Every time I think I've read all there is to read from prolific writer Rosamude Pilcher, I stumble across another gem.
Set primarily in sun-soaked Cornwall, Voices in Summer is an easy, breezy, undemanding read. Short, by Pilcher's standards, this delightful story adheres to the author's reliable pattern; that of rich, multi-layered characters woven together with an interesting, but relatively unimportant plot. To me, its the characters who carry the weight of the tale in a Rosamude Pilcher book.
The adventure opens with the introduction of Laura Haverstock, wife of co-main character Alec Haverstock. The young wife of a second marriage, Laura is filled with uncertainty and anxiety about her place in Alec's life. This self-doubt is tempered with pure love and innocence, laced with good intentions. Pilcher lays the foundation of the later story by providing a tight account of Alec's past, and then moves the tale to the Cornish coast estate of Tremenheere, where Laura convalesces following a surgical procedure. As the age-old healing power of sun, time, good food and good company begin to work on Laura's frail body, she gains a sense of self-confidence and peace; personal progress aided by Tremenheere family member Ivan Ashby. Estate owner Gerald Haverstock is a retired Admiral and uncle to Alec, as well as a newlywed, having recently married old acquaintance Eve Ashby. Minor characters Silvia Marten, bohemian musician Drusilla, and elderly nanny May, further enrich the wonderful swirl of angst, awakening, confrontation and resolution.
Voices in Summer draws in any reader, regardless of age. A love and appreciation of language, in particular the distinct vernacular of an Irish writer, is important when reading this book. There is little action or jeopardy, so some might find the story slow or dull. But those, myself included, who adore characters who come alive in their real human personalities and quirks, will love this book. I found myself looking forward to the final wrap of the plot, while dreading the farewell to Laura, Alec, Ivan, Gerald, Eve, and the rest. A thoroughly enjoyable read! (less)