Book: The Inheritance (The Guernsey Novels, Book 7)
Author: Anne Allen
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 312 (Kindle)
Published: April 2019 (UK)
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
*Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of Anne Allen's book 'The Inheritance' in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Isabelle at Fly On The Wall Press, and to the author Anne for this opportunity.
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.
(Synopsis from Goodreads - Link)
I really enjoyed this book!
When Isabelle contacted me to review Anne Allen's book, I was ecstatic. After recently finishing another Guernsey-themed book, I immediately fell in love with the place and couldn't wait to read another - so it was perfect timing when this opportunity arrived! Although 'The Inheritance' is the seventh book in The Guernsey Novels series, each book is a standalone story and therefore they can be read in any order.
The book is split into a dual timeline between the end of the 19th Century and 2012. In modern day (well, 2012), Doctor Tess Le Prevost inherits her Great-Aunt Doris's house (once Eugénie's) in Guernsey and finds it comes with a piece of history. Back in 1862, Eugénie is in mourning for her husband when Victor Hugo and his mistress Juliette Drouet come across her while on their travels. Impressed by Eugénie's writing, Victor Hugo employs her as his copyist, providing her with both an income and the beginning of a friendship. Rumour has it that Tess is a descendent of Victor Hugo, but could the rumour be true?
Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres, and this one was written wonderfully. The dual timeline weaves the past and the present together seamlessly. Typically for this type of book, I tend to favour one timeline over another, yet in 'The Inheritance' I love both of Allen's timelines as they're equally as engaging and interesting. I particularly enjoyed the structure, as the reader could explore Eugénie's diary along with Tess. There's plenty of cliff-hangers and surprises so it becomes impossible to put the book down. The writing was incredible, it felt very believable and clearly well-researched.
The characterisation also felt realistic, I immediately connected with both of the main characters (Eugénie and Tess), as both are well-developed and engaging. The backdrop of Guernsey was perfect too, and I could picture the characters there with ease. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and loved the way it creatively linked past to present - including how some events echoed one another through time. One of my favourite historical fiction reads this year, full of secrets, mystery and love - a perfect read!
Overall, I give this book a rating of four out of five stars, only because some of it felt a little slow-paced, but I'm sure many of you will love it! As a trigger warning, this book does include a miscarriage and domestic violence/abuse yet nothing too severe (you're welcome to message me for details).
Thank you again to the author Anne Allen, and Isabelle at Fly On The Wall Press for this opportunity.