Her Previous Self by Anne Allen (The Guernsey Novels Book Eight) | Book Review | #HerPreviousSelf #Dualtimefiction

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 new 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?

Publisher: Sarnia Press
Format: Ebook & Paperback (2 August 2021)
Pages: 272
Source: Ecopy received for review


My thanks to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and place on the tour. Anne Allen has been a regular visitor to the blog and I couldn’t resist saying yes to this latest offer to review – book number 8 in the Guernsey novels series. All the books however can be enjoyed as standalones as they feature different characters.

I love a timeslip novel and with this Guernsey series, Anne Allen does them so well. Two hundred years may separate Lucy Stewart and Mary Carre but they are both very unhappy. Lucy, recovering from a recent tragic loss and now separated from her husband, returns to her family home in Guernsey expecting some TLC from her parents however she is greeted with the news that that they are departing on a world cruise and could Lucy look after her elderly and infirm grandfather Gregory Carre. None too pleased, not least because she has never really been close to her grandfather, Lucy has to agree.

Living in the Carre mansion, Lucy experiences some very unsettling times, she hears whispers and is particularly affected by an old painting in her bedroom of Mary and Thomas Carre. Mary looks unhappy and Thomas, well he just looks cruel.

There is partly a supernatural element to this story and I just had to believe the unbelievable and just go with the flow. Lucy was susceptible, grieving for what she had lost, and was the perfect vehicle for Mary’s spirit to tell her story which was an engrossing one of love, betrayal and cruelty.  The difference between the two women couldn’t be starker – Lucy, independent and free to make her own choices and poor Mary, born of an age where first her parents decided her life and who she would marry and then she became the property of her husband.

Lucy may have been abandoned by her parents at her time of need, but she has other people around her giving support including Meg, the daily help and cook tempting her with food and some mothering. Molly, the mother of an old friend and a counsellor who helps Lucy cope with her own feelings as well as trying to help with the mystery of Mary’s story. A little bit of my heart went to grandfather Gregory; far from being the cold and aloof man of Lucy’s memory, he was a charming character and one of the stars of the book. Mary was a wonderfully engaging character, as was Lucy, once I had got past my initial misgivings about her being a tad spoilt.

There is a little bit of everything in this book, a little taste of Guernsey’s history told with a vividly described sense of place; an intriguing historical mystery and the final realisation of long held family secrets, all fused together with a contemporary story of friendship, the coming to terms with the past, looking forward to the future and a very nicely done touch of romance. I very much enjoyed it. 


Picture of author anne allen

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.

Book Links:

Amazon UK
Amazon US


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