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Friday, February 5, 2016

kay's favorites from the keeper shelf...Rosamunde Pilcher



Welcome to the 2nd 'kay's favorites'!  Today, I'm very happy to be talking about an author that I discovered in the late 1980's.  At least I'm pretty sure it was then.  This predates my book journals.  Who am talking about?  Rosamunde Pilcher - such a wonderful writer - a lovely lady who is now 91 years old.   She's the author of at least 4 of my 'favorites'.



Rosamunde Scott Pilcher was born on September 22, 1924 in Lelant, Cornwall.  She grew up in Cornwall and attended a secretarial college.  Ms. Pilcher served in the Women's Royal Navy Service during the years 1943-1946.  She married Graham Hope Pilcher in 1946 and they moved to Dundee, Scotland, where she still lives.  They had 4 children, 2 daughters and 2 sons.  Author Robin Pilcher is her eldest son.

Rosamunde's first book was published in 1949 under the pseudonym, Jane Fraser.  It was called Half-Way To The Moon.  Ten books were published under the Jane Fraser name, but in 1955, the first Rosamunde Pilcher book came out.  It was titled A Secret To Tell and Ms. Pilcher wrote another 17 books with her own name as author in upcoming years.  Probably the most famous of her novels is The Shell Seekers, written in 1987.  And that's where I come in...

The first Rosamunde Pilcher book that I devoured was indeed The Shell Seekers.  It was extremely popular and I can remember hearing a lot of talk about it at the library, which is where I got my books at that time.  All my books.  I was a young mother, working full time, with a 5-year-old and little time to read longer novels.  However, I just hadn't yet met Penelope Keeling and heard about the beautiful painting that her father had created - The Shell Seekers.  This is a family story that tells of Penelope's life, her parents, her children, and what will happen to her most prized possession, the painting.  Set in Cornwall, it was filmed for TV and Angela Lansbury played the part of Penelope.


Another book that I loved so much was Coming Home, written in 1995, and an even longer tale, something like 1,000 pages or so.  Just a wonderful story of a young girl named Judith Dunbar, who is left behind by her family at boarding school, again in Cornwall, during the years before WWII.  Her family is stationed in Singapore and Judith stays for school.  She meets another girl, Loveday Carey-Lewis, and becomes involved with Loveday's family, joining them at their home filled with aristocracy.  The war comes and Judith and Loveday are caught up in the events and the novel turns into quite a saga.  It was great!  This book was written in a time period (80's, 90's) when many long, long books were so popular and I loved stories that went on and on and on.  Coming Home was also made into a TV movie.

I have two more favorites that I won't say too much about, but both are very good.  September is a sort of sequel to The Shell Seekers.  One of the characters carries over, Penelope's son, Noel.  This book is set in Scotland in the fall.  And the last book written by Ms. Pilcher in 2000, Winter Solstice, is another favorite.  Also, set in Scotland in the winter this time, it tells a story from the viewpoints of 5 characters when their lives cross in a big old house in the fishing town of Creagan.  It may be chilly outside, but it's homey inside.

So, if you like family sagas or wonderful books with lovely Cornish or Scottish settings, if you like Maeve Binchy's books, you might try a tale by Rosamunde Pilcher.  She has many other shorter books that I have not sampled as yet.  Maybe one day.  Have you read any of these?

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Join me in a few weeks for the next 'kay's favorites from the keeper shelf...' when I'll be sharing thoughts about Dana Stabenow and her Kate Shugak mysteries.

45 comments:

  1. Oh this took me back as I read lots of Rosamunde Pilcher starting with the Shell Seekers. As you say there were quite a few authors at this time that wrote about 'real' peoples lives with and provided us with great big books so that we could lose ourselves in their lives!

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    1. Exactly - you understand what I was trying to say so well!

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  2. I didn't know Rosamund Pilcher was born so close to where I was born. That makes me ashamed that I own The Shell Seekers but have never read it! I shall try to ammend that this year.

    Look forward to your Dana Stabenow post. My son-in-law is addicted to her Kate Shugak books so I'll direct him here when it's up.

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    1. I thought about you when I was writing Cornwall. And I like the fact that your son-in-law loves Stabenow's books. I'll see what I can come up with for the next post.

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  3. This post makes me feel nostalgic for the days when I could curl up with a book and read for hours! I absolutely adored The Shell Seekers (I think I read it in 1989 or there abouts) and think it is one of the first books I ever read that showed me what lyrical writing could do for my mood and outlook on life. I remember gazing at the sky and clouds in such a different way as I was reading her lovely book. And the details of that cozy home she wrote about (in The Shell Seekers) remain embedded in my minds-eye to this day. I've read some of her shorter novels and don't care for them as much as her longer books. I've read September and Winter's Solstice, as well, but I still have Coming Home on my shelf and have said, year after year, "I really need to read this." Perhaps this will be the year. Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Kay!

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    1. You are very welcome, Les! I have very fond memories of reading all these books. I think that's why I want to do these posts - to remind people of books they've loved and maybe forgotten. And also to interest new readers in books that they might not be aware of.

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  4. I don't thing I've rad any novels by this author. From the sound of them, I think I would enjoy her novels.

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    1. This author has a lovely, quiet way of writing. I bet you would like these books.

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  5. How I loved The Shell Seekers!! I'll bet I read it shortly after it was published in the late 80s, then went on to read several of her other books. All of those were great, too, but The Shell Seekers is the one that still stands out after all these years. Love these posts, Kay!

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    1. Thanks, JoAnn! I've enjoying creating them. And I have such fond memories of The Shell Seekers too.

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  6. I've had The Shell Seekers sitting on my book shelf for years waiting to be read. I'm not sure why I haven't done so yet!

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    1. Kim, it's just waiting for the right time. :-)

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  7. The Shell Seekers was one of my mother's favorite novels. Thinking about her favorites and her influence on my own early reading now.

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    1. Oh how lovely, Jenclair! I'm so glad this author brought joy to your mother's reading life. She certainly has to mine.

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  8. Devoured Pilcher's books back in the day! The Shell Seekers was my favorite. I did have September for years on the shelf and did start it once but it didn't grab me like Shell Seekers did and I put it down never to return. I read all Mauve Binchy'smbooks too. Nice post, Kay!

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    1. Thanks Peggy Ann! I'll do a post about Maeve Binchy eventually, I suspect.

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  9. I LOVE Pilcher, and The Shell Seekers is one of my all-time favorite books. I purchased a copy at a book sale last year with the hope of re-reading it. I remember watching the TV adaptation, which I also enjoyed.

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    1. Isn't it amazing how much joy can be found when you discover a book that was an old favorite? I know I have pounced on several that way. And was delighted!

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  10. You know that Winter Solstice was my 1st read of 2016?!! I loved it! It was my first Pilcher book ever, but it wont' be my last. I hope.

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    1. I know that. In fact, I think that's what made me think of doing Pilcher as one of the first of these posts. You reminded me. So, thank you!!

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  11. I'm familiar with the name, but haven't read any of her novels. It's been a while since I read a good saga, but I used to love getting lost in them. Winter Solstice sounds so good...

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    1. Oh, you should try one at least. She does write a good saga.

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  12. The Shell Seekers sounds familiar as that maybe I saw the movie..

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    1. It's possible or maybe you read the book.

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  13. I read through 3 copies of The Shell Seekers! I read each one so many times that they just fell to pieces. I discovered her when I was in my late teens and The Shell Seekers was by far my favorite and I didn't care for September all that much. When I reread them all a few years ago I found I actually liked September more! I've been wanting to reread Winter Solstice. That's a favorite as well and I love her short story collections! I wasn't aware that she wrote under another name or how long her career was. What a fun post!

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    1. Wow, 3 copies of Shell Seekers. You do love this book, Katherine! Thanks, I had a good time writing it.

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  14. I haven't read this author but now I think I should! I initially confused her with Rosamund Lupton who is also on my list. I will look for her Shell Seekers.

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    1. No, not the same as Rosamund Lupton (who I like very much as well). The Shell Seekers is definitely not a thriller. :-)

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  15. I've only read The Shell Seekers but I'll add these other titles to my TBR list.

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    1. Always happy to add to your TBR, Mary! LOL

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  16. I think these posts are very important. It's like anything else in life, new generations come along and don't always know about older things. I have had a post floating around in my head for a while about this - all the writers who were so very popular and talked about who I never hear much about anymore. I sort of like RP- I think her short stories are what I love. SS and WS have elements that I so dislike I can't reread them. Other shorter novels I find too 'romancy.'

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    1. I agree and that's part of why I'm wanting to do them. I think there are a lot of authors and books that will pass out of memory and they deserve to be mentioned. I hope you do write a post about your thoughts, Nan. You know one of the things that I'm finding so interesting is how very, very long some of these authors have lived. Well into their 90's and some over 100. Do you think it's because they were stimulated mentally by their writing? I wonder.

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    2. hmm. it would be interesting to do a little study. just read a great interview with a.e. hotchner in the strand magazine. born 1920.

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  17. I love Maeve Binchy (so sad that she's no longer alive!), so I'll have to give this author a try. Seems like I may have read something by her once upon a time, but I can't remember ...

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    1. I kind of always think of these two authors together - one in Ireland and one in England or Scotland.

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  18. I've not read any of her books but those book covers seem so familiar to me. I remember going to Walden Books and always seeing her books in the bestsellers shelves. Don't know why I never tried one as they seem like my cup of tea!

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    1. Walden Books - that's a blast from the past! I bet you did see them there. Nostalgic about little bookstores in the mall...

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  19. I haven't read any of her books, but I am familiar with them. There was a time when I would say these types of books weren't for me, but I think I might enjoy them now.

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    1. You might be a little young for these books. To remember them I mean. And you might like them. I'd recommend The Shell Seekers.

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  20. What a lovely post! I discovered Pilcher around the same time you did, and loved her books. My favorites are Winter Solstice, The Shell Seekers, and Coming Home, but I also enjoy quite a few of her earlier books as well. For some reason, I had a hard time getting into September, and haven't tried it again. I will someday. The only one I've reviewed, though, is Winter Solstice. I need to re-read some of the others and review them!

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    1. Thanks for your kind words! I'm glad that so many have memories of this author's books.

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  21. I'm so glad you did this post. It's a beautiful tribute to one of my favorite authors too. I was thinking just the other day that it's about time to re-read Shell Seekers. Maybe this year. I hope you have time to read some of those you haven't touched yet.

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    1. Thank you, Margot! I had a good time with it. Maybe one day I'll get to her other books.

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  22. I don't know how it's possible that I've never read any of Pilcher's books!

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    1. Well, we can't read everything. LOL

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Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!