In The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher explores with great humanity the different realms of love, including the romantic, platonic and motherly. Penelope Keeling struggles with her conscience in deciding if she should sell a valuable painting given to her by her father. The money could help her grown-up children lead a more comfortable lifestyle. But the picture's sentimental value draws her into the past and forces her to confront issues that have dogged her whole life. Although the dilemma Penelope faces appears two-dimensional, the storyline delves much deeper, laying bare her relationship with her children. The true characters of Penelope's family are quite dark in some cases, and the reader can empathise with Penelope and the emotional entanglement she suffers.

The Shell Seekers is an extraordinary book, if only for its detail and descriptive passages. Although classified as a romantic family saga, it is a novel that can be enjoyed by readers of all genres for its historical, chronological and geographical depth. Each chapter is named after, and based around, one character in the story, and the chapters are spun together as fine as a silken web.

The book presents tragedy and ugliness in parts, especially through the war years and the atrocities that occurred during this era. However, the beautiful description, especially of the countryside, far outweighs these haunting moments. The book takes readers on a delightful and knowledgeable journey through England and other places, over a long period of time.

It draws the reader in gently, into another place, another time...

In Pilcher's countryside you can almost smell the flowers as she takes your hand and leads you through the garden...

Now, at the end of the summer, the grass was still very green, and Sophie's borders ablaze with Michaelmas daisies and snapdragons and dahlias. Up the face of the house climbed pink ivy-leaved geraniums and a clematis which each May produced a riot of pale lilac-coloured flowers...

The Shell Seekers is a novel that the reader can escape into, a novel that touches on human emotions, values, tragedies and passion, and leaves the reader wanting more.

 

Other Reviews

'A HUGE, WARM SAGA... A deeply satisfying story written with love.'  Maeve Binchy, The New York Times Book Review

'HER GENIUS is to create characters you really care about'   Daily Express

'A LONG, beguiling saga, typically English'   Mail on Sunday

'BEAUTIFULLY DONE...A book about families... When the reader closes the book, it is with a sense of regret... regret that there is no more.'  Boston Herald

'A LOVELY STORY, the best, really absorbing book I've read in a long time, the kind you hate to put down and especially hate to finish.'  Atlanta Journal & Constitution Review