Monday, February 11, 2019

On the Passing of Rosamunde Pilcher

Rosamunde Pilcher sits in a fancy red chair.

Last week we learned that author Rosamunde Pilcher, who had written more than 25 books in her lifetime, passed away on February 6th at the age of 94. Several of Dame Pilcher’s works, considered to be family sagas and romances, were made into movies and mini-series. I grew up seeing her books in my grandmother’s collection and on my mother’s bookshelves, but it wasn’t until her recent passing that I looked deeper into her life.

Rosamunde Pilcher published under two different names, first using the pseudonym Jane Fraser before using her own name in the 1950s. One of her most popular novels, The Shell Seekers, spent 49 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list in 1987. It sold over 10 million copies, was translated into over 40 languages, and was made into a TV miniseries starring Vanessa Redgrave. Some credit The Shell Seekers as changing the entire romance genre for the better.

Before taking on the career of a writer, Dame Pilcher worked for the Foreign Office during WW II and later, after D-Day, joined the Woman’s Royal Naval Service. She once explained that her time working during and before the war gave her ample opportunity to see many relationships flourish and fail, which gave her many ideas to base her stories on. She described her books written as Jane Fraser to be “frightfully wet little novels”, while her stories published with her own name were known as “light reading for intelligent ladies”. In 2002, Pilcher was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for her services to literature.

 If you’ve never read anything by Rosamunde Pilcher, now might be the time to do so. Reserve her books from the library's catalog today.

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