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(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Rosamunde Pilcher’s previous novel, THE SHELL SEEKERS, was a best-seller for more than two years and was adapted for television. Her latest novel, SEPTEMBER, is set in the Scottish highlands and focuses on the lives, loves, and challenges of the Aird and Balmerino families. Violet, the matriarch of the Aird family, is eagerly anticipating the celebration of her seventy-eighth birthday. Her son Edmund and his second wife Virginia have a strong marriage, but disagreement over the education of their son Henry threatens to break up their family. Isobel and Archie Balmerino have weathered economic difficulties by converting their manor house into a summer vacation retreat. They hope that the party invitations will lure their footloose daughter Lucilla and Archie’s errant sister Pandora back home again. One of the characters from THE SHELL SEEKERS reappears in SEPTEMBER to become part of the Aird family.

Pilcher employs the same narrative techniques she used in her previous novel to make the characters come alive by inviting the reader to share each character’s inner thoughts and reminiscences. This technique not only allows Pilcher to shift the story line back and forth through time but also fosters a sense of empathy with the characters and their situations. Eschewing the glitz and glamour that dominate much of today’s commercial fiction, Pilcher provides a warm and winning family saga in the tradition of D.E. Stevenson, updated for the 1990’s.