My thanks to The Globeflower Agency for the blog tour invitation for The Guernsey Novels. Anne Allen has appeared on the blog a couple of times with a guest post and I was delighted to take part in the tour. I have a review of one the novels, The Betrayal, and there is also the chance to win a 2 night break in Guernsey – for entry details, please see below but first here’s a few tempting Guernsey culinary delights!
The Guernsey Novels Culinary Delights
The author Anne Allen frequently features food in her beautifully written book series The Guernsey Novels. She describes mouth-watering food which makes you crave the delicious and authentic cuisine she weaves throughout her fascinating stories.
“Food and drink is the cornerstone of the social life in Guernsey. People eat out a lot and there’s a wonderful choice of cafes, bars, bistros, and restaurants to choose from,” says Anne.
In her first novel Dangerous Waters, the protagonist Jeanne writes a book about the recipes belonging to her late grandmother, which are a delicious mix of French and Guernsey cuisine. Jeanne teams up with a chef on the island to recreate many of the traditional recipes passed down by her beloved grandmother.
Anne Allen is a firm believer in conducting thorough research for her novels and researched 19th century haute cuisine for her debut novel. In addition to research, Anne has personal knowledge and experience of Guernsey’s food culture as she lived on the island for over fourteen years. She thoroughly enjoyed sampling local produce and dining out with family and friends.
“We enjoyed eating Guernsey’s local produce including the delicacy ormers, which are similar to oysters but fried before eating. They have a limited season and people go out and dive for them.”
“I also purchased fresh produce and flowers using the ‘Hedge Veg’ schemes on the side of the road.”
The Guernsey Novels feature real places including restaurants and cafes throughout the stories. You can view the listed locations and the literary book trails within Anne’s books via the fabulous The Book Trail website.
Talking about the island’s culinary experiences, Anne state “My favourite restaurant is Da Nello, in the Pollet. It is a wonderful Italian restaurant which has a unique ambience as well as good food. We usually visit for birthdays and other celebrations.”
Anne has featured many of Guernsey’s restaurants in her novels including:
• Da Nello
• L’ Auberge
• Crabby Jacks
• Le Nautique
• The Imperial
• St Pierre Park
• Old Government House
• Bella Luce
• Le Barberie
• Marina Restaurant
• Taste of India
| The Betrayal – About the Book |
Source: My own purchased copy
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 betrayed Leo?
Who knew about the stolen Renoir?
And are they prepared to kill – again?
| My Thoughts |
The Betrayal is book number 6 in the Guernsey Novels series and although I’ve not read any of the others except for book number 2 ‘Finding Mother’ (reviewed here), please don’t be put off by the word ‘series’. The Betrayal can quite easily be read as a standalone without any loss of enjoyment.
I love a dual time novel, particularly if the setting is WW2 and purchased this book last year. Being invited on to the tour seemed an ideal opportunity to bump it up the reading mountain.
The story begins in 1940 with the island of Guernsey being threatened by German occupation. Antiques dealer Leo Bichard reluctantly sends his wife and young daughter to England to safety and stays on the island to try to keep the business running and look after their home.
In 2011, twins Nigel and Fiona Torode buy an antiques shop on the island and during renovations, discover some items hidden in the basement including what is thought to be a valuable painting by Renoir. The twins know the island well, it was their family home and although it is really Nigel who wants the business, Fiona puts her own career on hold to help him. Unfortunately it seems that someone else also knows about the hidden items and before long tragedy strikes. Fiona doesn’t accept the official version of her brother’s death and decides to conduct her own investigations. This is where the real story begins and the two timelines are woven together.
Anne Allen superbly weaves the story between the two time frames and keeps the anticipation going by ending each chapter on a cliffhanger so you just HAVE to read on! Her love and knowledge of Guernsey clearly shines though with enticing and detailed descriptions of the locations. I’ve been to the island twice, both times only for a very brief visit but now I really want to go again for a longer stay!
I thoroughly enjoyed The Betrayal and found it an intriguing and engrossing read; it hit the mark on several levels for me. I loved the historical element – Leo’s betrayal was poignant and saddening and the difficulties faced by the islanders during the occupation, including rationing and curtailment of everyday life felt authentic and well researched.
The latter day part of the story involving Fiona and the investigation into what really happened to her brother had a suspenseful feel with a very menacing undertone. Fiona’s feelings of loss and grief for her brother came across clearly as did her determination to get justice for Nigel. There was even a touch of romance which added to the enjoyment and made the characters even more engaging.
A recommended read.
Win a two-night break
courtesy of The Guernsey Novels by Anne Allen
Would you like to visit gorgeous Guernsey? Well, here is your chance to win a two-night trip to this beautiful island, courtesy of Anne Allen, author of the riveting book series, The Guernsey Novels.
The Guernsey Novels
Anne Allens fascinating book series, The Guernsey Novels, comprises six standalone novels. All the stories in her novel series, take place predominantly on the island of Guernsey and are linked by characters popping up from one book to another.
They provide an ongoing story of a village spread, so far, over 6 years. Each book is standalone with fresh new lead characters with their own links to the German Occupation during World War 2, having an impact on the present.
The Guernsey Novels are a mix of mystery, family drama, and love story and influenced by the authors love of the island where she spent many happy years. Guernsey itself is always a main character in the books, offering a gorgeous backdrop to all the sorrows, joys and tragedies she describes.
About the Author Anne Allen
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 was 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 retired from the ‘day job’, theres more time to write and Anne has now published six books in The Guernsey Novels series. She will be publishing her seventh novel later in the year.
Read more details about the prize draw, including the Terms and Conditions on Anne Allen’s Website
Blog Tour Organised by The Globeflower Agency Ltd