Being sick does not give you much choice on what to do except perhaps listen to the morning news on the radio, watch TV, sleep and read. I prefer the last two of course since rest and relaxation are all you need to get well. Come to think of it, I was not even enticed by the thought of opening a laptop and catching up with friends at Facebook. It was a long three-days of just catching up on a long neglected hobby – reading.
I first encountered Rosamunde Pilcher upon the recommendation of a friend whom I met at a book club three years ago. I got curious because for a guy to rave about one particular author or book, she really must be good. So I looked for a copy of The Shell Seekers, one of her well-known and much-loved books. I was hooked and from then on, I tried to look for more of her books every time I got the chance to visit Booksale. Last month, I found four more of her earlier works and bought them all. The funny thing is I was able to finish three in the three days that I was indisposed. Her stories are not your run of the mill love stories. They speak of family relationships, heartbreak, friendships, betrayals, forgiveness and love. Once you start reading her books, you get to absorb the characters like they are your next-door neighbors or your favorite cousin or your beloved brother or sister. And seeing her describe Cornwall and Scotland with such beauty and grace makes you long to go there and see the snow-capped vistas and azure skies, it makes you stay at the beach all day long and just look at the water and go home with the thought of a nice hot cup of tea and fish and chips prepared by a loyal housekeeper who treats you as a long-lost daughter. It makes you even curious how a Biro pen looks like because the character you’ve read won’t have no other except a Biro. It makes you long to buy rose-scented soaps and lavender bubble baths and stay relaxed for an hour or two immersed in warm and scented water and wrap yourself with pretty thick bath towels afterward. You think of the first chill of autumn and the countryside awashed with pretty flowers. Short of saying, I want to live in Scotland and get to explore Porthkerris despite the rains and the cold. I want to see the silver hues of the raindrops on a cold and chilly morning. Such are what you can imagine, just reading her books.
I am on my fourth book now, a collection of short stories called Flowers In the Rain And Other Short Stories. And one of these days, I want to re-read The Shell Seekers and her other books. And here are some quotes I would love to share with you.
“It was good, and nothing good is truly lost. It stays part of a person, becomes part of their character. So part of you goes everywhere with me. And part of me is yours, forever” – The Shell Seekers
“…Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference in your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word it always was. Let it be spoken without effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner. All is well.” (from the book September which I have just read).
“She remembered him smiling, and realized that time, that great old healer, had finally accomplished its work, and now, across the years, the face of love no longer stirred up agonies of grief and bitterness. Rather, one was left feeling simply grateful. For how unimaginably empty the past would be without him to remember.” The Shell Seekers