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The Shell Seekers (1987)

by Rosamunde Pilcher

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,044673,152 (4.01)98
The phenomenal, heartwarming bestseller by the much-loved Rosamunde Pilcher. Artist's daughter Penelope Keeling can look back on a full and varied life: a Bohemian childhood in London and Cornwall, an unhappy wartime marriage, and the one man she truly loved. She has brought up three children - and learned to accept them as they are. Yet she is far too energetic and independent to settle sweetly into pensioned-off old-age. And when she discovers that her most treasured possession, her father's painting, The Shell Seekers, is now worth a small fortune, it is Penelope who must make the decisions that will determine whether her family can continue to survive as a family, or be split apart.… (more)
  1. 81
    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (MyriadBooks)
  2. 30
    Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher (MyriadBooks)
  3. 00
    The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney (thea-block)
    thea-block: Similar stories of inheritance, entitled children, and the interactions between wealth/society/family. Startlingly similar characters - almost feels like the same story 30 years apart!
  4. 01
    Angel Puss by Colleen McCullough (Fliss88)
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» See also 98 mentions

English (60)  Spanish (2)  Catalan (2)  Dutch (1)  Greek (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (67)
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
don't usually like such long books but this was very good. a sad story. a woman who had many difficulties in her life but she just continued and enjoyed her life not letting other people control her life.
  mahallett | Jul 28, 2020 |
Even though I gave this five stars, I do want to say that the back and forth between timelines got a bit much after a while. I still loved this book, but when I re-read it in the future, I will probably just skip over that and stay mostly in the present parts of this book.

"The Shell Seekers" follows Penelope Keeling and her family. Penelope is 64 years old and is self-sufficient and determined to do her own thing, even though two of her adult children (Nancy and Noel) are hell-bent on either making sure their mother has a carer and finding out where the paintings their grandfather did (one of them called the Shell Seekers) in order to sell them after finding out how much they are now worth.

The only child of Penelope's that will not make you want to smack them upside the head is Olivia.

The book showcases Penelope's life, we follow her childhood, dealing with World War II, and then a loveless marriage that causes her to do what she can to support herself and her children due to her terrible husband. The book goes from that and to the present with her finding new friends that she cares about, Antonia (related to someone who was once close to Oilvia) and the gardener.

I will say that due to reading "September" it was nice to find out in a little way what happened to Penelope's children, and we get to see a much different side to Noel. That said, reading this book, I ended up really disliking him and Nancy. Frankly I wish that Penelope had a chance to really tell off her two children. Selfish wasn't even the word.

Nancy without realizing it, seems to be in a loveless marriage and her two children are going to just disappear from her life one day. She blames her mother for a lot of things that made me want to tell her to grow up myself.

Noel is hell-bent on money. You don't really get why since he seems to be doing well.

Olivia seemed to be the only child that got her (we find out why that may be later) and the one she was closest to. We do find out about a man that Olivia was in love with, but that whole part was boring to me. Not enough for me to lower my rating, but enough for me to go okay, can we please get past this soon?

The writing was lyrical and once again I do think that Pilcher's books shine when she describes what is going on during World War II. That said, the flow of the book was affected by going back and forth to Penelope's past and the present day. We also would switch POVs too, so you don't just stick with Penelope through this, you go and read Nancy's, Noel's, and Olivia's, and even Penelope's mother, etc. in this one.

The main setting of this book was Cornwall. I swear after reading the last couple of Pilcher books I need to visit there and Scotland. She really does a great job making the places in her books feel like characters.

I have to say that the ending of the book was a surprise. I don't want to spoil, but thank goodness for Olivia. I would have loved to read a book with her in it as a central character again. Too bad that Pilcher is retired. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
This is a lovely book, if you're in the mood for something slower paced. If you like Kate Morton you'll like this. ( )
  AngelClaw | Apr 27, 2020 |
I will have a book hangover after this one! I don't know if I can bear to start a new book.
It has taken me almost 30 years to get to this book and I'm so sad I'm finished. I had it in Paramus and was too busy to read with three little kids and years later lost it in the move; I got it from the Bayville library any number of times... and never got to it- and returned it unread - every time... finally, I bought it at the flea market in Stuart and read it HOORAY!! I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK! The characters, the setting, THE END!! ( )
  nwieme | Mar 19, 2020 |
Loved the writing, the cozy settings, and the way the whole story unfolded. I didn't love the characters (who we were supposed to love I think). ( )
  akbooks | Sep 12, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rosamunde Pilcherprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gordon, HannahNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is for my children,
and their children.
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She sometimes thought that for her, Nancy Chamberlain, the most straightforward or innocent occupation was doomed to become, inevitably, fraught with tedious complication.
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The phenomenal, heartwarming bestseller by the much-loved Rosamunde Pilcher. Artist's daughter Penelope Keeling can look back on a full and varied life: a Bohemian childhood in London and Cornwall, an unhappy wartime marriage, and the one man she truly loved. She has brought up three children - and learned to accept them as they are. Yet she is far too energetic and independent to settle sweetly into pensioned-off old-age. And when she discovers that her most treasured possession, her father's painting, The Shell Seekers, is now worth a small fortune, it is Penelope who must make the decisions that will determine whether her family can continue to survive as a family, or be split apart.

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