THE SHELL SEEKERS by Rosamunde Pilcher


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Following upon Pilcher's several comfy women's novels and collection of short stories (The Blue Bedroom and Other Stories, 1985) comes this chronicle of an indomitable Englishwoman. Living in her Cotswold cottage as the novel unfolds, Penelope Keeling is in her 60s, recovering from a heart attack and dodging the clumsy attempts of her progeny--a self-satisfied matron named Nancy; hopelessly venal and immature son, Noel; and Olivia, a workaholic magazine editor--to take over her affairs. Penelope is the daughter of Victorian artist Lawrence Stern, and though Noel and Nancy encourage her to sell her small legacy of canvases, Penelope staunchly keeps them, for they remind her of her idyllic childhood on the Cornish coast and of her lover, Richard Lomax, who died scaling the Normandy cliffs in WW II. Then Penelope befriends a young couple, Antonia and Danus, whom she comes to think of as her spiritual heirs. One morning she expires neatly on a garden bench; when her will is read, her greedy children get the shock of their lives--and Danus and Antonia, a windfall. Lots of weepy sentimentalism here, Cornish coast atmosphere, and Cotswold quaintness--in fact, probably enough to compensate for the slim plot and peculiar illogic of Penelope's character: she dies a fully satisfied woman despite the fact that her life has been a long chain of dashed hopes and misfortunes.

Pub Date: Jan. 18th, 1987
ISBN: 1405695382
Publisher: St. Martin's