Two book reviews in one day? Yes, folks. I’m that good.
(Also, I may have forgotten to make sure I hadn’t already booked a blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources, when I signed up for these, and may I just say how glad I am that I got to review both these amazing books?)
The Betrayal by Anne Allen is just… I don’t even know where to begin.
Treachery and theft lead to death – and love
1940 – Teresa Bichard and her baby are sent by her beloved husband, Leo, to England as the Germans draw closer to Guernsey. Days later they invade…
1942 – Leo, of Jewish descent, is betrayed to the Germans and is sent to a concentration camp, never to return.
1945 – Teresa returns to find Leo did not survive and the family’s valuable art collection, including a Renoir, is missing. Heartbroken, she returns to England.
2011 – 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?
Who betrayed Leo?
Who knew about the stolen Renoir?
And are they prepared to kill – again?
When I read the blurb of The Betrayal before signing up to review it, I was hesitant. My previous forays into reading historical novels set during WWII have been disappointing.
Fortunately, I also like challenging my reading zones, so I decided, what the heck?
Man, am I glad I did. Allen had me turning page after gloriously written page until four in the morning! And not just because I had a deadline to finish it by!
The book reads as a standalone, so don’t let the fact that it’s the sixth book in the series put you off. The only way I knew it was part of a series was because of the cover (and it said so at the end.)
Allen’s characters, from Fiona, to Leo and his wife Teresa, to Nigel, who’s not quite corporeal anymore, are all deeply human, and wonderfully written.
The transitions between past and present are perfect, and the revelations that come, one after the other through the course of the book, tying Leo’s story into Fiona and Nigel’s, were so well depicted that through most of the story I was either on the brink of tears or on tenterhooks waiting for Nigel’s killer to attack Fiona.
The themes of grief, betrayal and ultimately, healing, were dealt with so well; and the elements of mysticism and what I fondly term “woowah stuff” were so relatable because they were just an accepted part of daily life for Fiona and her friends.
The romance which weaves through the tale builds slowly, and Allen is careful to ensure that it doesn’t detract from the true story, which is actually Leo’s. Fiona’s life is just the medium through which it is so wonderfully told.
Throw in art, spiritualism, a bit of romance, horses, beautiful houses, healthy relationships and amazing food descriptions in just the right amounts, and you’ve got a recipe for a novel that I will probably be buying in hard-copy because it was just that good.
The Betrayal gets a rare, and well-deserved, five out of five feathers.
If you like stories that challenge your perceptions of life, death, and human nature, you’ll love The Betrayal. Grab your copy here.
Enter the giveaway to win a signed copy of The Betrayal by Anne Allen.
*I received a free copy of the book from Rachel’s Random Resources in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author
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.
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