The Shell Seekers was originally written in 1984, published around 1987, and Ms. Pilcher was 64 years old at the time of writing. I have the 10-year anniversary edition, and she has made a few comments about the book. She alludes to the fact that it could have its roots buried somewhere in her own family and past. Lawrence Stern is a name that comes from a contemporary of her husband's stepfather...a real person quite removed, but in this story, a person of great importance.
Her publisher, she tells us, asked her to write a big, fat women's book; something that would be "a really good read, something people could really get their teeth into." So, Ms. Pilcher wrote about the times that she grew up in, she wrote about Britain and the social culture of the time. She wrote about families and the things that can tear them apart - greed, jealousy, self-victimization, and the need to acquire both social standing and material things. And along with all that, she wrote about love, men and women, and their human failings - all the things that make the world go round.
She also wrote in her introduction that she hoped some teenager might have had his or her fill of teen magazines and be ready for an adult book, something they could really dig into...and perhaps they would dig into her book and find it to be so much more than one of those glittery teen magazines full of heart throbs and kiddy fashion.
I have a twenty-one-year-old whom I think would love this story.