Oh, the joy of reading The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher for the first time back in the late 1980s! Not only was it a page-turner, it was beautifully written and I've enjoyed rereading it every few years since then.
When I think of Penelope Keeling, I think of her either in her garden or her kitchen. And as that heel of a future husband of hers--Ambrose--thought when taken to the family's London home...
"But this kitchen."
He put down his grip and gazed about him. Saw the long, scrubbed table, the motley variety of chairs, the pine dresser laden with painted pottery plates and jugs and bowls. Copper saucepans, beautifully arranged by size, hung from a beam over the stove, along with bunches of herbs and dried garden flowers. There were a basket chair, a shinning white refrigerator, and a deep white china sink beneath the window, so that any person impelled to do the washing-up could amuse himself at the same time by watching people's feet go by on the pavement. The floor was flagged and scattered with rush-mats, and the smell was of garlic and herbs, like a French country épicerie.
While this kitchen was the creation of Penelope's French mother, I doubt that Penelope changed much of its character when she and Ambrose married and raised their children there.
I would be happy to sit down to a meal cooked by either woman, although I would have gotten a little burnt out by the cauliflower-cheese that was served too often during wartime rationing.
And Ambrose, you were so right--but this kitchen!