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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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