Poor Lucy! It was so shocking in this day and age to read how this kind sweet woman left her doggie in a hot car in the first chapter. And then didn’t take her to the Vet when she got so sick in the last chapters! Is it possible people were so uneducated in the late 80s regarding dogs in cars?
This was read by Jilly Bond. Her reading of male voices was very irritating. Probably one of the worst readers I’ve listened to in a very long time. However, It didn’t prevent me from enjoying Pilcher’s beautiful thoughtful passages and descriptions. Her character development was as affecting and complex as usual. Her writing is just so evocative. I think this is my favorite Pilcher I’ve read in my re-read project so far. Really sweet plot and very sympathetic heroine except for ignorant treatment of her dog. **5 out of 5 stars**
This must be her best “little” book. All of the Pilcher ingredients. With the added intrigue of an evil twin whom the good twin did not even know about until the beginning of this book. The love interest was the ultimate Pilcher hero. Strong, good, closed off due to an unhappy relationship and a little intimidating. He reminded me a lot of Sandy, the Scottish doctor in Dear Enemy by Jean Webster. Flora, our heroine, was the usual thin, young, kind, and good girl, without the irritating weaknesses of many of her other heroines. It brought me to tears near the end. Pilcher has a way of getting me connected to her world and really caring about her families. **5 out of 5 stars**
This was the first Rosamunde Pilcher I ever read, and, in my mid-20s at the time, I was hooked. There is a bit of an ick factor for some: there is a 17 year age difference between the 2 leads, and the young lady was only 20 years old. It didn’t bother me a great deal although it did take me a minute to switch gears to George possibly being her father, to her love interest. That possibility was put to rest pretty quickly, however. Selina is a typical Rosamunde Pilcher heroine: young, innocent, underweight, bullied, and needy. But this one did not annoy me as much as the two girls did in the previous two books I re-read. Although a bit hopeless and a bit whiny, she did take charge of her own fate at last and did not do anything super stupid. And she certainly did not suffer in comparison to her hard-drinking chain-smoking rival for George’s affection, Frances. What a piece of work she was!
I loved George, the hero. Think Cary Grant in Father Goose. The last pages where Selina and George acknowledge their love is very charming and very cinematic, somehow. I kept picturing Keira Knightly and George Clooney. **4 stars out of 5**
Oh dear. I am “rereading” one of my most beloved authors and so far they are not living up to my memories. When I say rereading, I mean I am listening to them on audiobooks. I see reading the reviews of Wild Mountain Thyme, that almost everyone can’t stand Victoria. I too was very frustrated with her, especially in the beginning when she did not do the right thing by calling the kidnap victim’s grandmother and grandfather and calling the cops. The villain, Oliver Dobbs, her ex-boyfriend that she is still infatuated with, is very well drawn in his despicableness. With just a few mild observations and descriptions of emotions, the reader knows right away he is a horrible human being. That was well done by Rosamunde. Throughout the book, the reader wonders when Victoria is going to wake up. Answer: She doesn’t really. Until, that is, he leaves her and she has no choice but to wake up. Because He left Her! Even in the middle of the book when he threatens to “beat her black and blue,” she still makes excuses for him and hopes to make a life for them and his son, (that he kidnapped from his dead wife’s legal guardians), that she now loves as her very own. She’s actually behaving like a textbook domestic abuse victim. But, Lord!, I don’t want to read about one in the context of being the heroine of a sweet romance! Oliver never gets told off, never made to see himself as a “destroyer” as his mother-in-law characterizes him, to Victoria, at the very end. Luckily for this feeble dunderhead, there is a typical Pilcher hero to pick up the pieces. He is well-off, nice, handsome, strong, sensible, and good with children. To add to this embarrassment of riches, he is now a Scottish laird of a real almost castle. The only question is, What in the world does he see in her? We never really know.
It looks like Victoria is the least favorite of all the Pilcher heroines. I fervently hope that I will have to endure no more of heroines of this ilk. Except I felt almost as much antipathy towards the heroine of Snow in April, my first re-read. Hopefully, it will be uphill from here for Rosamunde’s hapless heroines. I do love her writing, her gentle world, and the way she draws her secondary characters. I also love her decent attractive heroes. Keeping my fingers crossed that the next heroine has a backbone and common sense. The reader, Lucy Patterson, is brilliant. She does high emotion very well. **2 stars out of 5**
I don’t know why I love Rosamunde Pilcher so much! Her heroines are always young, put upon, and vulnerable. They are often engaged to the wrong man, as with this one. Her heroes are nice, strong, and sensible. The books are not really humorous or suspenseful. But these domestic family dramas (again, not really Dramas with a capital D. More like pickles, as in predicaments.) are charming, warm, and cozy. A very nice romance is always the centerpiece. And the endings are very satisfying. They are just lovely. They create a world (usually in Scotland or Cornwall) that you just want to live in, and as long as the book lasts, you feel like you do. This is not my favorite but I still really liked it. The heroine, Caroline, was really stupid about her health, and made some really bad decisions, which the hero, Oliver, chewed her out for. Her stupidity is my main complaint. Everything else is why I love Rosamunde Pilcher. Before I move on to another audiobook author, I must read another one. I just can’t let that world go just yet. **4 stars out of 5**
By way of introduction, it is important to know that Shades of Love is a sequel to Rosamunde Pilcher’s September. It has an entirely different cast from the miniseries based on the book which debuted 14 years earlier. It is not based on a Rosamunde Pilcher novel, but takes her characters from September and projects what may have become of them about 10 years in the future. For those who have read Pilcher’s beloved The Shell Seekers and September, it is interesting to note the whiplash-inducing turns in the Noel Keeling character. In Shades of Love he is back to Nasty Noel of the first novel. Poor Alexa of September really got the short end of the stick! If you liked her happy ending in September pretend this one never happened. Although fear not! She does come about in the last episode.
Each of the four parts of this mini-series has some closure while setting up the next episode with some unresolved plot points. We have illicit affairs resulting in pregnancies, adultery, tragic love affairs, boy next door happy love affairs, revenge, forgiveness, betrayal, blackmail, bankruptcy, corporate shenanigans, and 2 cases of grown-up children discovering their Mommies and/or Daddies are not who they think they are. All is resolved and ends happily for most after much trial and tribulation. Though Beware: there are several deaths mixed into the pot.
There are some well-known actors in this among the older set, and all do their jobs pretty well, although Harriet Walter is terribly wasted in a nothing part. Rebecca Night, who plays one of the most important roles as Laura, was a disappointment. She had a strangely affected way of speaking which was very distracting and a very placid way about her which was not at all engaging. Rosamunde Pilcher excels at writing about nice and good women that you really root for. The actress just made this character dull. Adrian Lucas was a great villain, and the German actress, Esther Shweins, who played the mysterious Olivia Thorpe in season 2 was a stand-out: Class, beauty, charisma, and dignity. She even managed to rise above the gigantic and nonsensical plot hole in the last episode.
All in all, I enjoyed it for what it was but did not rise to the quality of Coming Home, The Shell Seekers, or any of Rosamunde’s legitmate novels that were brought to the screen. The scenery was beautiful. **7 out of 10 stars**
*Apologies to Rosamunde for using the phrase, “50 shades” in conjunction with anything she is even vaguely associated with.