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The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
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The Shell Seekers (original 1987; edition 1989)

by Rosamunde Pilcher

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2,263462,829 (4.03)57
Member:SylviaC
Title:The Shell Seekers
Authors:Rosamunde Pilcher
Info:New York : Dell. Paperback.
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fiction, wartime, World War II, read 2012, pleasant, measured

Work details

The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher (1987)

Recently added byChadWS, Buecherjenna, MaraBlaise, Almadmc, PeterSvensson, jawildey, private library
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Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
Long and intricate story that was far from what I typically read. I definitely enjoyed it.

Review to come.
  JennyJen | Aug 14, 2014 |
Lois Stocking
  KindredSpirits | Jul 10, 2014 |
the most charming book i have ever read. i wanted to move to england and live with the heroine of the novel and drink tea and garden all day!!!! the perfect family saga. lots of good characters. read this when you have alot of time to sit and enjoy!!!! ( )
  amanaceerdh | Jul 2, 2014 |
A massive tome about the life and disappointments of Penelope Stern Keeling, daughter of an artist. This story begins with her in her "old" (60!) age, looking back on her life, it includes the viewpoint of her self-centered and boring children, and ends with her death. I don't usually give away spoilers in reviews, but if I encouraged anyone to read this book I would feel guilty. There is no endearing character in this book. Penelope is an ice statue, despite we are told she isn't. The one child we are (I think) meant to respect or admire is also an ice princess. I found nothing redeeming about this story. I have adored other works by Pilcher, she is a master at descriptive writing and usually subtle and delightful with her characters, but this story fell flat for me. ( )
  MrsLee | Dec 17, 2013 |
Rosamunde Pilcher is great at writing romantic novels. "The Shell Seekers" - while told in the third person - views life from the perspective of an elderly and quite obviously, free spirited woman.

Penelope Keeling has just had a heart attack. At 64 years old she has three grown children and lives alone in a small village outside London. It’s the mid-1980’s and the reader is not privy to the details of what medical treatment options are available, but Penelope stubbornly checks out of the hospital and goes home. As you can imagine, this gets mixed reactions from her kids.

Penelope supposes her days are numbered and as she attempts to put her life in order - tying up loose ends, so to speak, she has flashbacks of her childhood. The daughter of a renowned artist, she had been accustomed to a somewhat Bohemian lifestyle. Penelope vividly recalls struggling through WW II as a newlywed to a man she hardly knew, having a baby, and watching her new husband go off to fight the Germans.

As the story unfolds you also enter the lives of Penelope’s children... Nancy the 41 year old social climber with a stodgy husband and two young kids. Olivia who’s a 38 year old career woman, and Noel the 29 year old spoiled bachelor with a self-entitled attitude. Noel is resentful of having to go out on his own when his mother is more than capable of continuing to support him. It’s not that Penelope is rich. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. She’s been able to maintain a comfortable lifestyle from her parents inheritance simply because her desires are minimal. Her saving grace has been an unusually strong aversion to material wealth.

What I love most about Rosamunde Pilcher’s books is her sentimental, romantic view of life. Penelope loved the basic things in life... good food, fine wine, classical music, caring friends, a comfortable homey living space, and all forms of nature. Judging solely on the value of the book’s pure, straightforward message - to make the most of each day and enjoy the simple things in life - I would gladly give "The Shell Seekers" a 5 Star rating. But upon deeper analysis, it is hard to ignore that the plot is a bit of idealistic fantasy. It must be nice to be so sure of oneself, and always be right: To be able to blame one’s spouse for the shortcomings of your children, to laugh off one’s own shortcomings without apology, guilt, or regret. It would have been more realistic if - for all Penelope’s warm, earthy, and generous qualities she could have been just a little more human.

But don’t let that discourage you from reading "The Shell Seekers". It’s still a worthy read. ( )
  LadyLo | Jul 9, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rosamunde Pilcherprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gordon, HannahNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is for my 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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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312961324, Mass Market Paperback)

At the end of a long and useful life, Penelope Keeling's prized possession is The Shell Seekers, painted by her father, and symbolizing her unconventional life, from bohemian childhood to wartime romance. When her grown children learn their grandfather's work is now worth a fortune, each has an idea as to what Penelope should do. But as she recalls the passions, tragedies, and secrets of her life, she knows there is only one answer...and it lies in her heart.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:49 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A mild heart attack confronts Penelope Stern with her own mortality, and she decides to return to the small town of Porthkerris on the coast of Cornwall. There she will visit the scenes of her famous father's artistic life.

(summary from another edition)

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