September by Rosamunde Pilcher
Rosamunde Pilcher is well-known for her novels taking place in Scotland. Amidst third generation landed-estates, cozy cottages and country homes, sheep farms, and quaint villages, September cleverly integrates the old world charm of Scottish custom and tradition into a modern family saga.
Centered around the small village of Strathcroy, Pilcher creates an eclectic group of characters focusing on two primary families… the Balmerinos and the Airds. The Airds include 3 generations including the wise, earthy grandmother Violet, her wealthy business tycoon son Edmund, his young and pretty second wife, and 2 grandchildren… 23 year old Alexa (from Edmund’s first marriage)- currently living in London- and 8 year old Henry. Their closet friends and neighbors are Laird Archie Balmerino and his wife and children.
Because of the long harsh winters, the damp rainy springs, and the short summers, September is traditionally the month of extravagant entertainment. It’s a time when neighbors gather from near and far for gala balls, formal dinner parties, and picnic outings. This creates a great allure for long departed relatives and travelers from afar. As quoted from the inside cover, “September is a month when marriage is proposed and marriages break up, when even normally reticent Scots, Londoners, and Americans drink a little too much, dance a little to late into the night, when promises are made, hearts are broken, and long-buried family secrets can come to light.”
Of added interest, Pilcher creates a thread to one of her previous novels in which Alexa Aird is dating Noel Keeling, the son of the primary character in The Shell Seekers.
The story of September begins in the month of May. As end-of-summer parties are being planned, Pilcher leads the characters through life’s journey… mundane routines, joyful events, love, sorrow, and family crisis… all culminating with the long-awaited September agenda.
It is refreshing to read a novel that inspires hope, resonates with love of family, nature, and tradition, and evokes nostalgia for old-fashioned romance. The book somewhat resembles Downton Abbey with all the pomp and colorful cultural descriptions, though taking place in more recent times. With appropriate timing, September makes for an entertaining end-of-the-summer read.
Rated 4 Stars.
All contents © 2015 Lois Weisberg. All rights reserved.