I’m delighted to share my review today for Anne Allen’s latest novel, courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources.
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.
Author: Anne Allen
Published: October 2017 by Sarnia Press
Category: Contemporary, Historical, Romance, Crime, Book Review
Treachery and theft lead to death – and love
1940. Teresa Bichard and her baby are sent by her beloved husband, Leo, to England as the Germans draw closer to Guernsey. Days later they invade…
1942. Leo, of Jewish descent, is betrayed to the Germans and is sent to a concentration camp, never to return.
1945. Teresa returns to find Leo did not survive and the family’s valuable art collection, including a Renoir, is missing. Heartbroken, she returns to England.
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. Continue reading
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.
Two violent deaths. Separated by time, but with a fatal connection… A man loses his father. A young woman loses her mother. Both in tragic circumstances that lead, when they meet, to surprising revelations from the past.
At the heart of the two deaths lie stolen jewels. Valuable enough to kill for. Twice.
Many thanks to Anne for sending me an e-copy for review purposes as part of Rosie Amber’s book review team.
Malcolm Roget was born in Canada to where his mother fled after her fiancé, Malcolm’s father, was murdered just before the start of WW2. He has been a successful hotelier and now wants a change of direction. Having spent a considerable time in India exploring the concept of making life style changes though meditation and relaxation, he travels to Guernsey, his mother’s birthplace, to open a spa hotel and sanctuary at what was his father’s beautiful island home. While renovation works are in progress, human bones are discovered buried in the grounds. The remains prove to be those of Roland Blake, Malcolm’s father, and Malcolm’s search begins to see if his father’s killer is still alive and so bring him to justice.
Several meetings later and they were firm, if unlikely, friends. Paul agreed to help Malcolm improve his health – providing Reiki healing, personal meditation sessions and a foul tasting herbal concoction, all of which left him feeling better than he’d done for years. He became a firm believer in what he’d once thought to be codswallop and had nothing but respect for Paul. He could understand why people might want to visit a centre that offered such healing and asked Paul if he’d be interested in working for him if he were to invest in a centre.
Louisa Canning, recovering after a botched attempted burglary caused her mother’s untimely death, decides she must honour her mother’s dying wish and try to find the father she has never known. Her search takes her to La Folie, a health spa in Guernsey and brings her much more than she would ever have imagined. She and Malcolm both learn valuable lessons about life, love and family.
Louisa and Malcolm are both troubled by buried secrets and past events and, as their relationship grows, they begin to discover, not only their warmth and affection for each other but also the threads of the mystery and intrigue that binds their pasts together.
The blossoming relationship between Malcolm and Louisa is realistically drawn and, although I did find some of the dialogue a little unconvincing at times, the hopes and fears expressed are just as I would imagine. The vividly scenic descriptions of Guernsey paint a beautiful picture and bring the island to life, the beaches, the countryside and the fabulous sounding restaurants, evoking fond memories from my visit to the island many years ago and making me long for a return visit.
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!