It’s always an immense pleasure to welcome Anne Allen as my guest on Being Anne – and I’m particularly delighted that she asked me to be part of the launch celebrations for The Betrayal, published today. I’ve read and really enjoyed several of the books in the Guernsey Novels series – and you’ll find a whole range of reviews and features if you enter the author’s name in the blog search box – but I particularly enjoyed the last, Echoes of Time (you’ll find my review here, together with details of all the other books in the series). And I’m very much looking forward to reading and reviewing The Betrayal – I’ll be sharing my thoughts in January, and I’m really rather sorry I can’t get to it any sooner.
Let me hand over to Anne Allen…
Thank you, Anne, for giving me the opportunity to tell your lovely followers about my latest book. The Betrayal is no 6 in The Guernsey Novels series and I’m still finding it hard to believe I only published the first, Dangerous Waters, in 2012. It was meant to be the one and only book I wrote, but the stories took over…
I fell in love with Guernsey when I moved there in 1988 and spent many happy years there, until leaving in 2002. The memories never died, fuelled by frequent visits to see my son and friends, chilling out on its wonderful beaches and cafés.
The German Occupation left its mark on the island: both physically on the landscape and emotionally on the psyche of the Islanders. All my books refer to this time as well as describing Guernsey as it is today. My fifth book, Echoes of Time, and The Betrayal are both dual-time, with chapters set during the war years and the present day. The events I describe during the Occupation are based on fact, but the characters are fictional.
The Betrayal is the story of Leo Bichard, a prominent businessman whose French grandmother was a Jew, although both his parents were Christians. His family have never mentioned their ancestry but, unfortunately for Leo, someone tells the Germans, and he is deported with other Jews to concentration camps and does not return. This actually happened to the few Jews in Guernsey and is considered a shameful blot on the island’s history. The local government was unable to resist the demands of the German invaders in this instance, and my story was inspired by this event. Oh, and another inspiration was Renoir. He spent the summer of 1883 in Guernsey painting numerous versions of a particular bay, Muelin Huet, amongst others. At least one of these paintings is in a museum.
Leo sends his beloved wife and child to England a matter of days before the Germans arrive and he stays to defend his property and stand alongside his fellow islanders. However, the Germans soon impose severe restrictions on the population and Leo is forced to close his business and his house is taken over by soldiers.
When Teresa, his wife, returns after the war, she finds her home wrecked and the family’s valuables, including an extensive art collection, missing. One of the paintings was by Renoir. She returns, heartbroken, to live with her family in England.
In 2010 Nigel and his twin Fiona, locals who have lived in London since university, return to Guernsey and buy a long-established antique shop. A year later, during a refit, they 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 true owner of the painting brings Fiona close to someone who opens a chink in her broken heart. And she has to answer these 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?
Oh Anne, that looks just wonderful! I’m so looking forward to reading it, and wish you every success – thank you for joining me today.
The launch price for the kindle version is £1.99, increasing to £2.99 from 22nd October. The paperback will be out at the end of the month. The previous titles are on a promotion at 99p from 18th -22nd October.
About the author
Anne was born in Rugby to a Welsh father and an English mother. As a result she spent many summers with her Welsh grandparents in Anglesey and learnt to love the sea. Now she is based in Devon to be near her daughter and 2 small grandchildren. Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves, the longest stay being 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. Her younger son is based in London – ideal for city breaks.
By profession Anne is a psychotherapist who long had a desire to write and Dangerous Waters, her first novel,was published in 2012. It was awarded Silver (Adult Fiction) in TheWishingShelfAwards 2012. Her second, Finding Mother, was runner-up in Family Sagas in the 2013 SpaSpa Awards. The third in The Guernsey Novels series, Guernsey Retreat, was published in August 2014; the fourth, The Family Divided, in June 2015; the fifth, Echoes of Time, in August 2016.