For light, highly entertaining and totally absorbing reading you can’t beat a Rosamunde Pilcher novel. And as I’ve had to spend a couple of days resting a strained ligament, her writing has been a godsend to keep my spirits up and pass the time as pleasantly as possible.
I’ve already read several of her novels and selected September quite randomly from the remainder that I haven’t read yet. And it proved to be a very good choice.
As usual set amongst the middle classes, Pilcher has excelled herself. From the era before Tony Blair said “we’re all middle class now”, this novel is not just middle class but old fashioned, traditional Scots upper-middle class. And at times you think, did people like this really exist but that mild criticism is quickly forgotten because the characterisation is so good.
I don’t need to like the characters in a novel to enjoy reading it but I do need to be bothered about what happens to them. And the satisfyingly intricate web of relationships in September is totally peopled with individuals who are all fascinating and intriguing.
I’ll quote the Amazon book blurb:
As spring comes to Scotland and the hills burst into life, a dance is planned for September. The invitations summon home the group of people Violet Aird has cared for most in her long life.
The oldest, strongest and wisest of them all, she sees Alexa, her vulnerable granddaughter, find love for the first time, while the decision to send her little grandson away to school is driving parents Edmund and Virginia even further apart. Far from them all is Pandora, the glamorous, exciting girl who ran away twenty years before. All will converge on Scotland this September, bringing their stories with them.
Several story lines all gradually come together as one and the ending is first rate. No spoilers here but you might need a box of tissues for the final chapter.
Pilcher is a superb writer. She’s chosen to write for a mass audience but her descriptive writing could win the Booker. She teases out deeper aspects of life through the experiences of her main characters with a lovely light, deft touch. The pages turn themselves and the plot twists are occasionally completely unexpected and always plausible.
A really great read for the beach, long summer afternoons or when you’re feeling under the weather.
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