Anne is a late-comer to writing, having only started in her middle years. (Anne assumes we’ll all be living to 100 from now on, won’t we?) She’d often had an ‘itch’ to write but was focussed on her career as a psychotherapist and bringing up three children on her own. Writing was a luxury she simply could not afford! Then a few years ago she was a reluctant entrant (pushed by her mother!) into a writing competition run by Prima magazine. They wanted a True- Life story and Anne won the first prize of £500 So she decided that writing wasn’t such a bad idea and wrote her first novel, Dangerous Waters, shortly after; eventually publishing it in 2012. As she is now more or less retired as a therapist she has devoted a lot more time to writing and published her second novel, Finding Mother, in October 2013.
A restless soul, Anne has moved around the country quite a bit, as far north as Scotland and south to Guernsey in the Channel Islands. She has learnt that the sea must be part of her soul and she is happiest when living near it.
She now lives in Devon to be near her daughter and grandchildren so she has the best of both worlds. As a family they lived in Guernsey for many happy years and she left one son behind as a valid excuse for frequent return visits. Her other son’s based in London so great for when she needs some culture
Anne is happiest in warmer climes, however, and lived in Spain for a few years. Her ideal would be to spend part of the English winter somewhere warm, possibly Spain, so that she can recharge her body and soul. So, if and when she writes that bestseller…!
Dangerous Waters: The Guernsey Novels, Book I (Romance/Mystery)
Jeanne is lucky to be alive … 15 years ago she was almost killed in a boating accident which brought heart-breaking family tragedy. Now 31, Jeanne is reluctantly returning to the Island of Guernsey following the death of her beloved Grandmother. Struggling for breath as the ferry nears the Island, Jeanne feels a dark foreboding overwhelm her as hazy memories of that terrible day resurface.
Only back on the Island to sell her inheritance – her Grandmother’s old cottage – she has no intention of sticking around to pick up her old life. But the cottage holds a secret, dating back to World War II, and Jeanne becomes drawn into discovering more. Then, shortly 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.
The truth is finally revealed, endangering Jeanne’s life for a second time…
Dangerous Waters is a heart-warming, contemporary romance and mystery that captures the reader’s imagination, written in a style comparable to that of Maeve Binchy.
Finding Mother: The Guernsey Novels, Book II (Romance)
Who is she really? Nicole is about to find out as she begins the search for her real mother, the woman who gave her away at birth. With her marriage in tatters, Nicole 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 the 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…
Guernsey Retreat: The Guernsey Novels, Book III (Romance/Mystery)
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 tortuous: conceived in Guernsey, he travels to Canada as a baby with his bereaved mother. 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, where Malcolm was conceived, but never lived and where his father 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…
The Family Divided: The Guernsey Novels, Book IV (Romance/Mystery)
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.
Into the conflict comes Charlotte Townsend, newly divorced, lonely and struggling with writer’s block and the consuming threat of impending loss. She returns for healing at Guernsey’s natural health centre, La Folie, and becomes involved in Andy’s family affairs.
Together they embark on a hunt for the truth…
Echoes of Time: The Guernsey Novels, Book V (Romance/Mystery)
Betrayal, injustice and revenge echo down the years…
1940. Olive marries farmer Bill Falla. The Germans occupy Guernsey.
All too soon Olive realises she’s made a mistake.
Her life changes when she meets Wolfgang, a German officer-
but 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 really happened to Olive, can they each survive the repercussions of the past and move on?
‘A powerful family drama packed full of mystery and intrigue. A stunningly good read.’ A ‘Wishing Shelf’ Book Review
For the last three days I have been thoroughly immersed in Echoes of Time, a family saga set in Guernsey. Let me begin by saying how gripping this story is. Not only is the plot packed full of twists and turns, but the setting – and the characters – are lovingly described. There is, I think, nothing better than a novel written by an author who knows how to balance setting, speech and plot.
So, what did I like? Well, the opening chapter, albeit very short, is a real ‘grabber’. I’m very fond of books which open with a ‘BANG!’ and not with endless paragraphs of flowery prose. Well, trust me, this opens BIG, hooking the reader in…
I also very much enjoyed the pacing of this novel. The chapters were surprisingly short for this genre and there’s often a cliffhanger at the end of the chapters. So, although it is a family saga of sorts it is also very much a thriller and a mystery, and the style of writing reflects that.
So, would I recommend this book? Yes, absolutely. And who to? Well, pretty much anybody and everybody. If you enjoy a good thriller, this is for you. If you enjoy a complex family saga, this is for you. Or, if you simply love Guernsey, this is for you.
A ‘Wishing Shelf’ Book Review www.thewsa.co.uk
The Betrayal: The Guernsey Novels, Book VI (Romance/Mystery)
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?
I have now enjoyed all of Anne Allen’s novels, and I’m becoming a big fan. She is a very ‘lively’ writer who seems to enjoy giving her readers a wonderful set of characters in a soft, almost velvety setting. Her books also offer a strong historical element, most often World War Two when the Germans invaded the island.
In the sixth novel in the set, Fiona and her twin brother, Nigel, discover hidden artwork in the walls of an antique shop. They attempt to discover whom it belonged to but, when Nigel ‘supposedly’ kills himself, Fiona attempts to discover the truth.
I must say that The Betrayal has a very different feel to it than the other novels in the set. The island is still lovingly described, the characters just as interesting and well developed, but the underlying mystery is so prominent in this story; in fact, in parts, it is almost a thriller. The pacing is faster right from the opening chapter with Teresa and Leo deciding whether to run from the invading Germans or not. And the ending is just as exciting. All in all, totally unputdownable!
To sum up, this is a wonderful novel, with tons of pace where pace is needed, and a setting so lovingly described, it is almost a character in the book. I am happy to recommend this story, in fact, all of them, to anybody who enjoys a well-plotted mystery populated with convincing and always credible characters.
A ‘Wishing Shelf’ Book Review