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.
Escape to hills high above the French Riviera with international bestseller Jennifer Bohnet.
After tragically losing her husband, Nicola Jacques and her teenage son Oliver relocate to his father’s family’s Olive Farm in the hills above the French Riviera.
Due a family feud, Oliver has never known his fathers’ side of the family and Grandpapa Henri is intent that Oliver will take over the reins of the ancestral farm and his rightful inheritance.
Determined to keep her independence from a rather controlling Grandpapa, Nicola buys a run-down cottage on the edge of the family’s Olive Farm and sets to work renovating their new home and providing an income by cultivating the small holding that came with the Cottage.
As the summer months roll by, Nicola and Oliver begin to settle happily into their new way of life with the help of Aunts Josephine and Odette, Henri’s twin sisters and local property developer Gilles Bongars.
But the arrival of some unexpected news and guests at the farm, force Nicole and Aunt Josephine to assess what and where their futures lie.
This book was previously published as The French Legacy.
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
A poignant story of family, grief and second chances in the South of France. The characterisation and setting of this story immerse the reader into Nicola and Oliver’s lives. This is a multi-generational story with Henri, Oliver’s grandfather, as the strict, unbending Patriarch. Josephine and Odette Oliver’s great aunts welcome Nicola and her son unreservedly and are instrumental in working towards the compromise essential for the family to heal.
Romance flourishes from loss, and Nicola has to decide where her heart lies. Vivid descriptions evoke the reader’s imagination to visualise the location and the events that unfold. This is a character-led story, and each one is lovingly crafted into a believable individual who the reader can like or dislike.
Jennifer Bohnet is the bestselling author of over 14 women’s fiction titles, including Villa of Sun and Secrets and A Riviera Retreat. She is originally from the West Country but now lives in the wilds of rural Brittany, France.
Nothing ever happens in Little Challham… until the local pub owner is drowned in his own ale. Belinda Penshurst, owner of Challham Castle, is on the case!
Belinda Penshurst loves her home village Little Challham, with its shady lanes, two pubs and weekly market, and she’s determined to keep it peaceful. She may live in Challham Castle but she knows almost everything that goes on under her nose. So when irritable pub landlord Tipper is found dead in his cellar, she’s perfectly placed to investigate.
Retired detective Harry Powell moved to Little Challham for a quiet life. He didn’t expect to be dragged into a murder investigation. But the police don’t seem half as enthusiastic as Belinda about the case, and there are strange things happening in the village. Particularly the number of dogs that have disappeared lately…
Is there a dognapper snaffling schnauzers and luring away Labradors? Is Belinda barking mad to be worried that her brother Marcus was arguing with Tipper on the day he died? Belinda and Harry track down the suspects: the rival landlord, the outraged barmaid, the mysterious man in the black car following dogwalkers around. But are the dogged detectives running out of time to sniff out the killer, before he starts hounding them?
A charming cozy mystery full of laughs and eccentric characters.
I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Belinda Penshurst lives in the castle that overlooks the village. An active participant in village life, she uses her finances and influence to rejuvenate local businesses. Naturally, she is perturbed when the landlord of the pub she’s invested in is murdered. Harry is an ex-detective, working as a dog food delivery driver who uncovers a dog knapping plot. The two join forces to investigate. There is an intriguing dynamic between Belinda and Harry. Their dialogue is humorous, and they are both vibrant characters with pasts and secrets. The mystery is well-written, with multiple suspects and twists.
The intricate world-building is relatable. The characters and setting are easy to imagine, and an immersive writing style draws the reader into the village world. It’s an easy and entertaining read.
A burnt-out writer is visited by the characters he is researching while writing a book about the mysterious assassination of US President James Garfield.
Richard Todd, an award-winning writer, is outwardly successful but inwardly plagued by uncertainties. Worst of all, he can’t seem to write any more. When a bright young editor, Jenny Lambe, arrives on his doorstep to work with him on his latest book, about the assassination of US president James Garfield, his life is sent spinning off in a new direction.
President Garfield was killed by Charles Guiteau, who was tried and hanged for the murder. But was he acting alone, in July 1881, or was there a more sinister force at work? Richard hears Guiteau’s voice in his head, and as his relationship with Jenny deepens, he is visited by other characters from the assassination drama – including Garfield himself, his Secretary of State James Blaine, Republican senator Roscoe Conkling, Conkling’s mistress Kate Chase Sprague, and the investigating police officer, Detective McElfresh. Are they helping Richard to solve the mystery surrounding Garfield’s murder – or pushing him further towards the edge?
A remarkable, disturbing portrait of a middle-aged man torn between his carefully constructed life and new adventures which may beckon, in the present and the past, from one of Ireland’s most exciting emerging authors, and based on original research into a little-known period in US history.
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher via Midas PR in return for an honest review.
An engaging medley of historical and literary fiction, this original story is a satisfying read. It begins with a once-successful author being confronted with his failings by a young historical researcher at the behest of his publisher. Richard is a little stereotypical, as is Jenny, but this is intentional, and the reasoning becomes clear as the story progresses.
The author explores contemporary issues in a thought-provoking way. The story’s historical aspect is refreshing and well-researched. The appearance of the salient characters in the story brings it to vibrant life. The twist is unexpected and completes this unique story perfectly.
Owen Dwyer is a prize-winning short-story writer who has won the Hennessy Emerging Fiction Prize, the Silver Quill (twice), the Smiling Politely Very Very Short Story competition, the South Tipperary County Council Short Story competition and the Biscuit Fiction Prize, and has had stories published in Whispers and Shouts magazine. His previous novel, Number Games, was published to glowing reviews by Liberties Press in 2019, and follows The Cherry-picker (2012) and The Agitator (2004). Owen lives in Dublin with his wife and their three children.
Off the coast of Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly are a balmy haven with never-ending beaches and aqua-blue sea. But unbeknown to the happy tourists and cheerful locals, someone is about to commit a terrible crime…
Librarian Jemima Jago’s summer is off to a delightful start. By day she works on cataloguing the oldest library in Cornwall, and by night she can be found catching up over tea and chocolate biscuits with her old friend Pauley Gwynn.
When the body of Hermie Castleberry is found on the beach at Candlewick Castle, Jem’s perfect summer is turned upside down. Jem doesn’t want to get involved, but when somebody close to her is arrested for murder, she springs into action to clear their name.
Jem soondiscovers that Hermie had already ruffled a few feathers in St Morwenna and she’s worried that the police seem to have overlooked other suspects. Could Jimmy the scorned salesman or Seth the shifty scout leader have killed Hermie? As she hunts down more leads, she butts heads with the handsome Sergeant Hackman. If their relationship is purely professional, why does Jem blush every time she catches his eye?
The discovery of another victim, this time in the island’s picturesque harbor, leaves Jem reeling. Can she catch the culprit before the sun sets on summer in St Morwenna?
A charming cozy mystery from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Emma Jameson.
I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Although this book’s setting is English, the writing style is reminiscent of American cozy mysteries with an eclectic collection of characters and an enigmatic main protagonist in Jemima. This time a body is discovered on a small island in the Isles of Scilly that is the setting for Candlewick castle.
The characters are unique and have a good friendship dynamic that allows them to be successful amateur sleuths. The romantic tension between Jemima and Hack, the police detective, intensifies, which she struggles to understand. Their fledgling investigative relationship flourishes, as Jemima’s knack of seeing things from a different perspective, proves invaluable to Hack’s inquiry.
This is another engagingly quirky book in a series that is well worth reading.
Dear Listener – enclosed are all the documents you need to solve a case. It starts with the arrival of two mysterious newcomers to the small town of Lockwood, and ends with a tragic death.
Someone has already been convicted of this brutal murder and is currently in prison, but we suspect they are innocent. What’s more, we believe far darker secrets have yet to be revealed.
Throughout the Fairway Players’ staging of All My Sons and the charity appeal for little Poppy Reswick’s life-saving medical treatment, the murderer hid in plain sight. Yet we believe they gave themselves away. In writing. The evidence is all here, between the lines, waiting to be discovered.
Will you accept the challenge? Can you uncover the truth?
The standout debut thriller of 2021 that delivers multiple brilliant twists, and will change the way you think about the modern crime novel.
This book has a contemporary and original format well suited to audiobook media. The author’s insightful exploration of community, social hierarchy and relationships are intrinsic to the story.
A respected barrister is prepping for an appeal. On his instruction, two pupil lawyers investigate the case through emails, messages and crime documents. The ordinariness of the email and other electronic communications belie the information they contain. The reader is invited to get to know the characters and their relationship dynamics. Being part of the investigative team immerses the reader in the story, which is addictive.
The narrators are excellent, bringing each character to vibrant life. Whilst, there are no physical descriptions of the characters, sensory imagery makes them and the events that unfold easily visualised.
Additional information and a list of characters are divulged to the pupil lawyers. This allows them to focus on the case’s pertinent areas and produce a legal analysis of the information to make a viable appeal case. The final revelations reveal the truth with just a hint of mystery to ponder.
When a TV drama crew descends on sleepy Saxford St Peter, Eve Mallow joins the excited throng of extras in a funeral scene. But then a real body is found… and Eve gets a starring role as sleuth!
Eve Mallow is looking forward to her fifteen minutes of fame when Saxford St Peter is chosen as the location for a new drama series. A devoted people-watcher, Eve is thrilled to learn that TV stars are just as glamorous – and tempestuous – as she’s always imagined.
But then someone delivers a bouquet of poisonous flowers to the director Rufus Beaumont, making Eve worry that some of the rivalries she’s noticed are deadly serious. And when Rufus’s body is found in the church where the funeral scene took place, it’s clear that someone’s out for the kill in real life.
Eve and dachshund Gus have been on the ground from the start, and now they’re on the case, interrogating the suspects one by one. Is it the devastating diva whose relationship with Rufus was far from professional? The cameraman who caught Rufus doing something he shouldn’t? Or the groupie groundskeeper who’s in the background of every shot? One thing’s for sure – Eve must catch the killer before she stars in their next murderous production…
I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
As a devoted follower of this series, it definitely gets better with each new book. Eve Mallow, the part-time obituary writer and tea shop helper, is a lovely character. The perfect amateur sleuth being courageous, kind, nosy and quirky. Her latest role as a film extra provides lots of opportunities to use her keen observational skills. A dangerous gift and an unexpected death lead to a new commission and the chance to investigate a murder.
I love the methodical way she draws up a timeline to solve the murder. With her useful police contacts and her opportunity to interview potential suspects in her obituary writer role, she soon has lots of clues, motives and suspects, to consider.
The characters are relatable. The potential suspects have secrets that Eve and Robin discover as the story unfolds. It’s a good balance of action, deduction and investigation. The immersive writing style invites the reader to draw their conclusions too.
Serial killer Michael Reave – known as The Red Wolf – has been locked in Belmarsh Prison for over 20 years for the brutal and ritualistic murders of countless women.
A grieving daughter with a secret to unearth
Ex-journalist Heather Evans returns to her childhood home after her mother’s inexplicable suicide and discovers something chilling – hundreds of letters between her mother and Reave, dating back decades.
A hunt for a killer ready to strike again
When the body of a woman is found decorated with flowers, just like his victims, Reave is the only person alive who could help. After years of silence, he will speak to Heather, and only Heather.
If she wants to unearth the truth and stop further bloodshed, she’ll have to confront a monster.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This story has many elements which make it absorbing and addictive reading.
Heatherreturns to her childhood home after her mother’s death. She is not in a good place in her life and struggles to accept her mother’s apparent suicide. Heather, an unreliable protagonist, finds copious correspondence between her mother and a serial killer, ‘The Red Wolf’. Unsure what to make of it, and in the light of similar recent murders, she sends them to the police and begins an unorthodox investigation of the past and present crimes.
Atmospheric, and horrifically graphic in parts, it intertwines fantasy, folklore, horror and psychological suspense. The settings are cleverly crafted and provide a menacing ethos. It uses folklore and fairytales, drawing out their darkness, fusing them with psychological suspense and noir characters. It’s about good and evil, but the lines are blurred.
This story delivers the shocks of horror fiction, with the illusions and secrets of folklore, making this a creepy, disturbing and often grisly read.
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.
With an air of faded splendour, Willoughby Manor was an idyllic childhood home to Ruben De Lacy. Gazing at it now, decades later, the memories are flooding back, and not all of them are welcome…
In a tumbledown cottage in Willoughby’s grounds, Dolly and Olive King lived with their eccentric explorer father. One of the last things he did was to lay a treasure hunt before he died, but when events took an unexpected turn, Dolly and Olive left Willoughby for good, never to complete it.
But when Ruben uncovers a secret message, hidden for decades, he knows he needs Olive and Dolly’s help. Can the three of them solve the treasure hunt, and will piecing together the clues help them understand what happened to their families that summer, all those years ago?
A glorious summer read with a delightful cast of characters from the bestselling author of The Summer We Ran Away.
I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
A crumbling house full of faded glory and painful memories is what greets Ruben when he returns to his childhood home the last time before he sells it. He’s a father, but this is not something he excels at, so forgetting he is looking after his daughter for two weeks is nothing new. When they discover the first clue to a treasure hunt, his childhood and teenage memories come flooding back and make him contact Dolly and Olive, his two fellow treasure hunters.
Olive has settled for comfort and doesn’t realise it until her lover leaves her for someone else. Ruben’s request stirs up old memories but is she brave enough to face them. Dolly is driven and dangerous. When she’s suspended from the job she loves with her annoying partner, an invitation back to her childhood is the best on offer.
This is an emotional and entertaining story. The soul-searching, acceptance and forgiveness unfold in a heartwarming way. It examines relationships, family, first love and friendships. There is gentle romance for the two couples and the building of a daughter and father bond. The characters are easy to empathise with, even Ruben, as his past is revealed. There is mystery, secrets and tragedy revealed in a story full of sensory imagery and believable emotions.