By Rosamunde Pilcher
** spoiler alert **
Listening to the lovely voices of the 4 narrators of this collection of 15 stories by Rosamunde Pilcher increased my enjoyment many times over, I’m sure. Many of the stories echo her themes that are oft-repeated in her books: That is, young shy innocent finds love with sophisticated man, salt-of-earth guy, or old or ex-love seen in a new light. Some, though, are a little different, and thus, more entertaining. And a few are quite melancholy. Most are happy and hopeful.
#1. A Person to Trust This is a typical yet enjoyable story of a young woman’s escape from the thrall of an unsuitable boyfriend into the arms of an older nicer guy. I like that the heroine takes the initiative to break up with the ex at the beginning of the story. It is followed by finding love with a better man and finally shedding herself of any residual feelings and regret for her playboy ex when she meets him at a party later and realizes that she pities him. A charming elderly couple graces this story.
#2 The Anniversary. This is a little different for RP in that it ends on an ambiguous note regarding an ethical dilemma. Should a secret be kept from her new fiance when telling it may derail the engagement? It’s complicated.
#3 Skelmerton. A Vicar’s daughter gets a crush on a man who is attracted as well but in love with someone else. He returns to the village after the death of his wife with his 10-year-old son whom she rescues from the misty moor. The village busybody invites her to a party in order to set her up with the widowed dad.
#4 A Place to Call Home. A young orphan girl is sent to her kindly boss’s Scottish home to recover from an appendectomy. As the matchmaking boss planned, she meets his reserved farmer brother and knows she has found a home and a future.
#5 Ghosts of the Past. This one was quite sad and poignant although the sadness is mitigated by the happy ending for the main character’s daughter. The young daughter is leaving her unhappy marriage to run away with a good man who makes her happy. The mother had a similar choice when she was her daughter’s age and chose to remain with her grouchy stick in the mud husband. The reader wonders about the “what ifs”.
#6 Jonathon. 2 sisters in a charming happy family meet the man her star sister jilted 5 or so years earlier. Is his heart still broken? Since he makes a move on our young narrator who had a crush on him and whom resembles the absent sister, probably not. Hmmm.
#7 The Key. A mysterious girl comes from Australia to visit the house her grandmother talked about with much love and affection. The house has burned down. She is met there by a man who turns out to have inherited the property and is her second cousin. The narrator made this one. I Loved the Australian accent. I wanted more of this one. It ended too abruptly.
#8 A Fork in the Road. A man in love with a glamorous city girl is offered a promotion in Edinburgh. She will not move from London. Will he take the promotion or stay in London so as not to lose his girlfriend? He visits some old friends in the Scottish city and sees his future there, with the help of a girl who is now all grown up.
#9 The Stone Boy. Nothing much to this. A woman who dumped her boyfriend 2 years ago meets him again coincidentally while on vacation. He still keeps her picture next to his bed and she has a re-think.
#10. A Touch of Magic. A family despairs of an artistic brother who won’t marry but needs to. An old aunt introduces him to a young friend whom he used to go to school with. When she gets dumped in a pond the wily aunt gives her a romantic dress to change into and it puts her in another light. The artist vagabond is bowled over. The aunt rewards her young nephew who tipped the boat over by giving him the 12 dollars he needs to buy a new bike. Wait a minute. Was the dunking planned or an accident? Cute.
#11. A Smile for the Bride. A happy bride goes for a bike ride on the morning of her wedding. She ponders her groom’s sadness that his beloved uncle will not attend because he disapproves of him marrying so young. She charms an elderly gentleman she meets at the top of a hill and to whom she confides her story. Guess what?
#12 Magic Might Happen. A young socially backward shy girl falls in love with a sophisticated ambitious city guy with a glamorous successful girlfriend after an evening swim. He comes back after months and months of no contact when her mother gets in an accident. This relationship would never last in the real world. I wish she had given him the boot when he favors her with his return.
#13 Through the Eyes of Love. A sophisticated young woman learns that a man she discounted and thought was boring and unappealing has hidden depths and attractiveness when her boyfriend disappoints her. Their mutual kindness to a young boy brings them together. This one should have been called “A String of Pearls.”
# 14 Our holiday. This was about the last gasp of a marriage. Most affecting and sad. I wish she had ended it on a hopeful note, but she didn’t. I guess it made it a more true-to-life story.
#15 Harbour of Love. A woman thinks she is in a loving relationship but not serious as far as marriage is concerned. When her sister is killed, she commits herself to raising her young nephew and writes a letter of farewell to her lover. She finds out she has underestimated her guy and their relationship. Interestingly, this is set in Michigan.
**3 1/2 stars for the whole shebang.
August 14, 2021