Rosamunde Pilcher's Cornwall
Rosamunde Pilcher (22nd September 1924 - 6th February 2019) may not be a name that necessarily springs to mind when thinking about your favourite authors, but go to Germany, and it’s a different story all together. Born in Cornwall in between St Ives and Penzance, Rosamunde Pilcher developed a passion for writing aged 7, and had her first short story published at just 15! A prolific writer of 18 novels, she also wrote a further 10 under the pen name, Jane Fraser including some for the publisher, Mills & Boon.
All her books sat firmly and happily in the genre of romantic fiction, but it wasn’t until her fourteenth novel, The Shell Seekers, was published in 1987 that she found a wider audience thanks to an American publisher picking it up. It sat in the New York Times Best Seller list for an incredible 49 weeks, with the paperback even knocking Tom Woolfe off the number one spot. It has since been translated into more than 40 languages and has sold over 10m copies.
But her biggest fanbase has to be in Germany after TV station, ZDF, picked up the television rights and have so far produced more than 140 of her stories, with almost all the filming taking place right here in Pilcher’s beloved Cornwall. In fact there are whole tours dedicated to the series’ locations. So much so that in 2002, both the German TV director and Pilcher were awarded the British Tourism Award for boosting visitor numbers to Cornwall and Devon!
She often said the Cornwall of her childhood was always her inspiration, “Everything I love was in that book [Shell Seekers],” Pilcher said. “Bohemian people, painters, paintings, Cornwall, the way London used to be. I was terribly bereft when I finished it. I had walked round the fields talking to all my people for so long and suddenly it was all over. I had nobody to chat to any longer.”
Click here to have a look at a few of the incredible spots where some of the filming took place.
You can even stay the night at The Firs , the house where the writer spent most of her childhood.
A Pilcher novel is instantly recognisable. As one US critic wrote of her last novel, Winter Solstice (2000): “We are back among the reliable sights and sounds of Pilcherdom: a world of strong women, well-mannered men, bracing landscapes, big dogs, loyal cleaning ladies and houses that smell of wax polish …. Sex is strictly between the lines; shopping means getting in the groceries.”