Author: Rosamunde Pilcher
Star Rating: 4/5
Date Read: May 5th to May 8th, 2014
Not everyone can write short stories well. It takes a different kind of skill, I think. You haven’t got a couple of hundred pages to write an epic story and develop brilliant characters. You only have maybe twenty pages to tell a story and introduce characters in a way that leaves an impression, then you have to leave those characters behind for a new story. It takes a different sort of reader, too, to appreciate the brilliance of the stories.
I haven’t read a lot of short stories, some Alice Munro and Truman Capote, and none of Ms. Pilcher’s though I had read her epic 1,000 page novel Coming Home. Ms. Pilcher, it seems, can also write beautiful short stories, in this collection mainly about births, deaths and marriages – the big events in life that usually shape those involved in some way and change them. The characters of these stories are ordinary people living ordinary lives, they could even be people you know. Everybody has a story and Ms. Pilcher has shown us that.
The stories are all set in the English countryside, which in my mind (because I’ve never been there) is a beautiful place. There is something very homely and peaceful about her descriptions and they made me feel like I was there, like I was a part of it. It is this kind of writing that makes me want to jump in my time machine and go back about thirty years, to the heart of the English countryside – I want to go now but I worry it’s a different place these days to the one she has described (if I’m wrong, please set me straight!). I could deal with the cold.
The characters are all unique in their own way. A few of my particular favourites were Toby from the first story Toby and Miss Cameron from Miss Cameron at Christmas, but each character was enjoyable as there were no two the same. It never felt like I was reading about the same person with a different name. I wonder how hard it must have been to write each character and then let them go after such a short time.
This is a fantastic collection with beautiful storytelling that transports the reader to another place and time. I know I’ll be looking for more like this.