The Shell Seekers (by Rosamunde Pilcher)

This is a charming 'circular' family saga by Rosamunde Pilcher, which I enjoy more each time I read it.

Penelope is sixty-four, and his just discharged herself from hospital after a suspected heart attack. She ponders which of her adult children to phone, and decides on Olivia, after giving a brief word picture of each of them.

The next chapter switches to the viewpoint of Nancy, Penelope's oldest daughter, who is uncomfortably married with two demanding teenagers.

Each subsequent chapter is written from the viewpoint of a different character from Penelope's life, past and present, gradually spreading out amongst friends and new acquaintances. The characters are well-rounded and lovable, the digressions into the past are so well-written that they're not annoying or intrusive, but build up a wonderful picture of Penelope as a young woman.

There's a rather shocking climax, yet in context it works; the conclusion is then hopeful and positive. Highly recommended. You can read a longer review I wrote of 'The Shell Seekers' called 'Peerless Pilcher' at the Ciao site.

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