Penelope's description of her daughter Nancy after they have an argument is classic:
"I imagined her storming back to George in floods of unbecoming tears, unleashing onto him all the iniquities of her feckless mother. And George, taking refuge The Times, saying nothing. He's always been the most uncommunicative of men. Why Nancy chose to marry him in the first place is beyond all comprehension. No wonder their children are so miserably unattractive."
Nancy has few redeeming features, but the line where she buys a magazine at the train station only to find it's last month's makes me feel for her - a person who didn't often do something just for herself:
"Besides, it didn't really matter being out of date; glossy and shiny, it would still be a marvelous treat."
I love the way Rosamunde Pilcher brings together elements of a rather old-fashioned British lifestyle with the modern. There is Nancy's "huge Aga, which never went out" and this description of Penelope's activities after she sends Antonia upstairs to soak in a bath:
"Penelope slowly cleared the table, stacked the dishwasher, put out the milk bottles, laid the breakfast."
There's something lovely about people still putting out the milk bottles for a milkman to give them fresh milk in the morning - reminds me of my days in Scotland!
Rosamunde Pilcher also does an excellent job of weaving the effects of war into the quiet lives of her characters. One example is the case of unmarried Aunt Ethel.
"Lawrence Stern's only and very much younger sister, she had decided, at the end of the first world war, that at thirty-three, and with the flower of British manhood cruelly depleted by the slaughter of the French battlefields, she had little option but to accept inevitable spinsterhood."
And it is this same Aunt Ethel who provides quite a bit of color to the story:
"And going to her house was the greatest of treats, simply because you could never be sure what was going to happen next. Once, as they sat down to the lopsided cake she had baked for their tea, the bedroom ceiling had collapsed. Another time, they had lit a bonfire at the end of her tiny garden, and the fence caught fire and the fire brigade, bells clanging, had to be summoned."