- Author: Anne Allen
- Published: August 2016 by Sarnia Press
- Category: Family Drama, Romance, Paranormal
1940. Olive marries farmer Bill Falla. The Germans occupy Guernsey.
All too soon Olive realises she’s made a mistake.
Her life changes when she meets Wolfgang, a German officer – but there’s a price to pay. . .
The story weaves between the WWII years in Guernsey and the island in the present day. Olive married Bill Falla in the spring of 1940. Although not in love with him she looks forward to the security of having her own house. She soon finds out marriage doesn’t come close to anything she hoped for. Bill is a brute and a bully, and Olive’s life is miserable, made even more so by the occupation of the island by German forces.
In 2010 Natalie Ogier returns to Guernsey from the mainland to escape a traumatic and abusive relationship. She purchases a beautiful cottage built on the site of an old farmhouse destroyed by fire years earlier. Her only neighbour, Stuart, a relation of the original owner, lives in another renovated property, which was the old barn belonging to the farmhouse. Olive, his grandmother, disappeared around the time of the fire. When Natalie begins to experience troubling dreams, visions from the past and echoes of violence coming through, she and Stuart must unravel the mystery and release whatever is haunting her house.
Her sleep had been infiltrated by weird dreams which had left her drained, as if she had spent the night under attack. Vague memories of angry voices and raised fists percolated into her mind. What on earth was it all about. Of course, she had had bad dreams before, everyone did. But the last one had been months ago, when she was still in London and after Liam had hit her. So why now? She was safe from him and lived in a beautiful cottage with a stunning view.
Of the ones I’ve read, this is my favourite book by Anne Allen. I love dual time stories. The opening scene hooked me in straight away and the two timelines are intermingled perfectly. Olive’s story is an unhappy one, and paints a desperate picture of life during the occupation. The lack of food, medicines and general supplies, the slave workers, the rejection of those who collaborated with the German soldiers, especially those women who formed relationships with them. It was a harrowing time.
I enjoyed the paranormal aspect very much and how Olive’s sad life is unravelled and pieced together. It’s written well, with drama, family relationships and mystery, set in a beautiful place with realistic and likeable characters. The books are standalone reads but characters from previous stories do appear now and again which adds to the continuity.
My review is based on a digital copy of the book from the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or the review content.
About Anne Allen
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 was 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 retired from the ‘day job’, there’s more time to write and Anne has now published five books in The Guernsey Novels series (as at August 2016). A sixth will be published in 2017.