September (by Rosamunde Pilcher)

How I love Rosamunde Pilcher's writing! I re-read all her books periodically, knowing I'm going to love them all the more each time. Her characterisation is the best I have ever come across, with believable and lovable characters that get right under my skin.

'September' is one of her longer novels, although it's not a saga since it takes place in only about five months. Verena is organising a ball for her daughter Katie's 21st birthday in September. The story revolve around her friends who are invited, from May until the ball itself takes place.

There are so many wonderful people - delightful Vi, a worried and wise grandmother; Virginia, who can't bear the thought of her son Henry going to boarding school at the age of eight; Alexa, falling in love in London; Pandora, who ran away when she was eighteen, and - twenty years later - finally considers returning home. Such real people, I felt as if I'd known them for years.

This novel is one of my favourites. It's very moving in places, and there's a bit of suspense too, although not so much as I felt the first time I read it. The ending is bittersweet yet encouraging. Highly recommended.

Note: there is also a made-for-TV film version of 'September' available on DVD; it sticks fairly close to the story, and is very well done.

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