on June 1, 2003
This is my favorite book. I'm reading it again - again.
My favorite thing about this book is the way you get to feel so close to all of the characters. You follow the life of one girl through WWII. It might sound a little boring but, believe me, this girl's life is anything but ordinary. She is left in a British boarding school while her parents are living in Singapore. She is 14 and starting school in an unfamiliar place. Eventually she makes friends with Loveday Carey-Lewis (silly name, I know) and this changes her life drastically.
As Judith grows she encounters loss, love, and a creepy old guy. It's a book about growing up and, of course, coming home.
Rosamunde Pilcher makes all of the characters seem so real. It is easy to picture them in your mind and even easier to feel for them. Judith is not the only character whose life you get caught up in. There are many characters who we can all relate to. Personally, I think I'm a bit like Loveday.
Anyway, this book is a definite must-read.
on June 12, 2003
This is my favorite book ever. By the end of the book, I felt so close to Judith, the main character. Ms. Pilcher does such a beautiful job of following Judith's life, you feel as if you know her. Definitely Rosamunde Pilcher's best.
on July 19, 2004
It isn't often that an author such as Rosamunde Pilcher comes around. She writes in the narrative voice that literally coaxes you to go to the couch and curl up with a pot of tea and her novel. COMING HOME was the first Pilcher book I read and afterward I was captured as one of her biggest fans. Pilcher has a way with each of her books to capture her readers from the first page to the last. In any Pilcher novel the reader finds themselves relating to the main characters by feeling their pain and their happiness.
In COMING HOME, this main character is Judith Dunbar who finds herself torn from her family due to World War II. Pilcher takes the reader to Cornwall and a festive amount of characters that Judith begins to know. They are an odd assortment: The best-friend the reader cannot do without, the romantic, the family atmosphere that Judith so craves---- and in end, the excitement involved with simply putting all these characters together in one story.
After reading COMING HOME I found myself in love with Judith and her best friend, Loveday Carrie-Lewis. The entire novel was simply enchanting. Readers of Pilcher's are looking for a book written with class, a good narrative voice, and a happy ending.
COMING HOME has all elements that a good book has---- well built characters, a big problem, a careful solution, romance, relationships that steadily build, and the change that all main characters' make from the first time you meet them, to the last. COMING HOME is a wonderfully classy read. All readers will find themselves in enthralled with Judith's life and all who are in it.
At the end of each Pilcher novel you sigh because it's over, and you're running to get another. All Pilcher-readers find themselves loving her easy going, narrative voice which is completely refreshing. Pilcher takes on a voice in COMING HOME that makes World War II seem more bearable to read about, and all crisis's easier to deal with. If people could live their lives like Pilcher writes a novel, everything would seem just a little bit easier to deal with. After a long day at work or at school, COMING HOME is the perfect book to take a load off and just wrap up in a novel that will entertain the reader until it sadly comes to an end.
on August 13, 2001
This was the first book by Pilcher I ever read. Strangely, I have very mixed feelings about this book. Pilcher fans will certainly love it. The author does a wonderful job to get you acquainted with her characters. By the end, I truly felt that I had personally met all the characters in this book. It felt as though I had made new friends. I will likely never forget Judith, the heroine, and all the many people she meets during those years described in the book. Pilcher's way of describing (often in excruciating detail) every scene, room, mood, the weather, clothes, food, etc. allowed me to actually be right there with her characters. In that sense, this novel will stay with me forever. On the other hand, Pilcher seems to struggle somewhat when attempting to describe her characters' feelings and thoughts. Often, I was unsure why a character behaved a certain way and why he or she felt a certain way about others. Pilcher does a great job describing the war years from the British perspective. I really felt like I was living these horrible war years with them. I often felt tempted to make myself a nice cup of tea because tea seems to be the British answer to everything (loss, grief, joy, relaxation, etc.). However, there were points in this novel where I played with the thought of abandoning it. Too little seemed to happen to justify the pages and pages of text. But this I could not do. I felt compelled to wait it out with Judith and the others and see what life (or Pilcher) had in store for them. That is why I was so disappointed in the end. It seemed as though Ms. Pilcher finally got bored with her characters and abruptly felt the need to just bring it all to a conclusion. After all the heartbreak, longing, joys, losses and disappointments, the end seemed irritatingly flat. Too bad, I wish I could have felt rewarded for sticking it out with Judith and her friends. Read this if you have a lot of free time and are a very patient reader. You will fall in love with Judith, her family, the Carey-Lewis family and all the others. Once you're done, you will feel as though you made new friends. You may be disappointed in the conclusion and your patience will be tried along the way but, maybe, getting to know these characters will make it all worthwhile for you. Oh, and don't be surprised if you develop the habit of drinking tea instead of coffe and if you find yourself booking a vacation to the English seashore.
on February 9, 2001
I listened to the audiotape of this wonderfully descriptive book and thoroughly enjoyed Lynn Redgrave's remarkable narration. She is so good at this! (the only disconcerting thing I found with the tape was the random bursts of overly dramatic music. They seemed so out of place--inserted with no apparent thought given to what was occurring in the narration).
That said, I thought this story was lovely, typical Pilcher fare. One can be pretty sure that all the loose ends will be tied up, that the lost will be found and the bad dealt with in a most genteel manner.
I always appreciate the period details in Pilcher's writing and this was no different. The reader always learns something when reading her books. She manages to entwine historical facts in with a family story in a seamless fashion.
This is the story of Judith Dunbar and in a secondary way, that of Loveday Carey-Lewis, including all of both families (dysfunctional, functional, and in-between!). Covering the years of 1935 (when both girls were 13) through the end of the Second World War, this book was large in scope and in its portrayal of its many interesting characters.
Pilcher does a great job of character development - the reader is quite easily able to identify with the characters who populate this book. The genteel British lifestyle, despite the looming war, is lovingly portrayed.
I agree with the reviewer who thought a sequel would be interesting.
on August 15, 2000
This is the first Pilcher book I have read but it certainly won't be the last. The book was long but it never got boring. In fact, I felt like the author left some big gaps in Judith's life, like what happened between her first Easter break with the Carey-Lewis clan and her final year at school? And after Loveday's wedding? I have always been facinated with the WW2 era and I really enjoyed getting this piece of history from the British point of view. There were parts of the book that were a bit predictable, but I think I would have been disappointed if those things hadn't happened. I do wish that the book hadn't ended quite so soon, I would have liked the story of Judith and Jeremy to go a bit further, in fact I wish that Jeremy would have been featured in the entire book a bit more, instead of so much Edward. Actually, the whole Carey-Lewis family got on my nerves after a while, I enjoyed reading about Uncle Bob, Aunt Biddy and Phyllis much more, they were much more real. But this is a book I will definitely read again. I wish there could be a sequel, I would like to know what happened to everyone from 1945-1955.
on January 9, 1999
I ploughed my way through this lengthy novel, wishing it would come to an end. It was, sadly, predictable and full of idealistic, unnecessary description. Things were not tied together properly - when a character was introduced, you could predict with certainty for what purpose, and not really care about it anyway. Once the purpose of the plot was served the characters were dumped. There were moving moments, but really the "heaven on earth" Nancherrow and its angelic inhabitants began to drive me nuts. It was just too long, and too boring in the effusive and unnecessary decription of "perfect" English lifestyle in the thirties and during the war. Read Nevil Shute, or D.E. Stevenson for a better idea of what it was like then, and get better writing to boot. It sure wasn't heaven. Rosamunde Pilcher's editors need to do their job better, by cutting out some of the junk and also by correcting some of her bad writing! Sometimes the construction of sentences and the grammar really are irritatingly clumsy. I shall not be buying the hardback!
on January 16, 1998
1935 pre-World-War Two England and Judith Dunbar, a 14-year-old British girl, embarks on the long road to adulthood.
With parents and baby sister stationed in Singapore, Judith remains in England to attend boarding school, a school which she is not very keen to attend at first, but will change the course of her young life forever.
When she makes fast friends with Loveday Carey-Lewis, youngest child of the extremely wealthy Carey-Lewis's of Nancherrow, Judith swiftly becomes emeshed with their luxurious lifestyle, one of which she is not accustomed to, and is enveloped by their glamourous world and its inhabitants.
When a torpedo blasts the submarine her young cousin Ned is stationed on, subsequently killing him, the war commences in full force and life for Judith and her family as well as her adopted family, the Carey-Lewis's, dramatically change. Loves are found and lost all too quickly, discoveries regarding those involved in Judith's life are shocking and sorrowful, and Judith's own revelations about her own self and life, will have the reader quickly turning pages amongst fallen tears.
This is Rosamund Pilcher's England where you can envision fresh clean laundry hanging from lines, floating in the spring breeze and feel the cold chill your bones during a long Cornish winter, with it's gray wild sea.
Her characters will become your friends and truly a part of your life, and when the last page is read and last tear shed, your life will be even more enriched than before you read the book and you will become a Rosamund Pilcher fan for life.
on May 6, 1997
The life of Judith, a school girl in Cornwall,
gently flows on while England is bound for war.
Growing up among the gentry in Nancherrow exposes her
to experiences that, in several ways, conflict with
what she remembers being taught during her short time
with her family. How she reflects on them and their
life as commoners living in Singapore, keeps them and their values
very near and dear to her.
While the scenery is such that you can reach out
and pick the flowers in Aunt Lavinia's garden,
or smell the smoke and wine on Judith's
first visit to a pub, the time spent there seems to
last forever. This occurs repeatedly throughout the
book even though almost every place you go with
Judith is breathtaking.
The author definitely overstays her welcome. This
beautiful but lengthy story could have been written in half the pages.
I recommend that you definitely finish the book as
Judith and Loveday, her percocious friend, become lovely young women.
You'll be elated having travelled to such beautiful
places but expect to be exhausted from a great trip.
This would make a great movie.
on October 16, 2001
This is firstly the story of Judith Dunbar but also tells the story of a wonderful family the Carey-Lewises. The characters are so real that by the time I finished this book they were all like friends. While reading it I laughed and I cried, never before has one novel made me do both.
My 84 year old Nan read this and loved it, my 58 year old Dad read this and loved it so when it was passed on to me, at the time an 18 year old, I did not expect to get beyond the end of chapter one. Three days later as I closed the book I was sorry it was over.
This book is fantastic. The UK paperback edition is 1016 pages long and yet it felt as though it was over in no time. I have read this book twice and that is not something I have done with many of the thousands of books I have read. I would recommend that anyone who likes to read, read this book. You'll have a wonderful time and make some new friends along the way.