- Author: Anne Allen
- Published: June 2015 by Sarnia Press
- Category: Contemporary Fiction, Romance
One family, divided by death – and money
Andy Batiste, at loggerheads with his degenerate cousin, seeks to discover the truth of his family history. Why was his pregnant grandmother forced to flee to France? What really happened to her husband during the German Occupation, sixty years ago? Who accused Edmund, the elder son and Batiste heir, of being an informer? Was he really a traitor – and who murdered him?
With Edmund’s brother Harold now head of the family, enjoying the wealth which ought to have come to Andy’s father, the family is forever divided. Andy yearns to clear Edmund’s name and restore his father to his rightful inheritance.
Into the conflict comes Charlotte Townsend, newly divorced, lonely and struggling with writer’s block and the consuming threat of impending loss. She returns for healing at Guernsey’s natural health centre, La Folie, and becomes involved in Andy’s family affairs.
Together they embark on a hunt for the truth…
Andy Batiste can’t understand why his grandfather’s brother, Harold, claimed the family inheritance, when by rights it should have passed to his father, Jim. There is a mystery surrounding the death of Edmund, Andy’s grandfather who was believed to be an informer when the island was occupied by the German army during WWII. There has been a state of mutual hostility between the two branches of the family ever since. Andy doesn’t believe the stories and desperately wants to find out the truth so his father can claim what is rightfully his.
Charlotte Townsend is returning to the beautiful island of Guernsey and La Folie, the health spa owned by her friend Louisa’s father. Following her father’s death and her mother’s diagnosis, not to mention a severe case of writer’s block, Charlotte feels in need of some restorative treatments. A successful publisher, she inherited the company from her father, and now wants to establish herself as a writer. Through Louisa and her partner, Paul, both therapists at the spa, Charlotte meets Andy and, intrigued by his story, she offers her services as a researcher.
“Sounds intriguing. What’s the mystery?” Charlotte asked, leaning forward.
“I don’t know the whole story, but it boils down to the fact Jim’s father, Edmund, was killed a month before the end of the war, not long after being labelled an informer by his younger brother Harold. The police never found who did it, although they suspected a POW looking for food. Anyway, Edmund’s widow, Madeleine, was apparently shunned by the family and left Guernsey soon after the liberation. Harold later inherited the extensive family property which is now worth a mint, but no-one knew Madeleine was pregnant with Jim….”
Guernsey is a beautiful backdrop to the story, of which some characters are from previous books and some are new. It’s good to have a more complete picture of Charlotte, who first appeared in book three. The family mystery with its historical aspect and Charlotte’s research is very interesting and is the central feature….apart from the location, of course, which is described vividly. Differences in Charlotte’s and Andy’s backgrounds spark difficulties in their relationship, disparate upbringings having left their mark and the emotions expressed are realistic and believable. The threads of events from the Occupation years are brought together in a satisfying conclusion. An enjoyable and easy read.
Although this is the fourth book in the series it can be read as a stand alone.
This review is based on a free copy from the author. This does not affect my opinion or the content of my review.
About the author
Anne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. She was born in Rugby, to an English mother and Welsh father. As a result she spent many summers with her Welsh grandparents in Anglesey and learnt to love the sea. Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns.
By profession Anne is a psychotherapist but has long had creative ‘itches’, learning to mosaic, paint furniture, interior design and sculpt. At the back of her mind the itch to write was always present but seemed too time-consuming for a single mum with a need to earn a living. Now the nest is empty there’s more time to write and a second novel is gestating, but novels take a lot longer than children to be born!