THE SHELL SEEKERS by Rosamunde Pilcher was published1987 and is 530 pages. One of my dear writing partners, Jennifer Lyn King, recommended it to me several times, and I found it at my local library. The librarian at checkout “Ooohed” when I picked it up, and after having finished it, I’ll have to agree.
Mostly set in Cornwall and London in the 1980s and during the second World War, THE SHELL SEEKERS is the story of the loves, heartbreaks, and children of Penelope Keeling, and the canvas, painted by her famous father, that connects three generations through time and place.
When the novel begins, Penelope has suffered a small heart attack, and her three grown children respond in practical and selfish ways. Smart business woman, Olivia, handles the difficulty with the ease of a corporate transaction, while her siblings Nancy and Noel try to persuade their mother to sell her father’s famous paintings under the guise of ensuring Penelope’s well being and care.
Penelope is no fool, however, and she gracefully handles her children while making her own plans. Amidst remembrance and a stubborn will to persist, Penelope continues to live her life as she always has–on her own terms–and what results from her choices blooms as radiantly as her beautiful gardens.
From the open, Bohemian household in which Penelope was raised, to her painfully empty marriage, to the sweetness of young love and second chances, THE SHELL SEEKERS weaves together heartbreak and joy, conflict and peace, and devastation and elation so authentically that it feels as if the Keeling family truly exists.
I am so grateful to Jennifer for recommending this moving family saga to me, and I must recommend it to you. If you are a fan of novels in the style of THE THORN BIRDS, I highly suggest you read THE SHELL SEEKERS.