EXCERPT: Anyway, there we were, on an early April afternoon riding along the sands when the mist came in. Or ‘fret’ as they call it in Northumberland. Daisy, being Northumbrian born and bred, was no more spooked by the fret than I was, but continued placidly on her way until we came to the rocks that mark the end of the bay.
We could not see these rocks, but there was the tang of seaweed, and the hiss and rumble of the flood tide moving in beneath the cliff. Fulmars nested on these shallow cliffs and the clammy air was rent with their strange cries. Daisy splashed through a deep sand pool and up on to the hard sand on the other side. The cliffs reared up before us, sinister in the fog, and I said to Daisy, ‘This is as far as we come,’ and started to turn her when we heard the cry. It could have been a Fulmar. I stopped and listened, and it came again.
Daisy’s ears pricked. We stared into the fog, saw nothing.
‘Where are you-ou-ou?’
‘Here,’ I called back, and my voice sounded unfamiliar and puny and was lost in the echoes of the cliff face.
There came a scramble of falling stones. Daisy, uneasy of the unknown, whickered anxiously. I laid a hand on her neck, and her shaggy coat, beneath my palm, was beaded with damp. We waited, both straining our eyes and ears.
A movement through the fog; another stone rattled over rock, and the next moment, as though from nowhere, a figure appeared, took shape, not ten feet from where we stood. A small boy wearing jeans and a blue sweater, apparently soaking wet and all alone. – taken from the short story ‘Skelmerton’.
ABOUT ‘A PLACE LIKE HOME’: A heartwarming, escapist collection of fifteen stories from bestselling author Rosamunde Pilcher, published two years after her death, with an introduction by the now also deceased author Lucinda Riley.
In ‘Our Holiday’, a wife surprises her husband of twenty-five years with a trip full of Mediterranean sunshine, red rocks and blue seas, in an effort to rekindle the romance they had before children.
‘Skelmerton’ takes the reader to the bright spring sunshine and sparkling waves of a Northumbrian village, where old flames meet again.
In ‘A Place Like Home’, a young woman goes to recuperate in the Scottish countryside after a brief illness. The fruit orchards and fresh sea air offer refreshment and renewal – but not as much as the handsome, mysterious farmer.
Each of the stories is a perfect slice of romance written with warmth and passion, featuring some wonderfully memorable, smart and fiery female characters that will transport the reader to another time and place.
MY THOUGHTS: I am, and always have been, an ardent Rosamunde Pilcher fan and this delightful collection of fifteen short stories has only increased my admiration for this author. It has also made me realise that I am going to have to trawl the shelves of all the second hand bookstores and charity shops in order to fill in the gaps in my collection of her books.
Pilcher writes of a gentler time: a time of rambling old houses set in beautifully maintained gardens; of scones with clotted cream and jam for tea; and drinks parties where sherry is the tipple of choice.
Her characters are simple but endearing and each of these short stories is a story in its own right. It has a beginning, a middle and an end. And always, a happy ever after.
This is a collection I shall treasure and I am so grateful that it arrived just in time for Christmas.
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#historicalfiction #romance #shortstories #womensfiction
THE AUTHOR: Rosamunde Scott was born on 22 September 1924 in Lelant, Cornwall, England, UK, daughter of Helen and Charles Scott, a British commander. Just before her birth her father was posted in Burma, her mother remained in England. She attended St. Clare’s Polwithen and Howell’s School Llandaff before going on to Miss Kerr-Sanders’ Secretarial College. She began writing when she was seven and published her first short story when she was 18. From 1943 through 1946, Pilcher served with the Women’s Naval Service. On 7 December 1946, she married Graham Hope Pilcher, a war hero and jute industry executive who died in March 2009. They moved to Dundee, Scotland, where she remained until her death in 2019. They had two daughters and two sons, and fourteen grandchildren. Her son, Robin Pilcher, is also a novelist.
In 1949, her first book, a romance novel, was published by Mills & Boon, under the pseudonym Jane Fraser. She published a further ten novels under that name. In 1955, she also began writing under her married name Rosamunde Pilcher, by 1965 she her own name to all of her novels. In 1996, her novel Coming Home won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award by Romantic Novelists’ Association. She retired from writing in 2000 following publication of Winter Solstice. Two years later, she was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).
DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of A Place Like Home by Rosamunde Pilcher and published by Hodder &Stoughton. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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