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The Shell Seekers

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The Shell Seekers is a novel of connection: of one family, and of the passions and heartbreak that have held them together for three generations. The Shell Seekers is filled with real people--mothers and daughters, husband and lovers--inspired with real values. The Shell Seekers centers on Penelope Keeling--a woman you'll always remember in world you'll never forget. The S The Shell Seekers is a novel of connection: of one family, and of the passions and heartbreak that have held them together for three generations. The Shell Seekers is filled with real people--mothers and daughters, husband and lovers--inspired with real values. The Shell Seekers centers on Penelope Keeling--a woman you'll always remember in world you'll never forget. The Shell Seekers is a magical novel, the kind of reading experience that comes along only once in a long while. 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.


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The Shell Seekers is a novel of connection: of one family, and of the passions and heartbreak that have held them together for three generations. The Shell Seekers is filled with real people--mothers and daughters, husband and lovers--inspired with real values. The Shell Seekers centers on Penelope Keeling--a woman you'll always remember in world you'll never forget. The S The Shell Seekers is a novel of connection: of one family, and of the passions and heartbreak that have held them together for three generations. The Shell Seekers is filled with real people--mothers and daughters, husband and lovers--inspired with real values. The Shell Seekers centers on Penelope Keeling--a woman you'll always remember in world you'll never forget. The Shell Seekers is a magical novel, the kind of reading experience that comes along only once in a long while. 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.

30 review for The Shell Seekers

  1. 3 out of 5

    Rachael

    There's something about this book that always makes me resolve to move to Cornwall, bake lots of bread and have an enormous flower garden, and spend the rest of my days painting huge swathes of light on the beaches. That aside, this is one book that I regularly read every six months and love each time. I don't know how to describe it. Just go read it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Candi

    "The most ordinary of prospects caused her to stop and stare. The last of the leaves dropped from the trees, and the bare branches made lace against pale skies. Sun after rain turned cobbled streets blue as fish scales, dazzling to the eye. Autumn winds, whipping the bay to a scud of white-caps, brought with them, not cold, but a surging sense of vitality…" Penelope Keeling knows how to live life to the fullest and I absolutely adore her! She grasps those things that matter most in life – the com "The most ordinary of prospects caused her to stop and stare. The last of the leaves dropped from the trees, and the bare branches made lace against pale skies. Sun after rain turned cobbled streets blue as fish scales, dazzling to the eye. Autumn winds, whipping the bay to a scud of white-caps, brought with them, not cold, but a surging sense of vitality…" Penelope Keeling knows how to live life to the fullest and I absolutely adore her! She grasps those things that matter most in life – the comfort of a home, the security of a loving mother, the laughter of friends and family, the feel of soil and the beauty of the outdoors, the enticing smells of home-cooked meals, and the allure of a splendid painting. When I come across a character in one of my books that touches me and makes me want to re-examine my own life, then I know I have found a gem. Of course, we’re all familiar with the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover”. Unfortunately, I have been guilty of that offense in the past and no less so with this book. I have seen Rosamunde Pilcher’s novels in bookstores and libraries and have admittedly walked right on by due to their overly feminine and botanic covers. I didn’t think they were "my sort of book". However, I decided to give this one a try when I discovered some trusted Goodreads friends were reading this. Well, thank goodness I did – such a true delight! At the outset, we learn that Penelope is a sixty-four-year old widow that has had a surprise glimpse at her own mortality. We are introduced to her three adult children – Nancy, Olivia and Noel - as well as others that have touched her life at some point or another – her treasured mother and father, an ill-suited husband, a loyal friend, a devoted lover, a grieving young woman and a secretive yet trustworthy gardener. Each character is drawn with such depth and clarity that I felt I really knew each and every one of them. The title of this novel, The Shell Seekers, derives from a painting given to Penelope by her father, the prominent artist Lawrence Stern. When the now deceased Lawrence Stern’s works of art become much sought-after, the value of this and other pieces increases significantly. Each of Penelope’s children have their own thoughts about what should be done with this and other works in their mother’s possession. What they desire reveals to us much about each of them, their innermost substance. As with real people, what we see is not all pretty. Pilcher has the gift of depicting riveting family dynamics. "Family rows are like car accidents. Every family thinks, ‘It couldn’t happen to us,’ but it can happen to everybody. The only way to avoid them is to drive with the greatest care and have much consideration for others." Penelope makes a journey to Cornwall, both in spirit and literally, where she sweeps us along to revel in the landscape and her own cherished memories. I loved every minute of this visit and will miss my time spent with Penelope. Heart-warming, memorable, and a bit of a tear-jerker, The Shell Seekers is a treasure I won’t soon forget. I am quite pleased that several more Rosamunde Pilcher novels now grace my bookshelf with their blossoming covers and their promise of comfort and pure reading satisfaction.

  3. 3 out of 5

    Dem

    3.5 Stars A beautifully written character driven novel about family and life, love and loss, greed and hope, a book that has the charm and eloquence of books from a bygone era, just a good old fashioned family saga, a story with real characters and places that are interesting and vivid. I had never read a book by this author before and as a couple of Goodread friends have really enjoyed her novels and the fact I saw it on the BBC list of Top 100 books I just had to try one and I was in not dis 3.5 Stars A beautifully written character driven novel about family and life, love and loss, greed and hope, a book that has the charm and eloquence of books from a bygone era, just a good old fashioned family saga, a story with real characters and places that are interesting and vivid. I had never read a book by this author before and as a couple of Goodread friends have really enjoyed her novels and the fact I saw it on the BBC list of Top 100 books I just had to try one and I was in not disappointed by the story or the writing style as the characters and images in the novel are so well drawn with little details that bring a wonderful sense of time and place to the story which makes this novel so readable and enjoyable. This is the type of novel that while it didn't move me or have me on the edge of my seat, I loved picking it up and spending time with the characters and just enjoyed the good feeling it gave me. It would make a terrific holiday read or a book for cosy winter nights by the fire, It the sort of book I will remember reading 10 years from now and still be able to recall the characters. I did find the book a tad long but I am not a fan of long books anyhow but I am certainly looking forward to reading more by this author soon. I bought a paperback edition of this novel and delighted to place this one on my bookshelf for future re-reading.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mathew

    Rosamund Pilcher is consistently marketed via book jackets covered with flowers. I'm not sure why. On the surface, Pilcher's stories are nostalgic and evocative of magical other places where good things always happen to good people; but her novels and characters are consistently rich, complicated, and subtle. I've not read another author who could draw the infuriating imperfections and dysfunctions of family so accurately, or so compassionately. It's easy to admire, then almost despise, and then Rosamund Pilcher is consistently marketed via book jackets covered with flowers. I'm not sure why. On the surface, Pilcher's stories are nostalgic and evocative of magical other places where good things always happen to good people; but her novels and characters are consistently rich, complicated, and subtle. I've not read another author who could draw the infuriating imperfections and dysfunctions of family so accurately, or so compassionately. It's easy to admire, then almost despise, and then love her characters for being so very human. The Shell Seekers, like so many of Pilcher's stories, is set in England, told from the vantage of a menagerie of characters whose lives are bound together by various ties of kinship and obligation. At first, one is content to get to know the cast as their various stories unfold, but little by little the pieces - and the people - come together, and by the end one realizes how incredibly tight this novel is. It's the sort of novel that restores faith in life, and in fiction.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Margitte

    From the blurb: "Set in London and Cornwall from World War II to present(1983), The Shell Seekers tells the story of the Keeling family, and of the passions and heartbreak that have held them together for three generations. The family centers around Penelope, and it is her love, courage, and sense of values that determine the course of all their lives. Deftly shifting back and forth in time, each chapter centers on one of the principal players in the family's history. The unifying thread is an o From the blurb: "Set in London and Cornwall from World War II to present(1983), The Shell Seekers tells the story of the Keeling family, and of the passions and heartbreak that have held them together for three generations. The family centers around Penelope, and it is her love, courage, and sense of values that determine the course of all their lives. Deftly shifting back and forth in time, each chapter centers on one of the principal players in the family's history. The unifying thread is an oil painting entitled "The Shell Seekers," done by Penelope's father. It is this painting that symbolizes to Penelope the ties between the generations. But it is the fate of this painting that just may tear the family apart. "Family rows are like car accidents. Every family thinks, ‘It couldn’t happen to us', but it can happen to everybody. The only way to avoid them is to drive with the greatest care and have much consideration for others." MY THOUGHTS I don't really want to write a review for this book, since it touched me so deeply, and I found such a connection with Penelope, that I would rather have talked about the bond of friendship we have formed! I almost felt like sitting down and write her a letter. It felt that personal. In that spirit I can only conclude that it was a tremendous moment when I started reading this book by Rosamunde Pilcher. It was like opening the door to a very familiar home. Meave Binchy had this effect on me. The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher was my introduction to this author, and it was a unforgettably good experience. Perhaps you never completely grew up until your mother died Family saga; a story of a courageous woman; a compassionate tale of hardship and wonder; the making of a family; the bonds of blood and destiny. It's all there and written in tasteful and beautiful prose. We always talk about a light read to indicate the tone of a book. In this case it will have to be described as a medium read, since the horrors of war form part of the saga, but not as brutal and devastating as the violent counterparts by other authors. The book shows another side of WWII than the one we would normally encounter in historical fiction. A cup full of colorful petals is heaped onto an otherwise mono-colored part of history. Recommended to family saga-readers.

  6. 3 out of 5

    Sara

    I seldom find myself blubbering over a book anymore. I used to do it when I was younger, but my insides seem to have toughened as I have aged. My sentimental side is harder to access, and even when a book evokes strong feelings I do not really cry. Well, Pilcher put the lie to that today. I cried like I was 15 again, felt foolish doing it, and felt clean and empty afterward. OK, maybe I was just needing a good cry. It happens. But, there was something very touching in the way Pilcher presented th I seldom find myself blubbering over a book anymore. I used to do it when I was younger, but my insides seem to have toughened as I have aged. My sentimental side is harder to access, and even when a book evokes strong feelings I do not really cry. Well, Pilcher put the lie to that today. I cried like I was 15 again, felt foolish doing it, and felt clean and empty afterward. OK, maybe I was just needing a good cry. It happens. But, there was something very touching in the way Pilcher presented this story; a truthfulness that made it special. It was a re-read, but goodness knows almost thirty years between reads made it brand new in many ways. I thought of my own mother when I read these lines: "Yes, she was lovely. But more than that, she was warm and funny and loving. Hot-tempered one moment, and laughing the next. And she could make a home anywhere. She carried a sort of security about with her. I can't think of a single person who didn't love her. I still think about her every day of my life. Sometimes she seems very dead. And other times, I can't believe that she isn't somewhere in the house and that a door won't open and she'll be there." For me, she nailed what it is to lose someone you truly love. And this passage that might be best understood by someone my own age, and yet I know I must have understood it even when I was so young, reading this for the first time: "A ring was the accepted sign of infinity, eternity. If her own life was that carefully described pencil line, she knew all at once that the two ends were drawing close together. I have come full circle, she told herself, and wondered what had happened to all the years. It was a question which, from time to time, caused her some anxiety and left her fretting with a dreadful sense of waste. But now, it seemed, the question had become irrelevant, and so the answer, whatever it was, was no longer of any importance." Rosamunde Pilcher must have loved deeply, lost someone very close, known greedy and intemperate people, turned the earth in her own garden, shared meals with irreplaceable friends, and embraced a few kindred spirits in her day. She knows all those things too well to have made them up out of air. And, to some extent, that is what we all know of life. The details, the little things that make it bearable, the larger things that make it seems impossible to live through, these are the hallmarks of humanity. In the end, perhaps I cry not for the characters in a book but for myself.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This is one of my favorite books of all time, but I'd be hard-pressed to explain why. The criticisms of this book are true enough--semi-cliched characters and all--but I just love them. I love Penelope and this book makes me want to garden and cook soup and let everyone be themselves even if they're stuffy and stodgy or not at all in fashion. I love that her personal life is real, as in far from perfect--her societally correct husband was miserable and her true love wasn't allowed. I love that A This is one of my favorite books of all time, but I'd be hard-pressed to explain why. The criticisms of this book are true enough--semi-cliched characters and all--but I just love them. I love Penelope and this book makes me want to garden and cook soup and let everyone be themselves even if they're stuffy and stodgy or not at all in fashion. I love that her personal life is real, as in far from perfect--her societally correct husband was miserable and her true love wasn't allowed. I love that Antonia happens into Penelope's life and becomes inextricably linked and a better 'granddaughter' than her biological grandkids. One of my favorite lines is towards the end where it is said "Penelope may not believe in God, but I am quite sure that God believes in her..." This is a curl up in a chair with a mug of tea, blanket and wallow in the familiarity of it all kind of book. I have read other Rosamunde Pilcher novels, and none of them had this same effect on me. There's just something about this story....

  8. 3 out of 5

    Stephanie

    You really can't judge a book by its cover. People have recommended Rosamunde Pilcher's books to me for years, and I refused to read them because all the covers looked like they had been marinated in mothballs. But after spying "The Shell Seekers" on the BBC's "The Big Read: Top 100 Books," I decided to bite the bullet and give it a try. Annoyingly, several people had put it on reserve at the library before me, so by the time I received it, I wasn't nearly as enthusiastic as I had been when I had You really can't judge a book by its cover. People have recommended Rosamunde Pilcher's books to me for years, and I refused to read them because all the covers looked like they had been marinated in mothballs. But after spying "The Shell Seekers" on the BBC's "The Big Read: Top 100 Books," I decided to bite the bullet and give it a try. Annoyingly, several people had put it on reserve at the library before me, so by the time I received it, I wasn't nearly as enthusiastic as I had been when I had originally ordered it. To add insult to injury, my copy had a cover that resembled a fussy spinster's guest room wallpaper. I literally had to fight the urge to hide the book under my jacket, lest one of my hipster friends caught sight of me leaving the building with it. But then I opened the front cover and started to read. And was captivated by the first sentence. And the second. By the time I had reached the last page, I was head over heels in love with this book. If you're smart enough to overlook a stupid looking cover for the sake of a great read, pick up this book. You won't be sorry.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

    From its supermarket cover (have you seen it? It felt embarrassing to have such a romantically embossed book in my hands) to its one-dimensional characters, the entire book reminded me of a heavyweight beach read. So....what should get a "nice summer read" review instead trips me up for weeks, unable to write anything about this book and a dozen others because I'm forced to question my reasoning. Why do I feel so bad about being critical of this book? Mostly, I think it's because many friends an From its supermarket cover (have you seen it? It felt embarrassing to have such a romantically embossed book in my hands) to its one-dimensional characters, the entire book reminded me of a heavyweight beach read. So....what should get a "nice summer read" review instead trips me up for weeks, unable to write anything about this book and a dozen others because I'm forced to question my reasoning. Why do I feel so bad about being critical of this book? Mostly, I think it's because many friends and readers I know love this book. But, I also think my stupor of thought is a result of a former self once being able to love this book. My tastes have changed. It's frustrating, because I think the themes Pilcher wrote about are serious enough to do well. Inheritance, greed, sentimentality, playing favorites with children, staying in a loveless marriage, putting a relationship that never fully developed on a pedestal because it escaped the inevitable boredom, irritation, and complacency that all relationships eventually go through. These are things you don't usually find underneath a flowery cover. Overall, The Shell Seekers didn't feel wholly honest to me. The situations did have a semblance of reality. I imagine most of us would have some serious introspection if we discovered a piece of art we owned was suddenly very valuable, especially any art we owned that was created by a beloved relative. However, the characters, written as people who you should like (Penelope, Olivia, Richard), or who you should not like (Nancy, Neil, horrible grandmother and husband whose names I can't remember) didn't have motives - or at least any that I understood. It appears to me that Pilcher confused having the coveted flawed character with having bad characters. Just because a character makes bad choices shouldn't make them bad. I wanted to know why Nancy and Neil cared more about money than their grandfather's painting. Was Neil a gambler and in debt and needed cash? Did Nancy think her marriage would fall apart if she didn't continue to be the lavish bride that her grandmother turned her into? Why in the world would Penelope stay in her never-should-have-happened-marriage when the author has done her best to describe her as a free-spirit, raised by an athiest father and French mother who both could have cared less if she married the father of her baby or took a lover while her husband (who she hoped would either die or leave her for someone else) was at war, who placed a nontraditional value to things (wasn't that the point of the the symbolic painting? Most people would care to know how much it was worth. But not Penelope, who would rather garden and feed people large meals)? Why were Neil and Nancy so shallow and greedy? Because they were genetically like their father and grandmother (who were also inexplicably bad)? Why did Olivia get such a free pass from her mother? Why did we have to invest so much time with her in Greece with her old and linen-clad lover (who I kept imaging as Kris Kristofferson. Odd)? Was I supposed to really care about her gardener's epilepsy? So many more questions that have no satisfying answers because, once again, I don't think this is meant as a serious book. In which case, I'm being snobby and critical. Or it was meant as a serious book and I'm being picky and callous. Or snobby and critical. Take your pick. Oh my...this is such a bad book review. For the confused, I'll tidy things up. I enjoyed the book. I'm disappointed it wasn't more. And that worries me. Because that means I'm a book snob Oh....curse you, Shell Seekers! Why did I ever open your abysmal cover with flowers and shiny typeface? Why? Because there's a well known saying about books and their covers. And I fell for it.

  10. 3 out of 5

    Joey Woolfardis

    Read as part of The Infinite Variety Reading Challenge, based on the BBC's Big Read Poll of 2003. I'm not a huge fan of genreless fiction, not in the least when it has a strong romance-vibe, but I found The Shell Seekers to be a pleasant read. It was not at all taxing and can be described as escapist literature, and requires not an awful lot of mental agility to get through, but that was part of its charm. The best thing about the book was how splendidly well it was written. I wasn't hugely captiv Read as part of The Infinite Variety Reading Challenge, based on the BBC's Big Read Poll of 2003. I'm not a huge fan of genreless fiction, not in the least when it has a strong romance-vibe, but I found The Shell Seekers to be a pleasant read. It was not at all taxing and can be described as escapist literature, and requires not an awful lot of mental agility to get through, but that was part of its charm. The best thing about the book was how splendidly well it was written. I wasn't hugely captivated by the plot, in fact, I thought it was rather weak and there were about 200 superfluous pages, with some extremely tedious moments during the mid-way section that meant I had to put it down for a few days and return to after a short break; having said that, it was a lovely journey to go on and I found myself transported to the wonderful places that the characters inhabited. Speaking of which, I though Penelope was such a wonderful, breath-of-fresh-air character. It's a rare thing in books these days to have a wonderful, strong, independent older woman as a main character in any kind of medium (be it books, film or TV) and I enjoyed her immensely. The other characters were a little back too background for me, though I enjoyed them as they were, and found they all fit in with each other well. It is not a book to change lives, it is simply something to read and enjoy. I did enjoy it, despite my misgivings, though it won't be read again, nor perhaps will it be much thought of ever. But I thoroughly enjoyed reading something that was so well-written and just lovely to get around to. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Shop | Etsy

  11. 3 out of 5

    Abeer Hoque

    I thought this book would be better for all its NYT Book Review (and other) praise, but it wasn't. Ostensibly a sprawling family saga centring around matriarch Penelope, it's basically the same 2 or 3 characters with different names playing out over three generations. If you're a "good" character, then you're independent, stubborn, glossy haired, tall, beautiful. You love France, holiday in Spain, dream of Cornwall, and believe in children out of wedlock and monied bohemian lifestyles (but not t I thought this book would be better for all its NYT Book Review (and other) praise, but it wasn't. Ostensibly a sprawling family saga centring around matriarch Penelope, it's basically the same 2 or 3 characters with different names playing out over three generations. If you're a "good" character, then you're independent, stubborn, glossy haired, tall, beautiful. You love France, holiday in Spain, dream of Cornwall, and believe in children out of wedlock and monied bohemian lifestyles (but not too monied, nor do you care too much about cashola, but it doesn't matter because it will come pouring down in the hundreds of thousands anyway). You know and namedrop all the same (white) (western) painters and authors. You joined the war effort due to the "cultured refugee faced" (I kid you not) Jews who rent rooms in your massive inherited London mansion. You are or love gardeners or artists or offspring of artists. You have a 50% chance of dying in the great war. If you're a "bad" character, you endlessly harp on class and money and other selfish concerns. You have no interest in intimacy or art or any higher calling than social climbing and your awful ugly children and awful ugly spouse or your anorexic supermodel lover of the mo. You are either ugly and empty or beautiful and empty. You hate gardeners. Everyone, regardless of integrity or intention, wants a scotch and soda. So why did I plow through 500+ pages of this? And even tear up at moments? Because the idea of lives fully lived is a powerful one and Ms. Pilcher tells a well paced story, even if it is written in a hackneyed trashy romance style. Certainly it wasn't hard to blow through, and it was sort of fun watching all the foils of the story unfold in mediocrity. I left my copy in Newark Airport on top of the recycling bin for someone else to take it up or pitch it in.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Vera

    Τρυφερό, πολυπρόσωπο, ενδιαφέρον βιβλίο και όμως τόσο δυνατό, η Πίλτσερ παρασύρει τον αναγνώστη σε μια υπέροχη ιστορία. Απο τις πιο χαρισματικές συγγραφείς με ιδιαίτερη ευαισθησία!Συναρπαστικό με εξαιρετικό αφηγηματικό λόγο ταξιδεύει τον αναγνωστή σε πανέμορφα αγγλικά τοπία και κυρίως στην Κορνουάλη, με μοναδικό αφηγηματικό λόγο. Μοναδικό αρνητικο σημείο του οι μακροσκελείς περιγραφές.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    Yes, I have to add agreement. She wrote with such compassion without a hint of the maudlin. Her books were like rich soothing chocolate - perfect for blooming a centered core of caring/ peaceful contemplation. And they never enabled trouble or dysfunction, but seemed to disarm it at the source. The flowers on the bookcovers I understand. Graphics of her gardens. Her characters often centered themselves in gardening and her plant depth (knowledge of form and placements) was phenomenal.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Susu

    I read this years ago when I lived in Seattle. I still remember it. A plot that one remembers for 20 years speaks a lot for a novel.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    “She had loved them all, her children. Loved each one the best, but for different reasons. Love, she had found, had a strange way of multiplying.” Rosamunde Pilcher creates a full and mostly satisfying world here—a family saga heaped with descriptions of lovely gardens, splendid meals, the exotic beauty of Ibiza, and the tranquil coast of Cornwall. In her introduction, she writes that she intended The Shell Seekers to be “A big fat novel for women. ... Something, above all, that tapped into my li “She had loved them all, her children. Loved each one the best, but for different reasons. Love, she had found, had a strange way of multiplying.” Rosamunde Pilcher creates a full and mostly satisfying world here—a family saga heaped with descriptions of lovely gardens, splendid meals, the exotic beauty of Ibiza, and the tranquil coast of Cornwall. In her introduction, she writes that she intended The Shell Seekers to be “A big fat novel for women. ... Something, above all, that tapped into my life and the experiences of my generation.” On that level, it succeeds wonderfully. I agree with Melody that there were some editing hiccups—and with other reviewers who found certain characters one-dimensional. (The vicar’s theology was also troubling.) That said, there’s so much bathing in this novel—lots of “enormously hot and very deep” baths—that I found myself thinking these must be the cleanest characters in all of English literature. 3.5 stars

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mo

    I was at loose ends, not knowing what I felt like reading. I had a CRAZY busy week coming up and I knew I didn't want to waste what little time I had with a mediocre book. So I decided to scroll through my GR friend Sarah’s shelves, and see what she had rated 5 stars. My eye fell upon ‘The Shell Seekers’ and I remembered that our mutual friend Claude also had given it 5 stars. (Then a lightbulb went off over my head. They, along with another mutual friend Gita, had all recommended this book to m I was at loose ends, not knowing what I felt like reading. I had a CRAZY busy week coming up and I knew I didn't want to waste what little time I had with a mediocre book. So I decided to scroll through my GR friend Sarah’s shelves, and see what she had rated 5 stars. My eye fell upon ‘The Shell Seekers’ and I remembered that our mutual friend Claude also had given it 5 stars. (Then a lightbulb went off over my head. They, along with another mutual friend Gita, had all recommended this book to me a while ago, and I had forgotten all about it.) That was good enough for me! I cracked open the book and dug right in. I was hooked by the introduction alone. Rosamunde Pitcher was 60 years old when she wrote this book... her first novel of any real consequence or commercial success. SIXTY! It gives me hope :-)  As to the book… my friends did not steer me wrong. I loved it! I stayed up reading late each night, until my head started bobbing and I reluctantly had to close the book . I couldn’t wait to read it all, yet I couldn’t bear for it to end. A nice problem to have. Thanks Sarah, Claude and Gita!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Emma Rose Ribbons

    A wonderful, perfect reread. My heart is full. ---- This is one of those few times when I feel like Goodreads should have a regular star rating, and then a separate award for those Special Books. Those that take over your mind and soul. Those that somehow strike that perfect balance between cosy and haunting. The Shell Seekers is one such book. Rosamunde Pilcher is an author I've always meant to read, she's often mentioned in the same breath as comforting authors I love - Miss Read, Lucy Maud Mont A wonderful, perfect reread. My heart is full. ---- This is one of those few times when I feel like Goodreads should have a regular star rating, and then a separate award for those Special Books. Those that take over your mind and soul. Those that somehow strike that perfect balance between cosy and haunting. The Shell Seekers is one such book. Rosamunde Pilcher is an author I've always meant to read, she's often mentioned in the same breath as comforting authors I love - Miss Read, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Georgette Heyer, but it took me this long to pick up one of her novels. I chose The Shell Seekers based solely on the title - it's a beautiful evocation of summer, and what better time than the middle of a scorching July to think about seashells? It took me a while to finish it - not that it wasn't good, it was exceptional, but I wanted to really savour it. It's so beautiful. The writing is absolutely gorgeous. Every page I read gave me that wonderful sense of communion with the characters and the places described. They're part of my family now, of my own history. At its heart, it's a story about family and what makes an individual unique - their aspirations, their memories, their possessions. I loved this so much. It's got so much truth about life it's quite staggering. I felt like I constantly needed to reread passages and make them part of those I could recite on a whim. Gorgeous, gorgeous work. If all her novels are as striking, I'm in for a delicious treat.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Έλσα

    4.5 - 4.7/5 Εχω λιγη ωρα που το τελειωσα κ νιωθω ενα καψιμο, ενα γαργαλητο στο στομαχι. Ειναι η γνωστη αντιδραση του οργανισμου μου οταν ενα βιβλιο μου αρεσει πολυ. Νιωθω ταυτοχρονα πικρα, στεναχωρια, χαρα, νοσταλγια, ανακουφιση. Μου αρεσει πολυ η γραφη της Πιλτσερ. Ειναι απλη, αμεση κ επικοινωνιακη. Πολυ σωστα δομημενο το κειμενο. Σε καθε κεφαλαιο σκιαγραφουσε εναν ηρωα κ περιεγραφε τη ζωη του. Ολη η ιστορια περιστρεφεται γυρω απο την Πενελοπε. Αχ, αγαπημενη μου Πενελοπε, τι ζωη εζησες! Μια ζωη 4.5 - 4.7/5 Εχω λιγη ωρα που το τελειωσα κ νιωθω ενα καψιμο, ενα γαργαλητο στο στομαχι. Ειναι η γνωστη αντιδραση του οργανισμου μου οταν ενα βιβλιο μου αρεσει πολυ. Νιωθω ταυτοχρονα πικρα, στεναχωρια, χαρα, νοσταλγια, ανακουφιση. Μου αρεσει πολυ η γραφη της Πιλτσερ. Ειναι απλη, αμεση κ επικοινωνιακη. Πολυ σωστα δομημενο το κειμενο. Σε καθε κεφαλαιο σκιαγραφουσε εναν ηρωα κ περιεγραφε τη ζωη του. Ολη η ιστορια περιστρεφεται γυρω απο την Πενελοπε. Αχ, αγαπημενη μου Πενελοπε, τι ζωη εζησες! Μια ζωη γεματη αποκαλυψεις, παθος, ερωτα, μυστικα, απογοητευση, εκμεταλλευση, χαρα, λυτρωση κ απωλεια... Απωλεια...μια λεξη που ολους μας τρομαζει. Απωλεια αντικειμενων συναισθηματικης αξιας, απωλεια προσωπων. Αντικειμενα που μας θυμιζουν αγαπημενα προσωπα, αντικειμενα που μας ενωνουν με προσωπα κ καταστασεις. Αντικειμενα που αν τα χασουμε ποναμε. Ανθρωπους που αν τους χασουμε, χανουμε τον κοσμο κατω απο τα ποδια μας. Ομως ποια απωλεια ποναει περισσοτερο; Αντικειμενων ή ανθρωπων; Η λεξη "απωλεια" ΠΟΝΑΕΙ ΠΑΝΤΑ! Μια ιστορια που δε θα αφησει κανεναν ασυγκινητο! 🐚🐚🐚🐚🐚🐚🐚🐠🐠🐠🐠🐠🐠🐠🐬🐬🐬🐬🐬🐬🐟🐟🐟🐟🐟🐟🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐳🐳🐳🐳

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    I read this because it is one of my moms favorite authors/books and I wanted to be able to discuss it with her while she is still around. It was very enjoyable and amusing book about a family and the issues one has to deal with as a parent ages. The struggle between letting the parent be independent and still be safe is always a tough one. The thing I took away from this book was the importance of letting a person be who they are no matter their age and limitations. Penelope (the matriarch of th I read this because it is one of my moms favorite authors/books and I wanted to be able to discuss it with her while she is still around. It was very enjoyable and amusing book about a family and the issues one has to deal with as a parent ages. The struggle between letting the parent be independent and still be safe is always a tough one. The thing I took away from this book was the importance of letting a person be who they are no matter their age and limitations. Penelope (the matriarch of the family) is in the later years of her life. After a health scare she is coming face to face with her mortality. She reflects on her past along with taking a good look at the present and her 3 grown children who have not all turned out like she hoped they would. I became so entranced by this book that it was all I wanted to read. There are several surprises along the way and the book is filled with characters that are quite memorable. The descriptions of the feelings, the sights, the sounds the life of Penelope are wonderful…. I will definitely put this book on my "to re-read" list.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Oana

    If, when deciding to pick up this 500+ pages tome, you’re expecting some kind of plot, this is surely not the book for you. If you enjoy evocative dreamy novels and atmospheric writing about mundane beautiful things, then this is the perfect choice. The Shell Seekers is exactly what the blurb tells you it is: a novel of connection: of one family, and of the passions and heartbreak that have held them together for three generations. The quintessential plotless novel. It is about realistic charact If, when deciding to pick up this 500+ pages tome, you’re expecting some kind of plot, this is surely not the book for you. If you enjoy evocative dreamy novels and atmospheric writing about mundane beautiful things, then this is the perfect choice. The Shell Seekers is exactly what the blurb tells you it is: a novel of connection: of one family, and of the passions and heartbreak that have held them together for three generations. The quintessential plotless novel. It is about realistic characters who enjoy fine things and the simple beauty of life. It is about flowers blooming, waves crashing, seagulls gliding, tea/scotch drinking and about listening to the silence (and that is an actual quote). It is about family ties, loneliness and death. There wasn’t one likeable character throughout the entire book, still, I felt their humanity, they were all flawed, but genuine. There wasn’t a single thing that I wasn’t able to foresee long before it happened, but it felt like real life. There wasn’t more to this story than the serene feeling of a slow lovely life in a small cottage near the seaside, but this sensation lingers long after you have finished the book. But that is exactly the overwhelming beauty of the written word.

  21. 5 out of 5

    ✨Susan✨

    I read this a million years ago. I still remember it being so good.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Celia

    Rosamunde Pilcher received a challenge from her publisher, Tom Dunne. He wanted her to write: "A big fat novel for women. A good read. Something to get the teeth into. And something, above all, that taps into your life and the experiences of your generation." She had never written such a book. All of her novels, previously, had taken no more than three months each to write. Ideas were floating about in her head. She came up with three themes: the lives of the upper-class Bohemians who had always Rosamunde Pilcher received a challenge from her publisher, Tom Dunne. He wanted her to write: "A big fat novel for women. A good read. Something to get the teeth into. And something, above all, that taps into your life and the experiences of your generation." She had never written such a book. All of her novels, previously, had taken no more than three months each to write. Ideas were floating about in her head. She came up with three themes: the lives of the upper-class Bohemians who had always had a place in the culture of England; the disastrous effect that the promise of a substantial inheritance can have on a family; and, a need to write about the days before WWII. Pilcher has risen to the task. She has crafted this beautiful story about the last days of Penelope Keeling. Keeling is the daughter of Lawrence Stern, a painter from the Victorian Era, whose paintings have lately come back into vogue, commanding huge prices at the auction houses. Penelope is a widow and has three children: the tiresome Nancy, the cool-headed Olivia, the materialistic Noel. The paintings of Lawrence Stern have everybody's attention. The plot not only highlights the life of Penelope but also fleshes out Olivia beautifully. Yes, I had to put up with the immaturity of Nancy and Noel, but the contrast allowed Penelope and Olivia to look all that much better. The book held my rapt attention throughout its 500+ pages. I highly recommend it for those who love to experience the ins and outs of family drama. 5 stars

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nicola Gipson

    This is one of my favourite books. It really is a magical story and Penelope is a character that stays with you long after you’ve finished the last page. Rosamunde Pilcher is a fantastic storyteller.

  24. 3 out of 5

    Lynne Wald

    Rosmund Pilcher is someone I discovered on holiday in Cyprus. I had finished reading all the books I had taken, and in the hotel there was a BIG book by here called Winter Solstice. Because I had nothing else to do I started to read it. the story is about a woman of 60, ex actress who is involved with a man, of a certain age, who has just lost his wealthy wife and only daughter. The woman takes him under her wings, and he is kicked out of his house by the step sons. the plot involves a house in Rosmund Pilcher is someone I discovered on holiday in Cyprus. I had finished reading all the books I had taken, and in the hotel there was a BIG book by here called Winter Solstice. Because I had nothing else to do I started to read it. the story is about a woman of 60, ex actress who is involved with a man, of a certain age, who has just lost his wealthy wife and only daughter. The woman takes him under her wings, and he is kicked out of his house by the step sons. the plot involves a house in Scotland where they go, different people in her family, an English man coming back from America. Most of the action is over a Christmas. It is fantastically written, again I would agree with one review that says 'Her books are food for the sou'. It is another book I can read over again and the characters have become like friends to me. My hightest praise is that I do care about these characters.

  25. 3 out of 5

    Irina

    Ultrapassou as minhas expectativas. O melhor: Penelope é das melhores personagens que já li. O pior: a ediçao ser antiga com uma traduçao muito antiquada.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carmo

    Adorei este livro. Gosto sempre destas grandes histórias que atravessam gerações. Neste caso começou no entardecer da vida da protagonista: Penélope. A partir daqui é o regresso ao passado e às suas origens, feito num relato emocionante que a autora tornou magnifico. Penélope teve uma infância feliz em Inglaterra, na companhia dos pais - mãe francesa e pai inglês; pintor - e poderia ter tido uma vida comum como qualquer outra mulher, não tivesse a vida reservado para ela algumas surpresas. Atrave Adorei este livro. Gosto sempre destas grandes histórias que atravessam gerações. Neste caso começou no entardecer da vida da protagonista: Penélope. A partir daqui é o regresso ao passado e às suas origens, feito num relato emocionante que a autora tornou magnifico. Penélope teve uma infância feliz em Inglaterra, na companhia dos pais - mãe francesa e pai inglês; pintor - e poderia ter tido uma vida comum como qualquer outra mulher, não tivesse a vida reservado para ela algumas surpresas. Atravessou o flagelo da 2ª guerra mundial, que lhe apresentou o amor fora de horas, para de seguida, lho roubar da pior maneira possível. Sobreviveu e carregou no seu interior, aquela paixão até ao fim dos seus dias. Amou, sofreu, desiludiu-se mas nunca perdeu a garra, a ternura e a generosidade. O marido não foi o grande amor, os filhos não foram perfeitos, mas aprendeu a colher a felicidade nos raros momentos preciosos. Uma grande história, que é também uma lição de vida. Sim, porque a vida raramente é perfeita, e cabe a cada um de nós encontrar e desfrutar dos seus pequenos momentos. Os Apanhadores de Conchas é, na realidade, o nome de um quadro pintado pelo pai, que vai criar algum suspense ao longo da história, mas reserva uma agradável surpresa para o final.

  27. 3 out of 5

    Katherine

    This lovely novel is so atmospheric you feel you're there; you can almost smell the flowers, feel the tang of the sea and see light glint off the water. My first reading of this book, so many years ago, instilled in me such an interest and a love for Cornwall that it remains today, while the well-written characters seem more to be real people than characters from a book. An old favorite that is still a wonderful pleasure to revisit. 4.5 stars instead of 5 simply because there are a few points in This lovely novel is so atmospheric you feel you're there; you can almost smell the flowers, feel the tang of the sea and see light glint off the water. My first reading of this book, so many years ago, instilled in me such an interest and a love for Cornwall that it remains today, while the well-written characters seem more to be real people than characters from a book. An old favorite that is still a wonderful pleasure to revisit. 4.5 stars instead of 5 simply because there are a few points in the story that I always think should have gone differently―but then real people seldom do everything you might hope.

  28. 3 out of 5

    Marialyce

    This novel was positively wonderful. I enjoyed every single page of it.

  29. 3 out of 5

    Bettie☯

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. (view spoiler)[Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]

  30. 4 out of 5

    Megan Baxter

    Another book that I really enjoyed because of the characters - the main character, Penelope, in particular. The story is another of those sprawling family stories (in both time and space and characters), which in general, I enjoy very much, as long as they are skillfully told and executed. Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here. In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgas Another book that I really enjoyed because of the characters - the main character, Penelope, in particular. The story is another of those sprawling family stories (in both time and space and characters), which in general, I enjoy very much, as long as they are skillfully told and executed. Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here. In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

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