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…
I regard Anne Allen’s Guernsey novels as an indulgent treat: they’re seriously easy to read, with some great characters and a brilliant island location which is used to full advantage: you really feel as though you’re there. Allen has a subtle insight into the dynamics of dysfunctional families – the ones with quirks in their history – and the independent people they give birth to. She doesn’t fall into the obvious trap of creating unhappiness within the families: both Malcolm and Louisa loved their mothers dearly and grew to be strong people themselves. The hint that their upbringing has left its mark is shown by the fact that Malcolm has never married – and Louisa finds it difficult to believe that the man who has stolen her heart – the manager of Malcolm’s health spa – could reciprocate her feelings. There’s a neat mirroring of circumstances with both Malcolm and Louisa having a parent killed in the search for the jewels.
There’s considerable insight too in the relationship between Malcolm and Louisa. Louisa has always known that she had a father, but Malcolm knew nothing of the existence of Louisa until he was confronted by her. There’s a wariness on both sides at first, followed by a steady growth of affection rather than insta-love and it’s a relationship you can believe in.
Whenever I read one of Anne Allen’s books I’m always disappointed when I turn the final page: the books lift me out of reality and whisk me away to somewhere warm and comfortable. BOOKBAG