Rosamunde Pilcher: Her Life’s Work

Over the course of her writing career – a career that, incidentally, spans over 60 years -Pilcher has become internationally recognised and praised. Her novels are sold all over the world and have amassed over 60 million sales, her success labelling her as one the most celebrated contemporary female authors. It’s safe to say, Pilcher’s pretty good at what she does! So, we thought that with such success and with the incredible tourism benefits she brings to Cornwall, we should take a look at her work; where it all started and the legacy she has created for herself.

It all began in 1949, when Pilcher was taken under the wings of romance publicists, Mills and Boon, with her first work released under the pseudonym Jane Fraser. She released a further 10 novels under this alias. It wasn’t until 1955 that her covers began to be decorated with the now famous ‘Rosamunde Pilcher’ when she released ‘Secret to Tell’, and by 1965 she had dropped the pseudonym completely.

Her breakthrough in the literary world was with the release of perhaps her most celebrated work, ‘The Shell Seekers’, in 1987. Although her previous novels had gone down well, this was the one that solidified her name amongst the greats of modern authors and is marked as the beginning of many years of success. The novel follows the life on a now elderly woman who re-lives her younger days through flashbacks, watching the evolution of her relationship with her children (who are now adults themselves) whilst living through some of the most prominent eras of social change in modern history. One of the main appeals of this book is Pilcher’s ability to evoke every-day feelings and actions and show just how extraordinary they are, allowing the reader to relish in the little moments within their own lives. It also displayed her incredible talent for creating intricate relationships between characters and for pure and talented story-telling. The novel sold over 5 million copies world-wide.

Pilcher’s success flourished throughout the rest of her career. Her novel ‘Coming Home’ won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award from Romantic Novelists Association in 1996, and many of her books were adapted into films that were prominently shot on location in Cornwall. The first article in our Rosamunde Pilcher series highlights her success particularly in Germany, and the effect her work has had on tourism in Cornwall, so if you’d like to learn more then give it a read!

Pilcher continued writing novels until 2000, where her release of ‘Winter Solstice’ marked her retirement from her long and celebrated career. Though her time with pen and paper may be over, her legacy certainly is not, and her books will remain sold and read for many, many years to come.

Our next article in this series will explore the woman behind the words – so if you’d like to learn more about this successful novelist and the woman who transformed Cornwall’s tourism industry, then be sure to look out for it!