Sometimes a writer believes in her story so completely that she creates something beyond the limits of her talent. That is Rosamunde Pilcher's achievement in "The Shell Seekers." Ms. Pilcher generally writes nice stories for women, but here she exposes a touchstone that obviously means a great deal to her, and her sincerity and conviction come through on every page. This beautiful story of love beyond and across time, of one life lived with courage and self-awareness, will move and inspire you. I return to this book when I feel overwhelmed and depressed because it cheers me and reminds me what is really important. The writers of "serious" fiction believe the world is a sad, dreary, complex place. This book reminds you that the world always has been, and always will be, a wonderful place where small pleasures bring great happiness, where love warms and sustains even the most weary heart, and where each day might bring a wonderful revelation. Yes, sometimes the book is amusingly English, especially with its taken-for-granted system of two classes: those who clean house, and those who employ housecleaners. But overwhelmingly, this book is a treature, and I envy those of you who will discover it for the first time. I cannot recommend it highly enough.