A very dear friend of mine once lent me a book by an author she loved, whom I had never read, or even heard of. The book was The Shell Seekers and the author was Rosamund Pilcher. I loved The Shell Seekers, and in a moment of serendipity that seems to happen so often to me when it comes to books, pretty much as soon as I finished The Shell Seekers and decided to look for more books by Rosamund Pilcher, I found Coming Home in a discount bin at Big W. A great big brick of a book, more than 900 pages, it’s a stunning story, a real sweep you off your feet and take you to another time and place sort of story. You really don’t often get books like this anymore, which is a shame, but publishers tend to prescribe a standard 400 pages to a long novel nowadays, as opposed to the 800 to 1000 we used to be able to lose ourselves in. There are authors of course whose work is an exception to this and they still produce long novels, but generally, books have gotten shorter.
Anyway, there was more to my love of Coming Home than its number of pages. It was such an incredibly atmospheric and immersive story, spanning either side of WWII and set in Cornwall. There’s scenes from this novel that I can still vividly remember, twenty years on, and I can still picture myself switching off from Uni and losing myself for a few days in this beautiful story. I still have my original copy with the cover pictured here.
Against the backdrop of an elegant Cornwall mansion before World War II and a vast continent-spanning canvas during the turbulent war years, this involving story tells of an extraordinary young woman’s coming of age, coming to grips with love and sadness, and in every sense of the term, coming home…
In 1935, Judith Dunbar is left behind at a British boarding school when her mother and baby sister go off to join her father in Singapore. At Saint Ursula’s, her friendship with Loveday Carey-Lewis sweeps her into the privileged, madcap world of the British aristocracy, teaching her about values, friendship, and wealth.
But it will be the drama of war, as it wrenches Judith from those she cares about most, that will teach her about courage…and about love.
Teeming with marvelous, memorable characters in a novel that is a true masterpiece, Coming Home is a book to be savored, reread, and cherished forever.