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The Shell Seekers

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  55,703 ratings  ·  1,410 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

Hardcover, 544 pages
Published April 6th 2004 by Gramercy (first published 1987)
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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.
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
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
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.
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
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
Abeer Hoque
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

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, than 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
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
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
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
Lynne Wald
Jun 29, 2007 Lynne Wald rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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Jan 05, 2009 Corrie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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.
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.
Carmo Santos
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
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
Sara Snow
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.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Aug 24, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
Pilcher delivers an engrossing family saga of a British family through four generations. Mostly set in the mid-1980s, it weaves in tales going back to World War II. At the center of the tale is sixty-four year old Penelope Keeling, the daughter of a renowned painter. She possesses only one finished painting of his, "The Shell Seekers" which two of her three grown children covet. The eldest, the "tiresome" Nancy Chamberlain, grew up reading the likes of Barbara Cartland and Georgette Heyer and dr ...more
June Seghni
I first became aware of this a twenty-something new bride visiting my in-laws. The fact that my mother in law raved about it was, to my younger self, a very good reason not to bother with it. I'm a bit sorry now that I'm middle aged myself that I waited all this time because I really loved this book. I'm not sure why...perhaps because I in no small measure identified with the central character of the book Penelope. It is her life that is the central hook on which the rest of the story hangs.She ...more
Patricia Rodrigues
Desde que li a opinião da Canochinha a respeito desde livro, que o quis ler. Depois fui lendo mais opiniões positivas no fórum Estante de Livros. E decidi-me que tinha que fazer parte das minhas leituras. O que faltavam então? Comprar o livro. Decidi-me então encomendar alguns livros que tinha saída com a Revista Sábado, em que "Os Apanhadores de Conchas" teria que estar incluído.
Um ponto negativo, prende-se com a edição do livro e não com a história em si. A fraca (ou inexistente) revisão. Ele
Anastasia Løgstrup Riebs
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
Penelope returns home determined to continue living her independent life after a heart attack sent her to the hospital. Her children have other ideas. Nancy, the oldest, is determined that Penelope have a nurse, badgering Olivia, the middle child, into providing one. Olivia sends Antonia, the daughter of a former lover, who gets along famously with Penelope. Meanwhile Nancy and Noel, the youngest, team up to convince their mother to sell the last few paintings her father, the famous Victorian pa ...more
Every time I read this I see something new. There were passages that were inexcusable, that made me cringe. It's the overall mood I like so much, the learning to be happy despite it all. This book shows the difference between men���s and women���s stories. In stories for men people die but you never see the funeral. Maybe you see the man at graveside pledging eternal revenge but you don't see the personal aftereffects of death. Women's stories do not consider death an end or a means to get the h ...more
Nuno Alexandre Chaves
Soube à página 44, que este seria um livro inesquecível e que me deixaria saudades… Não me enganei.
Creio que já o tinha dito num qualquer artigo anterior, que acredito que existem livros, que aguardam pacientemente que lhes peguemos, pois têm uma altura própria para serem descobertos (mesmo que tardiamente).
Os “Apanhadores de Conchas” foi mais um desses livros...

I'll always remember the feeling that I had when I first read this book. I wanted to live like Penelope, the main character. I loved the extended family with all their accepted imperfections and the domestic descriptions by Rosamunde Pilcher. It's not great literature, and sometimes reads like a well-written romance (not my cup of tea), but it's just one great story and one of the few books that I've ever read and re-read.
Aug 22, 2009 Loni rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Loni by: Book Group, August 2009
I really enjoyed this book. I am not sure if it was because I was reading it while visiting my mom, in Idaho or not, but it really has left me thinking about how important relationships and time are and how insignificant "things" are. I also left me with a great desire to stand on the shores of a beach and walk back to my house with an armful of flowers!
This is one of those "oldie but goodie" types of books that I never got around to reading when it was first published 27 years ago. I'm glad I finally got the chance to read it in September.

Penelope Keeling is the aging main character, who spends part of the novel reflecting back on her life during World War II in Cornwall. She marries Ambrose Keeling, whom she doesn't love, and when Ambrose is sent off to war, begins an affair with Richard, a British naval officer.

At the outset of the novel, Pe
I can read this book once a year (and I usually do!) and never get sick of it. The characters are wonderful, the plot is interesting and the writting is very good. I've read a few others by Rosamonde Pilcher - this is my favorite! A good book for curling up by the fire and reading a weekend away.
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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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“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” 158 likes
“She remembered him smiling, and realized that time, that great old healer, had finally accomplished its work, and now, across the years, the face of love no longer stirred up agonies of grief and bitterness. Rather, one was left feeling simply grateful. For how unimaginably empty the past would be without him to remember.” 49 likes
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