I absolutely LOVED this book. It's so beautifully written with such vivid and true to life detail and imagery that I don't understand why this novel is not more widely read. The author is clearly immensely talented, and employs an astoundingly clever style in her writing and depiction of family life. The book reads so easily that the 600 pages fly by and before you know it you've reached the end and long for more. Pilcher's characterization is superb and her attention to detail makes the novel seem really authentic and real, making you feel as though you are watching the story being played out in your head rather than reading words on pages (a rare thing that all truly brilliant novels should have). The story is also excellent and surprisingly entertaining with it's simple premise. I especially appreciated the saga aspect of the novel, going back into Penelope's early life during the war, as it seems so nostalgic. Another positive aspect is the fact that the book is consistent throughout in terms of focusing on the emotional relationships between all the characters in the book, rather than simply creating a dramatic story. The ending was also unexpected and heart-warmingly bittersweet, I struggle to find fault with this beautiful book.