On the heels of a hasty wartime marriage, Penelope Keeling is left to repent at leisure in the English seaside town of Porthkerris, where her artist father and her French mother are spending the duration of World War II. Safe in the embracing arms of that warm household, Penelope forgets her sour husband and takes a lover, and in that relationship, too, she weathers the war's privations and its hardest blows. In a beautifully detailed family saga that shifts effortlessly back and forth in time, Pilcher (Under Gemini) recounts Penelope's story and that of her three children. When their grandfather's work suddenly comes into vogue, Nancy, obsessed over status, and sleek Noel, adept at getting the most and giving the least, join in urging their mother to sell The Shell Seekers, a painting that gives her great joy. Only Olivia, a cool and collected magazine editor, refuses to be party to their barely concealed avarice. Pilcher's 13th book is a satisfying and savory family novel, in which rich layers of description and engagingly flawed characters more than make up for the occasional cliche. 100,000 first printing; $100,000 ad/promo; Troll Book Club main selection.
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At the end of a long and useful life, Penelope Keeling's prized possession is The Shell Seekers, painted by her father, and symbolizing her unconventional life, from bohemian childhood to wartime romance. When her grown children learn their grandfather's work is now worth a fortune, each has an idea as to what Penelope should do. But as she recalls the passions, tragedies, and secrets of her life, she knows there is only one answer...and it lies in her heart.
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