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Search tags: Rosamunde-Pilcher
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-12-06 19:29
It Was the Worst of Times...
The Empty House - Rosamunde Pilcher

It didn't occur to me this would fit for any tasks until I recalled that the Russian Mother's Day book tasks said read a book if it involves a mother. Luckily for me, the main character in this one is a mother of two.

 

Wow. I just cannot. This book was published in 1971 so I tried to make allowances for the main character Virginia. I just gave up that at the point that she literally decides to move her two children, who just lost their father, to live in a place with a man that she talked to only twice in her life, more than 10 years ago. 


I usually don't like to do spoiler reviews, but so great is my rage at this book, that I am going to do it.

 

So..."The Empty House" follows Virginia Keile. Virginia is visiting with an old friend of her mother's in Cornwall and essentially recovering from being made a widow at 27. Virginia has two young kids (a boy and girl) who are currently staying with her mother in law. It never seems to occur to Virginia that maybe she should be with her children by the way until the love interest pops up (I digress). This book really just goes into the backstory of Virigina and her love interest Eustace.

 

I hated almost every character in this one except for the kids and the poor mother in law. Virginia spends the book obsessing over Eustace. Though Virginia has been married for almost 10 years, she still wishes that Eustace had called her like he promised he would when she was visiting the family friends. She goes back and forth over everything and how even though she was 17 when she met his 28 year old self she fell for him. Their conversation was beyond boring and nothing of substance was even said. Sorry, the whole plot about her falling for him and he for her with the age differences just squicked me out. I would still argue how much did he fall for her though since the dialogue we get in this book is beyond boring. They just had two separate conversations. 

 

Virginia's mother is made to be the villain of the piece since she wanted her daughter to marry well, and probably had qualms about a 28 year old farmer romancing her daughter. I also didn't like Eustace since he was rude to everyone in this one, but hey, I guess he had ethics or something. I don't know.

 

“Hallo,” said Eustace, meeting her eye with an unblinking blue gaze.

Her hand was half-way out to shake his, but Eustace either didn’t see this or chose to ignore it.

Mrs. Parsons’s hand dropped back to her side.

Her manner became, subtly, a fraction more cool.

Yeah, if I meet someone for the first time that is trying to romance my daughter and they pulled this, I would totally be cool to them too.

 

Eustace is just nasty to Virginia from what I can see. He calls her a terrible mother for not being with her children and having them come and stay with her. He acts like the kids father as soon as they meet (it was disconcerting). And then pretty much within like a freaking day Virginia is all we will stay here and live with you forever. Let's go tell the children.

 

“I don’t think you can give a damn for your children. You don’t want to be bothered with them. Someone else has always done the washing and the ironing and you’re not going to start now. You’re too bloody idle to take them for picnics and read them books and put them to bed. It’s really nothing to do with Bosithick. Whatever house you found, you’d be sure to find something wrong with it. Any excuse would do provided you never have to admit to yourself that you can’t be bloody bothered to take care of your own children.”

 

Literally hasn't seen her for 10 years and this comes up.

 

“Well, what am I going to eat?” Eustace caught the tail end of this conversation as he came, dripping, up the beach. “What’s this?” He stopped to pick up a towel. “I’m very hungry and Mummy hasn’t brought anything to eat.” “Too bad,” said Eustace unsympathetically.

 

I guess screw kids being hungry and actually wanting food. I just cannot.

 

The book tries to paint Virginia as a victim to her mother and dead husband, but I had zero sympathy for her. She signed up for everything she got and didn't really care about her husband. She wanted something that she thought she glimpsed when she was in Eustace's home for maybe an hour 10 years ago. It felt childish to me. She put out zero effort with other people and just continued to allow things to happen to her. I assume if there was ever a sequel that Virginia would find herself fully under Eustace's thumb. That is 100 percent not love. 


The writing wasn't great. It just read as repetitive after a while. The dialogue between characters was stilted. The great reveal in the end about how Virginia was kept apart from her first love was beyond dumb. How she couldn't see that baffled me. Also who cares at this point?!

 

The flow was not good. I loved Piclher's other books so much and this one was just a dud. It was a chore to keep going since we had Virginia going back and forth about things and just generally acting like a victim the whole time.


The ending was ludicrous. She and her two kids are leaving Scotland forever to live with Eustace in Cornwall. I assume if there was an epilogue we would have heard how the mother in law tried to fight for custody or something. 

 

Russian Mother's Day

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review 2018-11-19 21:03
A Festive Re-read
Winter Solstice - Rosamunde Pilcher

I read this book nearly every year in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I have loved Rosamund Pilcher's sagas since I picked up The Shell Seekers at a Barnes and Noble somewhere around 20 years ago. I passed it onto my mother, who fell in love with her writing.

 

I don't know if Winter Solstice is my favorite Pilcher, but it is such a comfortable read for me that I can't give it less than 5 stars. I love all of the characters, and I love the theme of the book, which really acknowledges that sometimes your most important family is the family that you create. The relationship that grows between the lonely Lucy, whose self-centered parents are wrapped up too deeply into their own lives to give her the attention she deserves and Elfrida, her great-aunt, a former actress who never had children, but whose peripatetic life was endlessly fulfilling, is perfect. 

 

This is one of those books that I can't see clearly, because it has become a part of my bookish DNA. I've read it probably dozens of times, and each time I pick it up, it's like saying hello to a group of old friends that I've not seen for a while. The best kind of comfort read.

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review 2018-07-10 19:49
I Wanted a Romance Book Taking Place in Scotland....This Was Not That Book
The End of Summer - Rosamunde Pilcher

Eh, at least this was short. What a no-nothing story. I have pretty much loved every Pilcher book and to read this one and have it fall so short was a surprise. I think the main issue was that there was no development of any characters and you could call the story from beginning to end. It read like a not very interesting soap opera.

 

"The End of Summer" has Jane Marsh returning to her grandmother's home in Scotland called Elvie. Jane and her father left Scotland almost a decade ago. Jane knows that her grandmother wanted to keep her. And she wanted to stay too to live with her and her first cousin Sinclair. However, she felt a duty to follow her father and take care of him. Now that her father has a potential new love, Jane rushes home to Elvie and Sinclair. She soon feels torn between him and another love interest, her grandmother's lawyer, David.

 

Jane was a non-entity practically in this book. She is determined to stay with her father until he dares to fall for someone else. Then she leaves America with David to go back to her grandmother. And even though any person with eyes can see that Sinclair is not good, she stays blind to him and his ways. She doesn't seem to have a burning need to do anything but get married and have children. I wish she had felt passionate about something. The romance was really missing throughout this book and I am still annoyed I wasted my time on reading this. It read a lot to me like Christie and her whole bright young thing takes on terrible ass man in order to keep him on his ps and qs.

 

Dave and Sinclair were both cut from the same boring cloth. I really didn't care who Jane chose even though there is a whole information dump via a character for you to find out about a character who has kept things hidden (not really, just read between the lines).

Jane's grandmother was not portrayed as strong. I really had a lot of questions about decisions she makes, but we don't really get a chance to dwell on anything since the book is so short.

 

Jane's father is barely in this book and then shows up via letter that I thought was a cheat. There should have been more discussions between the two of them since he kept things from Jane and it also didn't make any sense to me as a reader.

 

The writing in this one doesn't sing to me like in previous Pilcher books. Scotland doesn't come alive and neither does Elvie. We get information dumps galore and nothing flows well because of that.

 

The setting of this book takes place I want to say in the 1970s. I say that because Sinclair makes a comment about the U.S. being full of anti-war protests. It doesn't feel like a book in the 70s because Jane seems to be anti-independent woman and having any thoughts of her own really.

 

The ending was lackluster. We have Jane with her choice at the end of summer (October) with her thoughts going towards the future.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-05-30 16:39
A Time for Healing and an Impromptu Family
Winter Solstice - Rosamunde Pilcher

I ended up enjoying the two books of Pilcher I read so much I decided to read this one and hang waiting until this Fall. "Winter Solstice" touched me a lot. I can see why Moonlight re-reads this one every year. I can see me re-reading this come December. It was a really delightful book and I have to say that everyone in it was fantastic. I am also glad that Pilcher didn't give the characters of Sam and Carrie a happily ever after with romance linked to it. If anything, I see these two as friends, and believe that is probably things will stay due to Carrie's job. I for one am thrilled we didn't have some mess with a woman giving up her sense of self and job for a man. 

 

I am going to give a word of warning here for those who think this is typical romance. There is adultery in this one, and even a situation where we have something going on between a recently widowed man and one of the main characters. I was a bit surprised at first, but rolled with it since it just worked. Moving on to the book now. 

 

Elfrida is a retired actress who has recently moved out of London and is determined to start over again for the last time. She has adopted a dog (Horace) and is determined to be more involved with her nephew and his family. She is taken in by a local family, the Blundell's anf feels a kinship with the father, Oscar, and his daughter, Francine. She realizes she is in danger of it turning into something more and goes away for a month in order to be with her family. When she returns, she finds out that Oscar's wife and daughter have been killed, and he is subsequently being turfed out of his home by his stepsons. Elfrida is taking into Oscar's uncle's confidence and is told about half a house he owns in Scotland. She decides that is where she and Oscar will go so that he can heal away from the village that has so many memories of his dead wife and child. 

 

The book then flips back and forth between Elfrida's nephew's daughter Carrie, a businessman named Sam, Oscar, and Carrie's niece Lucy. All of these people have something going on in their lives that will cause them to be in Scotland for Winter Solstice (and Christmas). 

 

Carrie is getting over a love affair that went south. Moving back to London has her realizing that her mother and sister are still selfish. She ends up taking the reigns on being there for her niece Lucy after her sister is insisted on going to the U.S. for the holidays and her mother refusing to cancel her holiday plans. When Carrie reaches out to her aunt to stay with for the holidays (they really have no place else to go) they join her and Oscar in Scotland with the promise that no one will be celebrating the holiday.


Lucy is a teenager and is frustrated that her father has pretty much disappeared into his new life with his new wife and no her mother is trying to do the same. Her Aunt Carrie coming to the rescue with them going to Scotland for the holidays is just what Lucy needs. She meets a boy named Rory Kennedy and finds herself getting some confidence and finally someone to champion her. 

 

Sam is English, but had lived in New York for years. Newly separated, he is back in England with the proposition of a new job that will have him living in Scotland. I was meh on Sam. He wasn't a bad character or anything. I just didn't find him as engaging as everyone else in this book. And I thought it was pretty bad taste for him to try things on a bit with Carrie. I am glad that got the needed push back it deserved. 

 

I loved each and every piece of this. I also loved Elfrida actually being frustrated with Oscar at times (it's believable) with him wanting to hide from the world and the church and being at first upset that Elfrida's nieces are forced to come to them for the holidays. 

 

The book's settings move from a village in England and then mainly to Scotland. The whole place seemed quite magical. We get to read some what about the inhabitants of the place, but not too much though. We get insights into the Kennedy clan, a widowed and ill man, and Elfrida's housekeeper and her husband. 

 

I do think that the ending made sense for this book. There are still troubles thrown characters way, but they are doing the best that they can with what they got. I would have loved a sequel to this just to see how Elfrida, Oscar, and Lucy end up with Elfrida and Oscar in essence deciding to raise Lucy cause her mother has pretty much abandoned her.  

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review 2018-05-30 16:17
Don't Know What Else to Say Besides I Enjoyed It
The Shell Seekers - Rosamunde Pilcher

Even though I gave this five stars, I do want to say that the back and forth between timelines got a bit much after a while. I still loved this book, but when I re-read it in the future, I will probably just skip over that and stay mostly in the present parts of this book. 

 

"The Shell Seekers" follows Penelope Keeling and her family. Penelope is 64 years old and  is self-sufficient and determined to do her own thing, even though two of her adult children (Nancy and Noel) are hell-bent on either making sure their mother has a carer and finding out where the paintings their grandfather did (one of them called the Shell Seekers) in order to sell them after finding out how much they are now worth. 

 

The only child of Penelope's that will not make you want to smack them upside the head is Olivia.  

 

The book showcases Penelope's life, we follow her childhood, dealing with World War II, and then a loveless marriage that causes her to do what she can to support herself and her children due to her terrible husband. The book goes from that and to the present with her finding new friends that she cares about, Antonia (related to someone who was once close to Oilvia) and the gardener.  

 

I will say that due to reading "September" it was nice to find out in a little way what happened to Penelope's children, and we get to see a much different side to Noel. That said, reading this book, I ended up really disliking him and Nancy. Frankly I wish that Penelope had a chance to really tell off her two children. Selfish wasn't even the word.

 

Nancy without realizing it, seems to be in a loveless marriage and her two children are going to just disappear from her life one day. She blames her mother for a lot of things that made me want to tell her to grow up myself. 


Noel is hell-bent on money. You don't really get why since he seems to be doing well. 

 

Olivia seemed to be the only child that got her (we find out why that may be later) and the one she was closest to. We do find out about a man that Olivia was in love with, but that whole part was boring to me. Not enough for me to lower my rating, but enough for me to go okay, can we please get past this soon?

 

The writing was lyrical and once again I do think that Pilcher's books shine when she describes what is going on during World War II. That said, the flow of the book was affected by going back and forth to Penelope's past and the present day. We also would switch POVs too, so you don't just stick with Penelope through this, you go and read Nancy's, Noel's, and Olivia's, and even Penelope's mother, etc. in this one. 


The main setting of this book was Cornwall. I swear after reading the last couple of Pilcher books I need to visit there and Scotland. She really does a great job making the places in her books feel like characters. 

 

I have to say that the ending of the book was a surprise. I don't want to spoil, but thank goodness for Olivia. I would have loved to read a book with her in it as a central character again. Too bad that Pilcher is retired. 

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