Everything will change, my love, she whispers to her only baby. I will make sure you are protected, looked after, loved. She commits his smell, the feel of him, to memory and fastens the gold St Christopher’s medal around his neck, tucking it into the blanket. Kissing him one last time, she lets him go. And with him go the pieces of her shattered heart.
London, 1940. Clara Knight grew up an orphan in the first world war and now is fighting to win the second. Nursing brave soldiers, she falls in love with one of her patients, whose warm brown eyes give her hope for a brighter future. But then he is sent to the front, leaving her alone with their child amidst the bombs raining down on the city… When she is offered the chance to give her son a better life, Clara makes the impossible choice to let him go. She leaves her mother’s precious St Christopher pendant with him, vowing to find him again when the war is over, so they can be a family once more.
Years later. Indira’s life has taken an unexpected turn and her only solace is caring for her grandfather. As he lies in bed, weak and confused, he calls her ‘Clara’, begging forgiveness for an unknown terrible act, tears rolling down his face. Indira goes looking for the truth… and discovers a tattered box of unsent letters, a gold St Christopher’s medal and a photograph of a baby swaddled in a blanket. Who was Clara Knight? And who is the baby in the photo? Her quest will reveal a devastating secret spanning decades, and change everything Indira thought she knew about her family…
An unforgettable and heart-breaking novel set in World War Two about the powerful bond between a mother and her child and a betrayal that echoes across generations.
I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Set across two continents and two world wars, this is an epic, and at times heartbreaking family saga full of betrayal, prejudice and sacrifice tempered with the power of love. This author writes from the heart with a myriad of emotions. Her writing is insightful and lyrical, riven with sensory imagery that transports the reader to the place and time. The two women face similar issues years apart determined, and driven they find a way through them.
Ever since she was adopted from an orphanage in Sri Lanka, Paloma has led a privileged Californian life: the best schools, a generous allowance and parents so perfect that Paloma fears she’ll never live up to them.
Now at thirty, Paloma has managed to disappoint her parents so thoroughly that their relationship will never recover. Unemployed and friendless, the only person still talking to her is Arun – the Indian man subletting her spare room. That is until Arun discovers Paloma’s darkest secret, one that could jeopardize her fragile place in this country, and the next day is found face down in a pool of blood.
On finding Arun’s body Paloma flees her apartment. But by the time the police arrive, there’s no body to be found or signs of struggle – and no evidence that Arun ever even existed in the first place.
The police may be quick to dismiss everything, but Paloma knows what she saw. Is this tangled up in her childhood in Sri Lanka and the desperate actions she took to leave so many years ago? And did Paloma’s secret die with Arun or is she now in greater danger than ever before?
I received a copy of this book from Hodder and Stoughton via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
An intense and twisty psychological thriller told in dual timelines. Present-day San Francisco finds Paloma’s life in a desperate freefall. The reasons why gradually emerge intricately tied to her childhood in an orphanage in Sri Lanka. Paloma is an unreliable protagonist, drinking too much alcohol whilst taking prescription drugs for her mental health issues. She is intelligent and likeable but is on a self-destructive path. There is a resonating, supernatural element in this story. Beginning in her past Sri Lankan life, becoming increasingly disturbing in her adult life. Delusional, a clever revengeful illusion, or something more menacing? The reader doesn’t know until the final revelations.
Relentless pacing keeps the reader turning the pages. It allows little time to peruse the evidence. The plot keeps its secrets well the reveals are few but impactful. Amidst the sinister and supernatural,` there is a poignant ethos surrounding the main protagonist. It shows her loneliness and vulnerability.
When Stina and Jack move to an old rural cottage, they’re hoping for a fresh start.
Their new home is run-down compared to their neighbour’s, but generous Mrs Barley quickly becomes a friend. Until Stina sees a mysterious figure in the widow’s garden, and her happy new life begins to unravel. And when she hears strange noises in the night, she is forced to question if Mrs Barley is what she seems.
Why do the other villagers whisper about her? Why is she so eager to help the couple? And what is she hiding in her picture-perfect home?
I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The opening chapter of this story takes the reader back to 1964 and a domestic scene, relatable yet with sinister implications. Time moves forward to 2012 when Stina and her partner move into Whisper Cottage. Stina’s unplanned pregnancy, the catalyst for the country move. Immediately there are echoes with the book’s beginning, and you wonder if they too will feel the pressures of raising a young child.
This is an atmospheric story with hints of supernatural events and the possibility of mental health issues for the young expectant mother. Stina is an unreliable protagonist. The reader is never sure if she sees what she thinks she does. The villagers’ archaic reaction to Stina’s neighbour is complex, disturbing and believable.
The intricate world-building slows the pace but is integral to the story’s authenticity. The plot twists are impactful. This is an intriguing gothic style mystery with hints of domestic noir and psychological suspense.
Anne Wyn Clark lives in the UK, in the Midlands, with her husband, son and a feisty chinchilla. She has three (now grown-up) children and five grandchildren. She is particularly partial to Italian food, decent red wine (or any coloured wine come to that…) and cake – and has been known to over-indulge in each on occasions. She is passionate about animals and their welfare. Whilst she has enjoyed writing for many years, a love of all things gothic inspired her to try her hand at producing something dark and twisty, culminating in the haunting Whisper Cottage.
I received a copy of this book from the author via Midas PR in return for an honest review.
This is an excellent sequel to the impactful and intriguing Number 10, which I enjoyed despite being considerably older than the Teen/Young Adult audience this series is aimed at.
Gray, target for the paparazzi, and terrorists is a resident at an exclusive boarding school renowned for keeping dependants of VIPS safe and secure. This book explores her adventures and relationships and the conspiracy that threatens the prime minister her mother.
It’s a balance of coming of age and political thriller that delivers an intriguing, insightful story.
Society heiress Evelyn Brooke-Edwards is a skilled interrogator – her beauty making her a non-threat in the eyes of the prisoners.
Farm girl Betty Connors may not be able to type as she claimed, but her crack analytical skills soon find her unearthing covert connections.
German ex-pat Judith Stern never expected to find herself listening in to German POW’s whispered conversations, but the Nazis took her father from her so she will do whatever it takes to help the Allies end this war.
Billeted together in the attic of Latimer House – a place where secrets abound – Evelyn, Betty and Judith soon form a bond of friendship that carries them through the war. Because nothing is stronger than women united.
Tucked away in the Buckinghamshire countryside, Latimer House, a grand country estate, stands proudly – a witness to some of greatest secrets of WW2.
I received a copy of this book from One More Chapter and the Author in return for an honest review.
With vibrant characters and based on real-life historical events, this story of courage, friendship and intrigue is an engaging read. Evelyn, Judith and Betty, are three women from differing backgrounds who are billeted together during WW2 at a secret military facility. They all play pivotal roles in the war against Nazi Germany and allow the reader to explore the roles fulfilled by women during this war.
With vibrant characters and based on historical events, this story of courage, friendship and intrigue is an engaging read. Evelyn, Judith and Betty, are three women from differing backgrounds who are billeted together during WW2. They all play pivotal roles and allow the reader to explore the roles fulfilled by women during this war.
The characters are cleverly created and easy to empathise with. Their friendship is realistic and full of humour, love and poignancy. The story has an intriguing ethos and gives the reader a great sense of place and time.
This is an absorbing historical read with vivid characters and events.
Jules Wake announced at the age of ten that she planned to be a writer. Along the way she was diverted by the glamorous world of PR and worked on many luxury brands and not so luxury brands. This proved fabulous training for writing novels as it provided her with the opportunity to hone her writing and creative skills penning copy on a vast range of subjects from pig farming and watches, sunglasses and skincare through to beer and stationery.
She writes best-selling warm-hearted contemporary fiction for One More Chapter as Jules Wake and under her pen name Julie Caplin, she writes the Romantic Escapes series.
Between them, the two Js have written eighteen novels, The Secrets of Latimer House being the latest.
Dolly Perkins and Jack Larkin have grown up in the notorious gin palaces of Birmingham.
It’s a world of happiness and friendship, but also violence and poverty. Now that Dolly runs the Daydream Gin Palace on Gin Barrel Lane she can finally control her own destiny, but sometimes fate still plays its hand.
Keen to expand her empire, Dolly and Jack take on a new pub, but they are in for a shock when a foul smell in one of the bedrooms turns out to come from a body hidden in the wall.
As the police hunt for their suspect, rumours abound, spread by the local urchins – happy to be used as runners for a little bit of food and a coin or two.
But rumours can be dangerous, and as one of the worst winters on record covers everything in snow, Dolly and Jack have to fight for the lives they have made for themselves, and for the urchins that they have come to think of as family. Will the arrival of a new baby on Gin Barrel Lane bring the promise of new hope, or will the long-awaited thaw uncover new secrets and new tragedies…
The Queen of Black Country sagas is back on Gin Barrel Lane with a rip-roaring, heart-warming, page-turning story of family, friendship and beating the odds.
Lindsey Hutchinson is a bestselling saga author whose novels include The Workhouse Children. She was born and raised in Wednesbury and was always destined to follow in the footsteps of her mother, the multi-million selling Meg Hutchinson.
Evelyn Laroque’s performances at Lorenzo De Luca’s Kansas City blues club draw even bigger crowds than his bootleg whiskey. And every time he hears her voice, Lorenzo falls a little harder for the achingly beautiful blues singer. When Evelyn becomes a target for the KKK, Lorenzo faces an impossible choice. Will this son of a gangster turn to the mob if it’s the only way to protect the woman he loves?
I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The author captures this violent period of North American history succinctly. The story has a dramatic and devastating beginning, but it draws the reader into this time of lawlessness.
Evelyn is still grieving from losing her parents in a violent massacre but determined to realise her dream of being a singer whilst helping her grandmother. Lorenzo is the heir to the De Luca family, entrenched in the mob. He wants to do things differently, but his father’s influence is great. Lorenzo has powerful enemies and someone he wants to protect, but can he do it his way?
This is an atmospheric story with detailed world-building that doesn’t shy away from the prejudice and violence of the 1920s. The romance between Evelyn and Lorenzo is riven with conflicts. They both realise that any relationship would put the other in danger of reprisal, but the attraction is great and the gradual emotional connection even more compelling. The romance is forbidden but inevitable with courageous characters who the reader wants to find happiness.
I received a copy of this book from HQ in return for an honest review.
Reading this story is like opening Pandora’s box, compelling, creepy and full of unexpected consequences.
In an attempt to rescue their marriage after ten years, Amelia and Adam head to the remote Scottish Highlands. It’s clear from the beginning both have secrets and that they dislike each other. The setting is atmospheric and claustrophobic, and the writer’s excellent use of sensory imagery immerses the reader in the gothic setting.
Told from Amelia, Adam and later Robin’s viewpoints, the reader has an omnipotent view of the character’s motivations, but all three are unreliable, so who can you trust? There is also a series of secret letters which give the reader something to think about.
As the story progresses, the twists intensify. This story keeps you gripped until the very last word. You unravel part of the truth, but there is always more to discover. The characters are complex, damaged by their pasts, and have many unlikeable traits. Despite these, this story has a poignant ethos drawing the reader’s empathy.
The ending is believable, impactful and thought-provoking.
A twisting tale of elemental magick and a broken ecosystem, Earthlings is the spellbinding debut from Ray Star exploring family, friendship and the intrinsic value of nature
Peridot Watkins has always lived a very sheltered life. Raised on a remote island by an over-protective mother, she has never spoken to anyone outside of her family.
Until one day, a strange boy Euan knocks on her window, mumbling about escape from captivity on the mainland and Peri quickly learns that the world isn’t safe for people like them. It isn’t safe for Elementals, those who have the power to control earth, air, fire, water and spirit.
On her quest to learn the truth, Peri escapes the island to discover that the world is worse than she could have possibly imagined. Humans are slaves, animals can talk and the world is run by unruly chickens.
Peri is thrown into a world she barely understands; caught in an ongoing battle for freedom and struggling to command her magick whilst trying to find Euan, who is entangled with people who may not be as straight forward as they seem. Peri’s abilities may be what is needed to save humanity but at what cost?
I received a copy of this book from the author via Midas PR in return for an honest review.
Earthlings is intended for the young adult fantasy age group, but it explores issues that affect everyone. There is something in this story to capture most people’s interest. It envisages an alternative world where the balance of power shifts from humanity to the animal world. Whether you are an advocate of animal welfare or not, it’s hard not to see that current practices using animals are likely to harm not just them but humans too.
Peri’s sheltered life leaves her unprepared for her exceptional skills and the real world she encounters. This story is about how she copes and the difference she can make. It’s a coming-of-age fantasy story, but its setting and the world-building gives it a dystopian ethos. The inhumanity shown to animals is reversed in this world with humans as the farmed captive creatures. The story has a serious message that is impactful because of the quality of the storytelling. Adventure, friendship, family and relationships are all explored. Magickal practices feature strongly in this story through the main protagonist and as a major plot strand giving this story an engaging vibrancy.
The characters are believably crafted and draw the reader quickly into a world that should defy belief but doesn’t.
Q&A with Ray Star – #Earthlings
When creating your story, which comes first, the characters, plot or setting? Why do you think this is?
I am going to be completely honest with you, I have no plan of action when it comes to writing. The words find their way to me when I’m in the moment, and I rarely, if ever, know what I am going to write.
The Earthlings story came to me bizarrely when I was at lunch with my mother, a few weeks after my dad’s funeral. We were seated next to a small tropical fish tank, and I remember feeling so sad for the fish that would inevitably spend their lives swimming round in circles, never experiencing freedom.
I remember vividly, turning to Mum and saying quite out of the blue, “I’m going to write a book about animals that can talk.”
She stopped eating, put her fork down and said with a smile, “Well, why not?”
“Yes,” I thought, “why not indeed?”
I looked down at my dad’s ring that I wear always, and as the green gem twinkled back at me, Peridot’s tale came to life from there.
What are the inspirations for Earthlings – The Beginning, your debut fantasy novel?
Animals and the environment were the reason behind the creation of the Earthlings trilogy. As a practising eclectic green witch, I have a deep love for the natural world, and it pains me to witness how humanity neglects our home and its inhabitants.
I wanted to write a book that had a conscience to the narrative, enabling readers to contemplate how life could be if we were no longer the dominant species on the planet.
World-building is an essential component of fantasy novels. How did you create yours?
This was surprisingly the easiest part of writing Earthlings, I looked at modern day society and without giving too much away, reversed some of the roles.
I remember thinking another writer might have a similar concept and beat me to it, itching to publish the book so I didn’t miss the opportunity to share the Earthlings tale.
Did you set out to write a book suited to the young adult market? If so, can you share why you believe they are your target audience?
I knew from the moment I wrote the first chapter that I wanted the story to revolve around teenagers, finding their inner power and trying to make positive changes for the planet. It’s a concept I believe we can all relate to.
Deep down, everyonewants to make the world a better place.
I also wanted to incorporate some of my daily practises as an eclectic witch into the novel, as an avid YA Fantasy lover, giving Peridot magick (yes – magick with a ‘k’), was too tempting to resist.
This was the only aspect of Earthlings that I debated – whether to include magick. In the end, it was my love for YA Fantasy that made it an easy decision to make.
Is this book part of a series? If so, what aspect of elemental magick and the ecosystem does the second book explore?
Earthlings includes genuine magickal practises that I use in my own rituals, from herbal lore, crystal healing and invoking the elements to following moon cycles – I wanted to include practical magick that works and that we can use in our lives today.
Earthlings is book one of a trilogy as the story has many depths that I wanted to cover, and I physically could not cram them all into one book, as much as I wanted to!
The following book in the trilogy (Dominion) is in the editing process due for release this festive period, with the final instalment (Land of hope and glory) to be released next year.
A little inside secret for your followers; I will be writing a prequel (The Changing) which will be Peridot’s mother’s story explaining how the Earthlings world came to be, and I plan to have a spin off series from this once that book is complete.
Readers can sign up to my newsletter on raystarbooks.com for more details on this to come next year!
What five words summarise your story. Can you explain why?
Earthlings is the world we live in today, reversed, and with a hearty helping of magick added to each page.
Ray Star is a Fantasy author from Essex with a passion for animal rights and eco-living. She can often be found writing, exploring nature and occasionally stargazing underneath a full moon with a tarot deck in one hand and a strong cuppa in the other.
Earthlings was conceived from a love for the environment and inspired by her father, whose passing was a catalyst in leading a greener lifestyle.
Ray’s dream is to one day open an animal sanctuary and wildlife reserve in memory of her father. Earthlings is Ray’s debut novel and the first book in the Earthlings trilogy.
Two women, living two hundred years apart but closer than sisters.
Mary, miserable in her marriage to Thomas Carre, a merchant and privateer and living in the newly-built family mansion in Georgian Guernsey.
Lucy, separated from her husband after a tragic loss and now acting as an unwilling sitter for her elderly grandfather, Gregory Carre, who has inherited the same mansion.
Lucy is haunted by Mary’s continued presence in the house and finds herself being pulled more and more back in time. How is it possible for her to live as Mary? To experience scenes from her tragic life? Lucy is forced to come to terms with Mary’s grief as well as her own.
The more enmeshed she becomes the more anxious Lucy is to discover the truth. Why is Mary still restless? What caused her mysterious disappearance two hundred years ago?
And can Lucy move on from her own loss to find happiness again?
I received copies of these book from the author in return for an honest review.
I’ve read all the stories in ‘The Guernsey Novel series, and this one travels further back in time than previous ones but still retains its unique connection to the island. Georgian Guernsey was built on privateering and most likely smuggling. It is against this dangerous background that part of this timeslip story takes place.
Lucy returns to her island home after a tragic life-altering loss that left her broken and depressed. The strain on her marriage proved insurmountable, and she separates from her husband. Her parents, currently resident at her paternal grandfather’s mansion, offer little emotional support and leave Lucy to look after her ailing grandparent when they take an extended holiday.
The contemporary element of this story charts Lucy’s battle with depression after the loss of her baby. It is emotional and realistic and makes her easy to empathise with. Her vulnerability makes a supernatural experience possible. She feels emotionally connected to Mary, a distant relative who went missing over two hundred years previously.
Thetimeslip element of this story is cleverly crafted. The two stories are both well-written drawing the reader into different worlds. The story is poignant, and the historical element disturbing, but it’s addictive reading because you are invested in the characters.
Guernsey gives this story added uniqueness, both in the historical detail and contemporary imagery.
This is another compelling chapter in this gentle saga of Guernsey life past and present.
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1862 Young widow Eugénie faces an uncertain future in Guernsey. A further tragedy brings her to the attention of Monsieur Victor Hugo, living in exile on the island only yards away from Eugénie’s home. Their meeting changes her life and she becomes his copyist, forming a strong friendship with both Hugo and his mistress, Juliette Drouet.
2012 Dr Tess Le Prevost, Guernsey-born but living in England, is shocked to inherit her Great-Aunt’s house on the island. As a child, she was entranced by Doris’s tales of their ancestor, Eugénie, whose house this once was, and her close relationship with Hugo. Was he the real father of her child? Returning to the island gives Tess a fresh start and a chance to unlock family secrets.
Will she discover the truth about Eugénie and Hugo? A surprise find may hold the answer as Tess embraces new challenges which test her strength – and her heart.
A delightful mix of contemporary and Victorian life on Guernsey, with colourfully described historical details, and an engaging contemporary story full of romance, friendship and family drama.
Tess unexpectedly inherits an old house on Guernsey where she spent her childhood, Visiting her inheritance, she is drawn to the rundown house and being at a crossroads in her life decides to renovate and make Guernsey her home again.
Characters from previous stories make cameo appearances, but the story is standalone. The story slips between 2012 and Victorian times, told from Tess and Eugenie’s points of view. Both stories are complex and interesting, and there is a historical mystery for Tess to solve.
The story features a real historical figure, although the story is fictional, his presence as a character adds authenticity and depth.
Domestic abuse is a primary theme in this book, and it serves to highlight, its prevalence, and the differences and similarities between contemporary and Victorian women, in abusive relationships.
The storytelling is enthralling, the setting vividly described and the connections between the past and present meaningful. A lovely mix of believable characters and a realistic but hopeful ending make reading ‘The Inheritance’, a lovely way to spend an afternoon.
Book Six of The Guernsey Novels is another dual-time story set during the German Occupation and present-day Guernsey and is likely to appeal particularly to fans of the book The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
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.
2011. Nigel and his twin Fiona, buy a long-established antique shop in Guernsey and during a refit, find a hidden stash of paintings, including what appears to be a Renoir. Days later, Fiona finds Nigel dead, an apparent suicide. Refusing to accept the verdict, a distraught Fiona employs a detective to help her discover the truth…
Searching for the rightful owner of the painting brings Fiona close to someone who opens a chink in her broken heart. Can she answer some crucial questions before laying her brother’s ghost to rest?
Who knew about the stolenRenoir?
And are they prepared to kill – again?
I love this series, it has all the best qualities of a cosy mystery in a breathtaking setting, with just a hint of the supernatural and historical flashbacks that illuminate the present mystery.
Believable, interesting characters are easy to empathise with and draw you into present-day Guernsey and it’s WW2 legacy, most notably the German occupation of the island. The gentle romance and supernatural elements enhance the storyline. The writing is clever as present-day events are determined by their historical roots.
Whilst they are standalone read; characters and situations from previous novels inform this story. If you haven’t read the other books in the series check out my reviews and read them for yourself.
This story is a pleasing, page-turning read, that makes me want to reacquaint myself with the mystical island of Guernsey.
The fifth of The Guernsey Novels, Echoes of Time is a dual-time story set in the German Occupation and present-day Guernsey and is likely to appeal to fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
Betrayal, injustice and revenge echo down the years…
1940. Olive marries farmer Bill Falla. The Germans occupy Guernsey.
All too soon Olive realises she has made a mistake. Her life changes when she meets Wolfgang, a German officer-however there’s a price to pay. . .
2010. Natalie Ogier returns to Guernsey to escape an abusive relationship – only to be plagued by odd happenings in her beautiful cottage on the site of a derelict and secluded farm. Disturbing dreams, disembodied voices and uncanny visions from the past. She becomes increasingly ill at ease as someone else’s past catches up with her own…
Her only immediate neighbour, Stuart, is the grandson of the original owners, Bill and Olive.
Thrown together in a bid to find out what happened to Olive, can they each survive the repercussions of the past and move on?
All the ‘Guernsey Novels’ are defined by their memorable characters, vivid setting and intriguing plots, ‘Echoes of Time’, has all of these qualities and something extra that makes it a gripping and worthwhile read.
The cross over and parallels between Guernsey’s past and present are explored in greater detail in this story and Natalie, who returns to the island after a traumatic incident, experiences life in war torn Guernsey, in a most disturbing way.
Escaping her past Natalie witnesses a woman’s life with a startling similarity to her own, is her subconscious playing tricks on her or is what she dreams and experiences real?
The mystery enfolds in 2010 with flashbacks and time slip to occupied Guernsey in World War Two. The historical element is well researched and often anecdotal and blends with the present in a believable, easy to read way.
Characters’ flaws make them authentic and human. Natalie finds friendship when she most needs it but will become something more and is she brave enough to let it?
A poignant, well written tale, set on a beautiful island, perfect for holiday reading and anytime you want to escape.
The fourth of The Guernsey Novels, covering both contemporary Guernsey and the time of the Occupation. Likely to appeal to fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
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.
Andy is introduced to Charlotte Townsend, newly divorced, lonely and struggling with writer’s block and the consuming threat of impending loss. They meet when she returns for healing at Guernsey’s natural health centre, La Folie, and Charlotte becomes involved in Andy’s family history.
Together they embark on a hunt for the truth…
The catalyst for this story is an incident in World War 2. A death accompanied by malicious rumour divides a family. Charlotte, who we met in ‘Guernsey Retreat’, makes a welcome return.
‘The Family Divided’ maintains the mystery and gentle romance, characteristic of this series. This story casts Charlotte in the role of detective as she unravels the secrets and rumour buried in the Batiste’s family’s past, to help and stay close to her new friend Andy Batiste.
Well paced, this story explores the growing relationship between Charlotte and Andy, and lets us glimpse the lives of previously introduced characters, Jeanne, Louise and Malcolm.
I liked the disparity between Andy’s family and Charlotte’s and how it allows both characters to grow and develop. Charlotte’s investigation is believable and what she discovers builds to a tense and well resolved ending.
If you like your mystery with vivid imagery and sweet romance you will definitely enjoy The Guernsey Novels series.
The third in The Guernsey Novels series, likely to appeal to fans of the best-selling book The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
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.
Louisa needs to find the father she has never known, to warn him of possible danger – for them both. Her search takes her from England to Guernsey. Malcolm’s journey is more complicated: conceived in Guernsey, his bereaved mother emigrates with him to Canada. Many years later he arrives in India, and from here he is led back to Guernsey to open a health centre at La Folie. This was his father’s home and where he was killed at the start of the Second World War.
At the heart of the two deaths lie stolen jewels. Valuable enough to kill for. Twice.
Finding her father brings Louisa more than she bargains for, and her life is transformed, while Malcolm learns that life is, after all, for sharing…
This third book in ‘The Guernsey Novels series is as atmospheric, as the previous two stories. There are two deaths; one historical and one present-day, which force a meeting between Louisa and Malcolm, altering both their lives. The characters are interesting and believable, the setting a delight.
The author’s knowledge of Guernsey and the other Channel Islands gives the story another compelling dimension. This is a must read.
The historical events and their significance are weaved seamlessly into the contemporary plot. There is a welcome return of some characters from ‘Dangerous Waters’ and Finding Mother in cameo roles, which enrich the story.
The plot is easy to follow and provides a perfect foil for the characters to develop, grow and interact. There is intrigue and menace and a myriad of emotions as Louisa balances what she has lost and found and Malcolm tries to make amends for a youthful, foolish mistake. A sweet romance lightens the angst.
I liked the friendship between Louisa and Charlotte and look forward to reading Charlotte’s tale next.
Three women. Three generations. Sacrifices for love…
Who is she really? Nicole is about to find out as she searches for her real mother; the woman who gave her away at birth. With her marriage in tatters, she sets out from England: travelling to Spain, Jersey and Guernsey before the extraordinary story of her real family is finally revealed.
Nicole becomes an unwitting catalyst for change in that family. Two women are forced to reveal long-buried secrets. One going back as far as the Second World War. Lives are transformed as choices have to be made and the past laid to rest…
A marriage damaged, possibly beyond repair prompts investigative journalist Nicole to search for her birth mother. Her decision threatens those who love her, leads to long buried secrets and romantic surprises on the beautiful island of Guernsey.
The setting for the second in ‘The Guernsey Novels series’ is vivid and tangible. The insight into island life makes Guernsey, an important secondary character that informs the actions of Nicole and her birth family.
‘Finding Mother’ is a gently paced story, with nostalgic echoes of magazine serials in the sixties. The characters are outwardly ordinary but their normality cloaks resentment, fear, missed chances and unwavering courage. The emotional tension is realistic and poignant and shrouded in long suppressed mystery.
Addictive and so easy to read; ‘Finding Mother’ builds to a tense crescendo before the secrets are revealed. The characters are complex and believable and make a story of everyday life, memorable.
This story will appeal to lovers of romantic sagas and quality women’s fiction.
Dangerous Waters is the first of The Guernsey Novels, linked but standalone stories, which will appeal to fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
Tragedy seems to follow Jeanne Le Page around . . .
Can she really go through it again and survive?
She is lucky to be alive … at sixteen Jeanne was almost killed in a boating accident which brought heart-breaking family tragedy. Now, fifteen years later, Jeanne returns reluctantly to the island of Guernsey following the death of her beloved grandmother. Struggling for breath as the ferry nears the island; she is overwhelmed by a dark foreboding as hazy memories of that terrible day resurface…
Only returning to sell her inheritance – her grandmother’s old cottage – Jeanne has no intention of picking up her old life. But the cottage holds a secret, dating back to World War II and the German Occupation, and Jeanne becomes drawn into discovering more. Then, soon after her arrival, a chance meeting with an old teenage crush leads her to thoughts of love.
Jeanne is forced to face her demons, reliving the tragedy as her lost memory returns.
When the truth is finally revealed, her life is endangered for the second time…
This delightful story reflects the island life it depicts; atmospheric, gently paced and full of mystery and romance. The characters are crafted realistically and easy to visualise. This is not an action packed read but the laid back writing style draws the reader into island society and culture. The cast of secondary characters give the story its depth and variety and bring the island community to life for me.
Contemporary favourites cookery and gardening widen the scope of this novel and prevent it from becoming too self absorbed and dark. The descriptions of the cosmopolitan restaurants, food and the cottage garden are vibrant and knowledgeable; as is the insight into the publishing industry.
Jeanne the vulnerable but talented heroine of ‘Dangerous Waters’ is a writer who returns to her childhood home many years after a traumatic incident drove her back to the mainland. Her chosen career has a dramatic boost when she discovers her grandmother’s hidden secrets and much treasured ancestral recipes.
Coupled with reconnecting with friends from her school days and deciding what to do with her legacy, Jeanne’s day to day life is an absorbing read. Jeanne’s poignant flashbacks reveal her traumatic past. Mystery and dangerous undercurrents threaten Jeanne’s emotional recovery until she isn’t sure who she can trust.
‘Dangerous Waters’ is definitely worth reading and I look forward to the rest of the Guernsey Novels.
Anne Allen lives in Devon but originates from Rugby. Finding early on in life that she loved the sea she spent most of her adult years moving from one coast to another. Her happiest time was spent in Guernsey where she lived for nearly 14 years and her books are all set on that beautiful island. Until recently Anne was a psychotherapist but has now retired to write full time. So far she has published Dangerous Waters, Finding Mother, Guernsey Retreat, The Family Divided, Echoes of Time, The Betrayal, The Inheritance and Her Previous Self, forming the Guernsey Novels series. The books focus on love, mystery, drama and relationships. In her spare time she dabbles in art and very occasionally housework.