Coming HomeBook - 1995
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Pilcher's novel is big, both in size and scope. Yet its charm is in its details. The book's heroine is Judith Dunbar, who is a schoolgirl of 13 when the tale begins in 1935. Sent to boarding school in Cornwall because her parents are posted to Singapore, Judith becomes friends with Loveday Carey-Lewis, who introduces her to a family and an estate, Nancherrow, that is to influence her for the rest of her life. Pilcher does a marvelous job of describing life in England before World War II. Readers, especially Anglophiles, will adore the care Pilcher gives to setting her scenes, decorating them with everything from Cornish wildflowers to china dogs to particular tartan plaids. The same care is evident later in the tale, as Pilcher chronicles the changes brought by the war to the fabric of British life. There is, of course, more to the novel than a carefully rendered historical backdrop. There is a story, too, and a quite involving one even if its outlines are familiar from other melodramas set against the dramatic events of history. As Judith makes her way to adulthood in the midst of great wealth, great tragedy, and, naturally, romance, Pilcher effectively balances the demands of plot with the pleasures of revisiting a different place and time.
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