It seems only apt that I finished reading this on the evening before what would have been my nan’s 92nd birthday. Apt because, when we came to the morbid task of sorting through her possessions after she passed away, this was one of the items that I decided to keep. I’d read some other Rosamunde Pilcher books, and although set in a bygone era, I’d enjoyed them. If only I’d realised my nan’s literary tastes were so similar to mine whilst she was still with us.
The origin of the book isn’t the only reason that my timing for completing it is so apt it’s also the content. The book tells the tale of Penelope, an artist’s daughter, now in later life, but still full of independence and energy. Penelope doesn’t take kindly to her children’s pleas to take it easy. Neither does she take kindly to her children’s plans for her pride possession – a painting by her late father, which is now worth a considerable sum.
Family sagas, the battle between adult children and their independent but aging parents are just some of the topics which the book tackles in it’s charming, if a little dated, way. Throughout the book Penelope reminisces about her somewhat bohemian and action-packed life. I particularly enjoyed her war-time reminisces, which painted a real picture of who Penelope used to be, someone who perhaps, her children didn’t even realise she ever was, and a persona which Penelope seems keen to rekindle with her new acquaintances.
One of the things I really enjoy about Rosaumunde Pilchard’s novels is her character development. By the end of the novel you’ve got a really good feel of the individual characters of each of Penelope’s children.
The down side to the book is that, at 671 pages, it does get rather rambly. But perhaps that’s the point? Who hasn’t sat there patiently whilst an elderly relative regales you with tales of their youth? Certainly my nan could spin a good yarn about her younger years, or of when her father returned from the war.
Perhaps the moral to this book is that the next time someone takes the time to share their past with us, we should at least take the time to listen?
Fabulous rating: 3/5