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The Guernsey Novels Blog Tour

I am thrilled to be helping to kick off this blog tour, along with TripFiction, Chat About Books and Breaks.com.  I would like to thank The Globeflower Agency for inviting me to take part.  I have read and reviewed a couple of Anne Allen’s previous books and her latest one really was fabulous.

You are all in for a treat because not only do I have a guest post from Anne Allen herself, but there is also a fantastic competition being run throughout this tour.

 

Guest Post

Anne’s Idyllic Childhood Holidays Inspired Her Love of The Sea

Anne Allen was born and raised in landlocked Rugby. However, she recollects the magical summer holidays she spent with her Welsh grandparents in Rhosneigr, Anglesey.

“Thanks to the wonderful summer holidays I spent in Rhosneigr, I have developed a life-long passion for the sea,” Anne says.

“The sea is definitely in my blood and has shaped my life.”

Anne’s grandparents ran the main village shop in Rhosneigr, back then it was called Empire Stores. They sold grocery produce, fresh fish and shellfish, including lobster.

Whilst visiting her grandparents, Anne and her sister slept in a little attic room which they accessed via a step ladder. Their room had a window looking over the road and down to the beach.

“As we spent the majority of our year, in landlocked Rugby. Our summer holidays in Rhosneigr were magical and we had adventures like the characters out of Enid Blyton books.

“We would spend most of our days on the beautiful beach with our buckets and spades digging up the masses of golden sand.”

Anne’s father taught her how to fish for perch in the local lake, Llyn Maelog, on the edge of the village.

“We went in the early evening but we rarely caught anything. However, I enjoyed spending quality time with my father.”

Anne’s happy childhood memories of being beside the seaside in Anglesey, led her to spend a lifetime of trying to get close to the sea and eventually inspired her writing career. She continued living in landlocked Rugby until tragedy struck and changed her life forever.

“Whilst in my mid-thirties, my husband died and I was left to raise three young children on my own.

“During my grieving period, I craved to be beside the sea again.

“We initially moved to Devon. However, I then visited Guernsey and it’s golden sands reminded me of my childhood holidays in Rhosneigr.

“Craving a fresh start, I sold my house and moved to Guernsey!”

She initially tried to buy a small guest-house in St Peter Port to use as a residential health centre. However, the deal fell through shortly after they arrived on the island with her car laden with all their belongings.

“I was devastated, but looking back I can see it was just as well, for at the time interest rates were sky high and financially it would have been difficult.”

Initially, life on the island was not plain sailing, as a non-local she had to live ‘Open Market’ which was both restrictive and expensive. Anne set up her own psychotherapy practice on the island and began to build up a number of regular and loyal clients. With their support, she was eventually able to get a housing licence. Anne and her children created many happy memories on the island.

“One friend had a boat and we would go out for fun trips with our children, mooring up in one of the lovely south coast bays. The boys would jump into the sea and splash around while us girls lay decorously on deck to top up our tans.”

Anne never envisaged leaving Guernsey, however, life threw her some curve balls, and she eventually moved back to Devon. She had always craved creativity, yet, never found the time due to being a busy working mum of three children. When they flew the nest, she eagerly put pen to paper and drafted her first novel, Dangerous Waters. A few months later, she was encouraged to enter a true-life writing competition in Prima magazine and was surprised when she won. This helped to boost her confidence and encouraged her to publish her first novel.

The novel was awarded Silver (Adult Fiction) in TheWishingShelfAwards 2012. Since then she has published five more books in The Guernsey Novels series.

 

About 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’, there’s 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.

To find out more about Anne visit her website: you can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Competition

 

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 Allen’s 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 author’s 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.

The Guernsey Novels are available from all leading bookstores:

Book #1 Dangerous Waters

Book #2 Finding Mother

Book #3 Guernsey Retreat

Book #4 The Family Divided

Book #5 Echoes of Time

Book #6 The Betrayal

 

Enter the prize draw to win a two-night break at Hotel Ziggurat in Guernsey

Enter The Guernsey Novels Prize Draw https://js.gleam.io/e.js

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

The Globeflower Agenc

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Betrayal’ by Anne Allen

‘The Betrayal’, Volume 6 of the Guernsey Novels was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 20th October 2017 by Sarnia Press. I was invited to take part in this blog tour by Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources. I would like to thank both Rachel and Anne Allen for my review copy of this book.

This story is set mostly in Guernsey in the 1940s and 2011.

In 1940 Teresa Bichard and her baby were sent by her beloved husband, Leo to England for their own safety. The Germans were getting closer to Guernsey and could invade at any time. A couple of years later Leo, who was of Jewish descent, was betrayed to the Germans and sent to a concentration camp. Sadly, he never returned home.

When Teresa returned to Guernsey in 1945 she found out that Leo did not survive. The family’s valuable art collection, including a Renoir, was missing. Heartbroken, she returned to England.

It’s 2011 and 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 true 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?

I’m so glad to have been given the opportunity to take part in this blog tour. I have read and reviewed a couple of Anne Allen’s books previously which I remember really enjoying. It feels so nice to be finally reunited with this series. This book can be read as a standalone without spoiling any pleasure.

I thought ‘The Betrayal’ was absolutely fabulous. It was such an interesting read. I really like the author’s style of writing and her descriptions of Guernsey were wonderful.  It sounds so beautiful, a place to get lost in, a sanctuary. There’s also lots of mention of food throughout the story. Always a good thing even though it did make me feel a bit hungry. At the front of the book there is a map of Guernsey and the surrounding islands which is useful.

I liked the way the story switched back and forth between the present and the past. I really felt for poor Leo and what happened to him. I had a pretty good idea who the betrayer was. So very tragic. There were a number of lovely and genuine characters in this book. I warmed to Fiona straightaway and I loved her friends, especially Louisa and Paul. I also liked Michael a lot.

I really hope there are going to be many more Guernsey novels.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

~~~~~

Like the sound of this book?  You can purchase it from Amazon UK:- 

http://mybook.to/TheBetrayal

A Triple Celebration and a Price Reduction!

For this week only, until 18th February, the price of books 2-6 of The Guernsey Novels is only £1.99/$2.99, with book 1, ‘Dangerous Waters, remaining at 99p/99c

This is in celebration of Anne Allen’s birthday, the 6th anniversary of the publication of ‘Dangerous Waters’ and the recent publication of book 6, ‘The Betrayal’.

 

Rafflecopter Giveaway

To coincide with this blog tour a competition is being run.  The prize is 1 x signed paperback copy of ‘The Betrayal’.  To enter, click on this link – http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c6949460/

This competition is open internationally.

 

About Anne Allen

Anne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children, and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. 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 long had the itch to write. Now a full-time writer, she has written The Guernsey Novels, six having been published and the seventh, The Inheritance, is due out in 2018.

 

Links

Website – http://www.anneallen.co.uk

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Anne-Allen-Author-176883759173475/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/AnneAllen21

‘Finding Mother’ by Anne Allen

finding_mother_front

Last year I interviewed Anne Allen and asked her about ‘Finding Mother’, the second of her Guernsey novels.  You can read my interview with her here:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/anne-allen/

Having previously reviewed Anne’s first novel I was very interested in reading ‘Finding Mother’ and recently got round to doing so.

Nicole was just three days old when Mary and Ian Le Clerq adopted her.  Now at 35 years old Nicole’s marriage is over and she feels the need to reassess her life and find out who she really is.  So she decides to search for her natural mother.  It doesn’t take Nicole very long to find her and she is soon on her way to Guernsey.

‘Finding Mother’ is a wonderful story which follows three generations of women.  It is a tale about family relationships, secrets, second chances, love and death.

I really enjoyed Anne Allen’s first novel ‘Dangerous Waters’ and I thought it was very good, but in my opinion I would say that this book is even better.  In fact it is excellent.  I liked Anne’s writing style throughout, the way she takes the reader to many different locations and her descriptions and I thought it clever how she included a couple of the characters from her first novel in this story too.  Absolutely superb!

I loved reading about Eve’s (the grandmother’s) past.  I found her tale to be very interesting and I couldn’t wait to learn more.  How she kept things to herself for so long I really do not know.

Through book reviewing I have discovered many new authors and read some fantastic books.  I can now say that Anne Allen has been added to my list of favourite authors.  I am looking forward to reading her latest novel ‘Guernsey Retreat’ and I really hope that Anne keeps writing.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

Book Launch – ‘Guernsey Retreat’ by Anne Allen

Guernsey Retreat

Anne Allen recently published her third novel, ‘Guernsey Retreat’.

 

Blurb

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…

 

To buy yourself a copy of ‘Guernsey Retreat’ click on the link below:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Guernsey-Retreat-Novels-Book-ebook/dp/B00M8EV0DC

 

Interview with Anne Allen

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I reviewed Anne Allen’s first novel ‘Dangerous Waters’ in August last year.   You can read what I thought of it here:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/dangerous-water/

Anne now has a second book called ‘Finding Mother’ coming out and I was very keen to interview her and find out more about it.

You’ve got a new book coming out.  Can you tell me a bit about it please?

It’s called Finding Mother and follows the search of a young woman, Nicole, for her natural mother. She’s always known she was adopted but hadn’t really thought about tracing her mother until her marriage lands on the rocks, forcing Nicole to look at herself. She’s not happy with what she sees so sets off from her home in England and travels to Spain, Jersey and finally Guernsey in pursuit of the woman who gave her away.

The book looks at the stories of the other women involved too, as secrets have been buried and Nicole’s arrival opens the proverbial Pandora’s box. As I’m fascinated by human relationships I’ve focused on how people relate to each other in the family as well as romantically. Like my first novel, Dangerous Waters, there’s a strong romantic theme running through the story, going as far back as WWII.

finding_mother_front

Front of Cover

finding_mother_back

Back of Cover

Where do you get your ideas from?

My work as a psychotherapist has provided much food for thought as it’s given me a unique chance to explore the human psyche. Some of my clients were adopted as were some family members. So, once adoption became the central premise, I then looked at the idea of family secrets to give a bit of a twist 🙂 Like any writer, once you have one idea, others seem to follow although the whole plan of the book can meander into unknown territory sometimes. I think the characters take over and make their own decisions! My love of Guernsey means that, for me, it provides the ideal setting for my books. It helps that it not only has a fascinating history but is also such a beautiful island. And islands have their own kind of magic, don’t they?

In your last book ‘Dangerous Water’ there were lots of references to food.  Do you like to cook?

Mmm, sort of. I like cooking for family get togethers, but they only happen a couple of times a year. Let’s say I like the idea of cooking more than the reality! I can get very uptight if things don’t go according to plan – and time 🙂

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to try their hand at writing a novel?

Just start writing. Anything, doesn’t have to be a full-length novel to begin with. You need to have some idea of what you want to write, first. Would it be romance, thriller, mystery or paranormal? I feel you need to choose a genre who love, one you’ve devoured as a reader over the years. At the very least that would give you a feel for how others write. If there’s a story burning a hole in your brain, let it out!

Can you describe a day in your life?

At the moment it’s pretty well taken up with getting Finding Mother published, with all the attendant promotion and marketing that is involved. Such as being invited to write something for your lovely blog, Sonya 🙂 I do seem to spend far too much time on my computer, but when I can get away from it then there’s always the housework. A no-brainer, really!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Spare time? What’s that?! Well, I do like to walk by the sea when the weather’s decent. It helps me to unwind and sometimes ideas flow better after inhaling all that ozone. Indoors, I’ll watch drama on the TV or read. And I love going to the cinema or theatre with my friends.

Who are your favourite authors?

These days I’ve become very keen on historical fiction and loved Hilary Mantel’s books as well as CJ Sansome’s. I also love anything by Erica James and the late Maeve Binchy. My taste is quite eclectic and I’ll read a new author if I like the sound of the book.

Can we expect another book from you next year?

Well, I’ve made a start on my third novel, which will again be set mainly in Guernsey. It’s a romantic mystery which revolves around a newly opened Natural Health Centre in Guernsey and there’ll be a couple of bodies turning up. As with my other books, there’s a link to WWII and family secrets. At the moment the title’s either ‘Guernsey Retreat’ or ‘The Retreat’. I do hope to see it published in 2014 – sometime 🙂

‘Finding Mother’ is available as an ebook on Amazon.  Click on the link below to get yourself a copy.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Finding-Mother-ebook/dp/B00G3C1Y2W

It will be available in paperback in November and can be ordered directly from Anne through her website – www.findingmother.com

I would like to thank Anne for taking the time to answer my questions.

Sonya

‘Dangerous Waters’ by Anne Allen

‘Dangerous Waters’ is Anne Allen’s first novel.  I was asked by Anne if I would review her book and as it appealed to me I was more than happy to.  This is a story of mystery, loss and love.

Fifteen years ago, Jeanne Le Page was involved in an awful boating accident in which she lost both her mother and father.  Unable to cope and suffering from traumatic amnesia she fled from the island of Guernsey.  Now after learning of her grandmother’s death, Jeanne has to return there to sort out her affairs including the cottage which she has inherited.  Deeply unhappy after the recent end of a long-term relationship, Jeanne has no desire to pick up her life on the island and does not really know what she is going to do.

Having suffered from nightmares for years following the accident, Jeanne finds that her return to Guernsey triggers flashbacks which become extremely frightening.  Over the coming months Jeanne makes a very disturbing discovery.

I found ‘Dangerous Waters’ to be an enjoyable read.  The two genres romance and mystery worked well together.  I really liked Jeanne as a character and enjoyed getting to know her.  You get a good feel for her including what types of books she likes to read and what music she listens to.  I also found it admirable how she got on with things despite what she had been through, thus achieving a lot.  I loved the descriptions of the cottage and the garden too.

You also get to learn quite a bit about Guernsey, both in the present and the past during WWII when it was occupied.  Food certainly played a very big part in this story too.  There is a handy map of Guernsey at the front of the book, a glossary at the back and even some recipes.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

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