Author: Anne Allen
Published: April 2019 by Sarnia Press
Category: Historical, Contemporary, Dual Timeline, Romance, Book Review
1862 Young widow Eugénie is left bereft when her husband dies suddenly and faces an uncertain future in Guernsey.
2012 Doctor Tess Le Prevost, Guernsey born though now living in Exeter, is shocked to inherit her Great-Aunt’s house on the island.
The Inheritance is a well written and intriguing story that includes accurate historical details as well as a dual timeline.
The narrative moves seamlessly between the past and present. French-born Eugénie Sarchet moved to Guernsey with her husband during the 1860s only to find herself expecting a baby and widowed, her husband lost at sea.
In the present day, Guernsey born Doctor Tess Le Provost is living and working in Exeter. Tess’ family had left the island twenty years previously and moved to the mainland for her father’s job, but now Tess is back on the island to claim an unexpected inheritance. Her great aunt Doris had left Tess her house. As a child Tess had loved listening to her great aunt’s stories about their ancestor Eugénie, who was Tess’ great-great-great grandmother, and how she was connected to Victor Hugo.
’Yes, I believe she did work in his house, but there’s more to the story. Even more exciting,’ her aunt said, eyes sparkling. ‘Legend has it Eugénie had an affair with Victor and her son, born less than nine months after she remarried, was actually Victor’s child.’
Eugénie’s story is experienced through her journals—the grief for the loss of her husband and the fortuitous meeting with Victor Hugo and his mistress, M’dame Drouet, that probably saved her life. A strong friendship was born out of tragedy. M’dame Drouet becomes almost a mother figure to the young Eugénie and Victor Hugo nothing but kind and solicitous of her welfare. The offer of employment from M’sieur Hugo serving not only as a chance to work for the great man himself, but also rescuing her from an uncertain future.
My head reeled. To work for Victor Hugo! Reading and copying his masterpieces as they poured from his mind onto the page. Infinitely better than taking in lodgers.