Reviewer: Gillian Hamer, author of The Charter, Closure, Complicit, Crimson Shore & False Lights. (www.gillianhamer.com)
What we thought: This book ticks many of my boxes – particularly the 'time and place' values of Triskele Books. Set on the beautiful setting of the island of Guernsey, Allen brings the past and present alive by detailing two generations of families who both live in the same cottage.
It’s 1940 during the German occupation of the island, and the cottage is owned by Bill and Olive Falla, who endure an unhappy childless marriage – until Olive falls in love with a German soldier and Bill is taken away to a prisoner camp in France. Moving forward to the present day, businesswomen Natalie Ogier returns to her childhood home of Guernsey looking for a fresh start after escaping an abusive relationship in London.
Although the cottage Natalie buys has been beautifully modernised, it’s not long before its secrets come back to haunt her – quite literally. As Natalie tries to make a new start, she finds herself increasingly wrapped up in the cottage and its history. The new man in her life, Stuart, also has his own roots in the cottage’s past and so finds himself also drawn into the real truths behind the rumours.
I totally enjoyed this read and become engaged with the characters and drawn into the mystery. I’m a fan of books that move between the present and the past, and the writer cleverly maintained both threads effortlessly here. The locations, both past and present, were brought alive in the writing and I admit it’s left me planning a visit to the Channel Islands in the future!
You’ll enjoy this if you like: Jan Ruth, Liz Fenwick, Linda Gillard.
Avoid if you don’t like: Family secrets and ghosts.
Ideal accompaniments: Fresh crab sandwiches and a pint of cider.
Available on Amazon