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?
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.