This is a book I've long meant to try and this past week was the perfect times to sit, relax and savor this gem. Pilcher has a real talent of setting up her story in way where the reader gets to know everything about each character and get a feel for whatever the setting may be. Her books are long but, never a wasted word IMO either.
This is a story about Penelope Keeling, the family matriarch, now 64 years old, she has just been released from the hospital following a heart attack. She has (3) adult children, all very different as each views their childhood experiences quite differently and have turned out quite different as adults as well. Nancy, the oldest couldn't be more different from her mother - she is the only one who married and was a fancy woman, who wants everything showy and proper, appearances are everything. Noel, the middle child was just going through the motions of life, looking to take the easy way to financial security. At 23, when he was still living at home with his mother instead of thinking about making his way in life, Penelope moved and told him it was time to go out on his own. Olivia, the youngest, was the most genuine, IMO, She seemed to be the only one who fondly remembered her childhood. and was most like her mother.
At the center of the story is a painting called "The Shell Seekers, painted by Penelope's father, Lawrence Stern, when Noel and Nancy realize the painting can sell for a huge amount of money, they encourage their mother to sell it while Olivia, who knows how much it means to their mother, feels it should remain with Penelope as it means so much to her. It was interesting to learn about Penelope's early life back in Cornwall during WWII, people living with other people, the men in her life, the beautiful moments and life's tragedies. This is a book to be enjoyed, and savored. You just don't find many gems like these today. Originally written in 1987. Highly Recommended
Rating - 4.5/5 stars
- “The greatest gift a parent can leave a child is that parent's own independence.”
- “As long as Mumma was alive, she knew that some small part of herself had remained a child, cherished and adored. Perhaps you never completely grew up until your mother died.”
- “She had never lived alone before, and at first found it strange, but gradually had learned to accept it as a blessing and to indulge herself in all sorts of reprehensible ways, like getting up when she felt like it, scratching herself if she itched, sitting up until two in the morning to listen to a concert.”
- “Living, now, had become not simple existence that one took for granted, but a bonus, a gift, with every day that lay ahead an experience to be savoured. Time did not last forever. I shall not waste a single moment, she promised herself. She had never felt so strong, so optimistic. As though she was young once more, starting out, and something marvelous was just about to happen.”