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Anne Allen – The Inheritance

Book blurb

How close were Victor Hugo and his copyist?

1862 Young widow Eugénie is left bereft when her husband dies suddenly and faces an uncertain future in Guernsey. A further tragedy brings her to the attention of Monsieur Victor Hugo, living in exile on the island in his opulent house only yards away from Eugénie’s home. Their meeting changes her life and she becomes his copyist, forming a strong friendship with both Hugo and his mistress, Juliette Drouet.

2012 Doctor Tess Le Prevost, Guernsey born though now living in Exeter, is shocked to inherit her Great-Aunt’s house on the island. As a child she was entranced by Doris’s tales of their ancestor, Eugénie, whose house this once was, and who, according to family myth, was particularly close to Hugo. Was he the real father of her child? Tess is keen to find out and returning to the island presents her with the ideal opportunity.

Will she discover the truth about Eugénie and Hugo? A surprise find may hold the answer as Tess embraces new challenges which test her strength – and her heart.

Available here

My review

The Inheritance is a duel-timeline mystery and like the other novels in the series, set in the beautiful Island of Guernsey.

Dr Tess Le Prevost decides to settle on the Island following inheriting a house in Hauteville near to that of Victor Hugo’s famed Guernsey residence. But, on her arrival she finds the house in disarray and a puzzle to be solved.

What exactly was the relationship between her ancestor, Eugénie Sarchet and the famous scribe?

Oh my goodness I sat down to read this over a few days only to pretty much devour it in one sitting. The characters, all of them, just jumped out from the page and into my lounge, dragging me kicking and screaming from any thoughts of the ironing or even what to make the kids for their tea! I was bowled over by the in-depth level of research that author, Anne Allen, carried out in forming this novel. It felt like she opened a door in my mind to allow me to travel across time and to the world of Victor Hugo in the 1860’s, right down to the clothes they wore, the food they ate and the words that they said. I loved the added contrast of the modern-day characters. Eugénie felt so real that the first thing I did on finishing the book was to contact Anne to find out a little more about the facts behind her book. I adored the character of Tess. Her relationships with both of her estranged parents adds spice as does her growing affection for the local builder she engages to sympathetically renovate her property. There’s also lots of local humour, language and even the odd ‘bloney’ that makes this a must read for anyone with Guernsey roots.

The Inheritance is a beautiful book that will stay with me longer than many others in that genre – a favourite read of 2019 and one that I can highly recommend.

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Poppy’s Recipe for Life – Book review 

Book blurb

Things haven’t always been straightforward in Poppy’s life but her dreams are finally within her reach.

She’s moving into a cottage in beautiful Nightingale Square, close to the local community garden, where she can indulge her passion for making preserves and pickles. She may not have the best relationship with her family but she is surrounded by loving friends, and feels sure that even her grumpy new neighbour, Jacob, has more to him than his steely exterior belies. 

But the unexpected arrival of Poppy’s troubled younger brother soon threatens her new-found happiness and as the garden team works together to win community space of the year, Poppy must decide where her priorities lie and what she is prepared to fight for …

My review

Ooh my Easter weekend read and what a goodie. I’ve been saving this, wanting to leave the best till last. This had me both laughing and crying in equal portions. I loved the central character of Poppy as she saves both herself and the day in this gorgeous life-reaffirming read. Here Swain helps the reader press pause on all the nasty bits in their life like housework and, well more housework and dip into the wonderful life around Nightingale  Square. 

Poppy is the earth-mother type; a woman, if we all had the time, we’d love to be. But growing your own fruit and veg to make into wonderful chutneys and jams is a dream for many and not the reality. Jacob, the male lead, has everything a woman could ask for including having a difficult past and an iron-clad front that takes a brick or, in this case, sweet Poppy to storm through. I can’t help feeling we’ll here more from the characters in and around Prosperous Place and hurrah for that…

Pre-order here 


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How to maximise that word count


Procrastination is the word of the day. There’s nothing I like better than dreaming up ways to wriggle out of writing and yet I must be doing something right as I’m currently working on book number 12. Twelve books in as many years but, in truth, it did take me an age to finish the first one but I’ve honed my way of writing now.

The first book

Boy Brainy, only twenty-thousand words but, oh my. I never thought I’d get it started let alone finished. I like to say it took six-months to write and six years to edit but that’s not true. It took six years to hold my courage in both hands and self-publish.

Boy Brainy was written the good old-fashioned way with pencil and paper in my fifteen-minute coffee breaks at work. I can speed write about 200 words in those minutes so I was writing 1000 words a week, typing up late into the night when my kids were asleep (3 kids under 4 in those days).

To this day I still always carry around a pencil and notebook but I rarely use it for more than note-taking.

My Current book

I’m working on the second in a crime thriller series set in Wales, the first is finished and in the pre-publication stage. These days I like to write ten-thousand + words a week and again, my lifestyle is such that I have to cram my words in and around my day job and three teens. How I write has changed too. Whilst I don’t favour one medium over the other I use both typing and voice recognition to rack-up that word count.

What I do


Bear in mind I’m not a techie so if I can do this anyone can.

After years of trying other programmes I still write in Word but both on my laptop and phone and, instead of buying voice recognition software, I manage just fine with the built-in programmes on my devices. I don’t use it all the time but it’s easier than typing on my mobile.

But, what I’ve also done is set up OneDrive, an online Word storage programme and synced it with both my phone and my Laptop. So, now with auto-save a permanent feature of both devices I can work on the move on my phone, all the changes automatically saved to my Word document. I can’t tell you how much time this has saved and, those words keep just building-up.

I know there are other ways out there but, for someone like me who doesn’t know a RAM from a terabyte, it works.

Happy Writing x