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The Shell Seekers

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  68,430 Ratings  ·  1,745 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 544 pages
Published April 6th 2004 by Gramercy (first published 1987)
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Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur GoldenGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jun 11, 2007 Rachael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 28, 2008 Mathew rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Feb 29, 2012 Laura rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
May 19, 2010 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mycuppa
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
Aug 07, 2009 Lucy rated it liked it
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
May 01, 2013 Vera rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourite
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.
Abeer Hoque
Jun 19, 2009 Abeer Hoque rated it it was ok
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
Saoirse Sterling
Read as part of the #InfiniteVariety2016 Reading Challenge based on the BBC's Big Read poll.

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
Dec 24, 2015 Jeanette rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 26, 2016 Mo rated it it was amazing
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 ...more

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
Nov 02, 2009 Jill rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Silvéria Miranda
Apr 18, 2016 Silvéria Miranda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: na-estante
4,5* - Personagem principal (Penelope) muito marcante. História que gira em volta de um quadro (que dá título ao livro) e do que o seu valor acarreta. O capítulo 11 dava todo ele uma história à parte (e das boas!).
Pena esta edição ser péssima e dar cabo de alguma dinâmica da história e qualidade da escrita.
Carmo Santos
Jul 17, 2014 Carmo Santos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favoritos, inglaterra
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
Lynne Wald
Jun 29, 2007 Lynne Wald rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: women everywhere
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
Mar 17, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this a million years ago. I still remember it being so good.
Dec 03, 2009 Stacy rated it liked it
Shelves: british-lit
This story is told half through flashback and half in the “present”. (It’s a little dated - when the author describes the clothing, it’s all very 80's.) It was a suitable read for a cold winter’s night when I wanted to escape to England. I certainly learned more about British English, rich in phrases such as “She smelt the heather and the primroses”, “We none of us throw anything out”, and “Don’t let us go back to the cottage!”

Penelope is an interesting character and at times I admired her stren
Tempo de Ler
Quando passo o enredo de Os Apanhadores de Conchas em revista não consigo deixar de o achar muito interessante; aqui temos uma mulher que se encontra muito possivelmente no final da sua vida e que decide, portanto, embarcar numa última viagem ao passado, regressar às suas origens. Penelope transporta-nos até aos anos 40, época de uma guerra que não só condicionou todos os aspetos do seu cotidiano mas que também promoveu o encontro com o homem que se tornou seu esposo e pai dos seus três filhos - ...more
Jul 04, 2010 Heather rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 06, 2008 Richard rated it really liked it
a novel set in England during WWII and into the supposed present. This is one of Lynnette’s favorite books so I wanted to read it to try to understand what she likes. It is written with a definite woman’s point of view in terms of language and emphasis. I did like the book; Pilcher is a very good writer with depth in her characterizations and descriptions of places and people. The story is about an older woman, Penelope, who reflects back on her life. She has three older children, two who are se ...more
Aug 05, 2013 Melody rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't exactly, truly, really file this under Burton Browbeating. But I'm doing it anyway because without Burton booktalking, I would probably not have picked this up. It's the kind of thing I used to read, sprawled on a raft, when there was all the time in the world for fat books about people the likes of whom I'd never met. It's easy, now, to be dismissive of that earlier self and all her indulgent habits. But she's still in there, and this book was exactly right for me now.

I loved the peopl
Apr 27, 2016 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddy-reads
“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
Jan 05, 2009 Corrie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Corrie by: Pam Tomlin, my Grandma Gloria and my neighbor Alison
This book was originally given to me by my friend Pam to give to my grandmother. They are both huge Maeve Binchy fans and Pam thought my grandmother would enjoy this book also. Pam loved the story. It turned out that my grandmother had already read it. She also loved the story. So, I put the book on my shelf and there is sat - for years. Recently, my neighbor, totally out of the blue, mentions that she is rereading one of her favorite books - The Shell Seekers. So, I figure I should read it. I m ...more
Tender, rambling, interesting book and yet so powerful, the Pilcher trick the reader into a wonderful story.

From the most gifted writers with great sensitivity! Exciting with excellent narrative takes the reader on gorgeous English countryside and mainly in Cornwall, with a unique narrative.
Only negative point of the lengthy descriptions.
Sara Snow
Feb 10, 2013 Sara Snow rated it it was amazing
I don't know why, but it took me a bit to get into this book. Once I did, though, I didn't want these new friends to leave me. I felt as if I was learning so much from them (as I always hope to from the cast of characters in a great book); about how to treat others, where to place your emphasis, and never assuming you can bully or even influence someone just because they may seem more vulnerable than you. I was sad to see this book end.
Bonnye Reed
Jul 27, 2015 Bonnye Reed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: keepers, arc-s
Xxx I received this novel, an ARC, from St. Martin's Press and Rosamunde Pilcher as a Goodreads giveaway. I am excited to read it again. My first reading of the The Shell Seekers was nearly 30 yeas ago, when my children were small and time was tight. Already I am seeing it from a whole different prospective.

In my first reading of The Shell Seekers in the late 1980's my sympathy and empathy were with the three children of Penelope Keeling - Especially Olivia, but also Nancy and Noel. Sure, hered
Naked Consciousness
An older title, Rosamunde Pilcher's The Shell Seekers has a timeless quality in its beauty and allure. It is the story of Penelope Keeling, mother of three adult children, Olivia, Noel, and Nancy, and how her past lives before entering into motherhood intercept with their own in unseen ways.

The book is set in (at the time) modern day 1980's, but as Penelope journeys inward to her source of self, she remembers her life in the fullness of love during WW2 in war-torn in Cornwall, England by the se
Nov 08, 2015 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e, historical-fiction
There are some books which take time to get into. This is not one of them. And it certainly makes you think!

I love novels in which several generations of a family are depicted, as is this, taking you back to the past and knitting it into the present, and I defy anyone not to reflect on their own mother, siblings and children while reading "The Shell Seekers"! It's the only novel I have read by Rosamunde Pilcher: I found the story inspiring (I must go back to Cornwall one day!) and the writing s
Tender, rambling, interesting book and yet so powerful, the Pilcher trick the reader into a wonderful story.

From the most gifted writers with great sensitivity! Exciting with excellent narrative takes the reader on gorgeous English countryside and mainly in Cornwall, with a unique narrative.
Only negative point of the lengthy descriptions.
Feb 19, 2016 María rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
3 de 5 estrellas (Me ha Gustado)
Un libro que da hambre, ganas de viajar y de tener un invernadero.
Es una lectura agradable, sencilla y amena que viene bien para desconectar y dar rienda suelta a los sentidos.
Le sobran páginas y le falta algo de "chicha" para mi gusto pero aun así, me ha gustado leerla y conocer sobre todo al personaje de Penélope
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Rosamunde Scott was born on 22 September 1924 in Lelant, Cornwall, England, UK, daughter of Helen and Charles Scott, a British commander. Just before her birth her father was posted in Burma, her mother remained in England. She attended St. Clare's Polwithen and Howell's School Llandaff before going on to Miss Kerr-Sanders' Secretarial College. She began writing when she was seven, and published h ...more
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“She believed, of course ... because without something to believe in, life would be intolerable.” 1992 likes
“It was good, and nothing good is truly lost. It stays part of a person, becomes part of their character. So part of you goes everywhere with me. And part of me is yours, forever” 199 likes
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