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Review of The Blue Bedroom, a collection of short stories by Rosamunde Pilcher
I am reviewing the paperback version of this book, ISBN 0340540214, 250 pages, published by Coronet Books, a subsidiary of Hodder & Stoughton. Cover price £5.99, genre: - General Fiction
==About The Book==
The Blue Bedroom is a collection of 13 short stories by Rosamunde Pilcher. The author is possibly best known for her novel, The Shell Seekers, indeed that was the first of her novels that I read, and I have followed her work with interest ever since.
I obtained this particular book in a batch of books that I swapped with another member of my local book swapping group. To be honest, I had not realised that this was a short story collection at first, but this did not really matter as although I prefer a longer, more 'meaty' read, sometimes it is rather nice to have a book that you can simply dip in and out of.
The Blue Bedroom is a collection of gentle, no nonsense stories, the main theme running through the stories is family life. There is no sex, violence, bad language or anything extreme within these pages. The stories cover births, marriages, deaths, raising children and all the rich tapestry of life. The stories are well written, the characters diverse and believable. The dialogue comes through as crisp and well presented.
It is more difficult for an author to produce a short story than a novel in many ways as you have less build up, less character description and shorter opportunity to develop your plot, however I would say that Ms Picher has achieved all these elements within this slim book.
I will not discuss each individual story in this review as I feel that this would rather spoil the book for others, I will just highlight a couple of my personal favourites.
I particularly enjoyed story number 4 'Miss Cameron at Christmas'.
This is a charming tale of retired school teacher, Miss Cameron. This polite, genteel lady has in many ways given up her life for others. She was an only child of older parents and from a fairly young age, she had cared for her aging parents until their deaths, as well as holding down a full time teaching position. She had not married, had a family or done any of the things her peers had done. Miss Cameron was now living quietly in retirement, alone in the family home.
When a crisis befalls her next door neighbours, Miss Cameron steps into the breach and finds herself with sole responsibility of a stroppy teenaged girl on Christmas Eve. I thought this was a really heart-warming tale of an unlikely friendship springing up between a teenager and an elderly lady.
The story that the novel takes its title from was also particularly good.
The story is centered around 14 year old Emily who is struggling to come to terms with both her mother's death and her father's remarriage.
The girl is in shock as her step mother is now pregnant. The girl's mother had died sometime before and whilst she liked her step mother well enough, she resented the fact that her step mother now lived in her mother's home. The step mother had tried hard not to alter anything around the house, mindful of the Emily's feelings, however she had felt unable to sleep in her predecessor's bedroom and had had the room stripped of all furniture, re-decorated and re furnished it entirely. Emily feels resentful of this and hated the bedroom that she now thought of as 'the blue bedroom'.
The pair are thrown into a dramatic situation when Emily's step-mother goes into labour when the pair are home alone.
==My Thoughts and Conclusion==
I had my doubts about this short story collection for various reasons, however these were totally unfounded. The Blue Bedroom is classic Rosamunde Pilcher, the stories are gentle and tame without being twee. They reflect the ordinary life events which go on day after day throughout the world, birth, death, marriage, family conflicts, but they are written about in a very readable, easy going fashion. The skill of this author shines through in her ability to draw with words, her story telling skills are second to none in my view.
I enjoyed the positive feel that ran throughout these stories, they are not particularly moral tales and although the writing style is slightly dated in comparison to more recent novels, I felt this added to the charm of this short story collection.
I have long been a fan of Ms Pilcher's work and I think that The Blue Bedroom is well worth a second glance. In my opinion, this would make an excellent companion on a dull journey as it requires little in the way of concentration and the individual short stories can be read pretty quickly.
I would recommend this book to others and am awarding it a 4 * rating.
Thank you for reading
N.B. My reviews may be found on other sites under the same use name.