When their grandfather's work suddenly comes into vogue, Nancy, obsessed over status, and sleek Noel, adept at getting the most and giving the least, join in urging their mother to sell The Shell Seekers, a painting that gives her great joy. Only Olivia, a cool and collected magazine editor, refuses to be party to their barely concealed avarice. Pilcher's 13th book is a satisfying and savory family novel, in which rich layers of description and engagingly flawed characters more than make up for the occasional cliche. From Library Journal As this absorbing saga of a modern English family opens, 64-year-old Penelope Keeling is returning to her country house following a heart attack, and her three adult children have varying reactions to the news. The narrative is actually a series of deftly interwoven vignettes that shift 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. Pilcher's characters are well-drawn, real, and engrossing people. A thoroughly charming book for most fiction collections.
Unforgettable Characters Make This One of My Top Five Books
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 22 years ago
I doubt that anyone who reads "The Shell Seekers" will ever forget Penelope Keeling and her three children---Nancy, Olivia, and Noel. Nor will they be likely to forget Sophie, Lawrence, Danus, Antoinia, Richard, and the other characters that move through this spell-binding, heart-enriching novel.Mrs. Pilcher sets out to explore the disastrous effects that the prospect of an inheritance can have on a normal family. She also combines the lifestyle of upper-class Bohemians and the days before, during, and after World War II to tell a story that will be forever fresh.From the beautiful beaches of Cornwall to the idyllic setting of Ibiza to the bustling life in London, Rosamunde Pilcher transports readers to a world as satisfying as a cup of tea with a plate of warm scones.You will see Penelope grow up in the sheltering world of her artist father and young, French mother. You will share her first love with Ambrose, her true love with Richard, her most wonderful joys and her deepest heartbreaks. You will see her anguish with her three adult children as she struggles to give them independence and feels their venom. You will see her come to terms with her life and her beloved painting of "The Shell Seekers." I first read this book several years ago and only yesterday finished a second reading of it. I found it even more warm and heartfelt than ever. I will make it a point to savor this most marvelous book every few years just for the pure joy it gives.
Can't say enough good things about this book!
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 23 years ago
This is one of the greatest books I have ever read! I actually read this book quite some time ago, and it was the first book by R. Pilcher that I read. Since then, I have purchased every book she has written. Her vivid and rich descriptions of the people and places she writes about make me want to hop a plane and go visit. Penelope Keeling is a character that is real and believable, from her memories of her childhood to her thoughts of her grown children and their future. This story brings a realistic view of two of Penelope's grown children whose only thoughts are of the money that could come from the sale of Penelope's father's painting. And of her third child (also grown) who only wants her mother's happiness. Rosamunde Pilcher has a real winner with this story.
Listening to this book is a pure joy!
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 23 years ago
Many years ago I stumbled upon a book I borrowed from the library for no other reason than it had a most beautiful cover. The book was The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher and the rest is book history. History because this book about Penelope Keeling, her family, her life in the Cotsowlds area of England and her memories of WWII has become a most beloved read throughout the world.Then recently, again while browsing the libraries audiotapes, I came across the tape of The Shell Seekers and thought, why not listen to it.Now there are few audios I would compare to the reading experience. Clearly I enjoy reading more than listening and most often I don't finish the audiotape preferring to experience the reading of a book first. But in the case of The Shell Seekers audiotape, I found the tape provided me once again with a wonderful experience as I was surrounded totally by the characters, sights and sounds of Ms. Pilchers now classic book The Shell Seekers. This is now perfect walking weather and what could be better than strolling along and listening to this pleasurable read. Believe me, before you know it, you'll be walking miles and miles and won't want to stop till you hear the last word.
Much more than you think it will be
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 24 years ago
Sometimes a writer believes in her story so completely that she creates something beyond the limits of her talent. That is Rosamunde Pilcher's achievement in "The Shell Seekers." Ms. Pilcher generally writes nice stories for women, but here she exposes a touchstone that obviously means a great deal to her, and her sincerity and conviction come through on every page. This beautiful story of love beyond and across time, of one life lived with courage and self-awareness, will move and inspire you. I return to this book when I feel overwhelmed and depressed because it cheers me and reminds me what is really important. The writers of "serious" fiction believe the world is a sad, dreary, complex place. This book reminds you that the world always has been, and always will be, a wonderful place where small pleasures bring great happiness, where love warms and sustains even the most weary heart, and where each day might bring a wonderful revelation. Yes, sometimes the book is amusingly English, especially with its taken-for-granted system of two classes: those who clean house, and those who employ housecleaners. But overwhelmingly, this book is a treature, and I envy those of you who will discover it for the first time. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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