Rosamunde Pilcher is well known for her beautifully descriptive books about the countryside of England and Scotland. For the record, I am one who at times skips some intensely descriptive sections of novels because I begin to feel like I am drowning in them. The continuous onslaught of detail after detail can make my eyes glaze over and my mind lose track of the point of the paragraph because I get so caught up in the minutia. I realized after many years that it wasn’t just that I skipped over description in general; I soon figured out that it was “bad” description that lost my interest. It seems some authors believe that if they just load the reader up with more and more details they are performing the task I always assigned my students to do as readers – paint the picture so that the reader can envision it in their heads as they read. The problem is that some authors seemed to believe that quantity of details could make up for quality.

Rosamunde Pilcher is the author who proved to me that it truly was quality that mattered. Her descriptions truly do paint the picture for the reader and what a gorgeous picture it created. In fact, I fell so in love with the places she told me about that I was ready to pack my bags and move to Scotland. It’s not just lovely environments that Pilcher creates however; she also develops some of the most interesting characters I have ever known. Again, I wished I could pack a bag and head out to meet these people in person. They seemed like the kind of people I would want to interview, to write about myself, to befriend, and to learn from.

Pilcher’s book are generally “family sagas” often spanning several generations and giving the reader a picture of how the family and its members developed over time. The characters all show a love and respect of each other and their environments. Pilcher began by writing short stories for women’s magazines and a few lesser known novels in 1949. Finally her novel “The Shell Seekers” was published in 1987 and made its way to the bestseller list and received a strong fan following. It was eventually made into a movie as well. Her novels “September” (a sequel to “The Shell Seekers”) and “Winter Solstice” (a love story between two “senior” adults) follow very much in the footsteps of “The Shell Seekers”.

Through each one I feel as though there are lessons I have learned about people, places, and life. From each one I come out with those lessons and carry them with me through the rest of my days. In “The Shell Seekers”, the main characters tell each other to “Cherish yourself,” and this tiny statement carried much power with it to me. Not long after I was in a serious car accident with my Mother and my daughter and that statement took on such special meaning for me. I repeated it to the two of them whenever the long recovery and rehabilitation process seemed to be getting us down and I repeated it to myself when I needed reminding that it was a good thing to take time for myself. I remember a book by Mother Teresa where she talks a lot about filling the well. She reminds readers that if you continually empty your well to others, some day the well will be dry and you will have nothing left to give. Taking time for yourself, then, is not a selfish thing to do; rather it is one of the most selfless things you can do for yourself and for those who depend on you. You have to replenish the well if you wish to nourish yourself and in turn, if you wish to be able to help nourish others as well. Those two little words, “cherish yourself”, and the context in which they were spoken in the book never fail to remind me of that important life lesson.

Pilcher has since gone into retirement and her son Robin Pilcher has taken up the torch, writing novels much in her style. The legacy of Rosamunde Pilcher lives on in her words, her creations, her lessons for all of us contained within her books. From time to time I reread her stories, soaking in those lessons once again; they themselves serving to “replenish the well” and nourish my soul.

 

Come join us along with Rosamunde at Table 42 as she shares with us more of her lessons in life and love. Refill your well and nourish your soul.

 

Cyn

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