Once again Rosamunde Pilcher writes a story that grips the reader from beginning to end, the story of a family, diverse in character and sometimes in opposition to each other. The main character is the mother, Penelope, and “The Shell Seekers” is her most prized possession, a painting by her much loved father. The story takes the reader through war time and the following years of austerity and peace, following the fortunes of Penelope, who married the wrong man, and her children. Her three children are very different in character. Olivia is strong and determined and able to stand on her own feet, Nancy feels that somehow the world hasn't given her what she feels she is owed, and Noel who wants to take the easy way out, and who sees his grandfather's art as a way of making easy money. After a mild heart attack, Penelope begins to take stock of her life, her children, and as she reflects on past sorrows and happiness, including the love of her life, Richard, claimed by the war, she begins to see the way forward, and knows what she must do.