Friday Book Whimsy: September

Once in a while, I’m in the mood for a tome. A real multigenerational novel that has surprises and family drama and things that work out in the end. And, it takes many luxurious reading hours to get to the end. I am especially fond of an epic novel if the writing is good.

 And it is no surprise that the writing in September, by Rosamunde Pilcher, is better than good. Her writing is extremely readable, her stories are complex and interesting, and her characters are likeable. She was one of my mom’s favorite authors, and if she was good enough for my mommy, she’s certainly good enough for me.

The story revolves around a ball/party that one of the characters decides to throw in honor of her daughter in September. There hasn’t been such a gala in many years, and the event brings home unexpected people. Violet Aird has been an important person in many people’s lives, and much of the story revolves around her. Her granddaughter Alexa is one of the unexpected people who is coming, and bringing her new boyfriend.

But the story mostly revolves around Pandora, who left the village years and years ago and never returned. Now, she is returning for this party. While happy she is coming, everyone wonders what is causing her to make an appearance after so long.

Well, you have to wait until the end of the novel to find out.

My favorite novel by this author is The Shell Seekers, so it was fun that there was a connection from that book to this book. The main character in The Shell Seekers was the grandmother of one of Alexa’s boyfriend’s grandmother. This story takes place in Scotland, always a good locale for an epic novel.

I read the book in the fall, and that added to the fun, given the novel’s title.

I recommend the book, and many of Pilcher’s (who passed away in February of this year) books.

Here is a link to the book.

Friday Book Whimsy: Coming Home

imgresIn my 61 years on this earth I have read exactly two Rosamunde Pilcher books. I read Shell Seekers a few years ago as part of a book club and I just recently completed Coming Home.  I enjoyed Shell Seekers (perhaps Pilcher’s most well-known book), but apparently not enough to quickly pick up another. However, I recently was in the mood to dive into a long, romantic, British novel after completing a particularly violent and disturbing book that involved dog fighting. That’s all I’ll say about that.

Coming Home was the perfect book to read.

I am always kind of embarrassed to review a book that probably most of my readers have read several times over the years. But I found Coming Home to be such an enjoyable book that even if you have already read it, I think you should pick it up and enjoy it again.

The novel takes place just prior to, during, and just after World War II, mostly in the Cornwall area of England. When the novel begins, Judith is a young girl. Her father is in some sort of foreign service, and Judith hasn’t seen him for several years. Her mother mostly lives with her father, but at the beginning of the novel, is with Judith and Judith’s 4-year-old sister Jess. Mother gets Judith settled into boarding school in Cornwall, and then she and Jess leave to be with Judith’s dad in Singapore, expecting Judith to join them in a few years.

Unfortunately World War II happens, and things go awry. But a wealthy family steps in and Judith becomes a part of their life.

The story has its ups and downs, its tears and laughter, and its romances and foibles. But the characters in this delicious novel are unforgettable. I get so tired of caricatures: Rich people are evil; uncles are perverted; lonely aunts tipple away their lives. Pilcher threw aside caricatures when she wrote this wonderful story, and her memorable characters result in an amazing story of love that transcends everything. And not just romantic love, but also love between parents and children and friends and aunts and uncles and cousins.

I loved the Cornwall background. Pilcher’s descriptions are so vivid and thorough. In fact, she takes so much time describing a place that there could be a danger of losing her readers. Fortunately, at least for me, her descriptions were so clear and lovely that I enjoyed every word, and felt throughout the book that I could see the colors and hear the sea and taste the salt in the air.

While lengthy (as all good British epic novels should be), I will never again hesitate to pick up a Pilcher novel and hope for the best.

Buy Coming Home at Amazon here.

Buy Coming Home at Barnes and Noble here.

Buy Coming Home at Tattered Cover here.

Buy Coming Home at Changing Hands here.