It’s almost five years since I was fortunate enough to interview Anne Allen here and I’m delighted to welcome her back to Linda’s Book Bag today to stay in with me as part of her Guernsey Novels The Inheritance blog tour with Love Books Group and I’d like to thank Kelly for inviting me to participate.
Staying in with Anne Allen
Welcome back to Linda’s Book Bag Anne and thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.
Thank you for inviting me.
Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
I’ve brought the seventh book in my Guernsey Novels series, The Inheritance, which is celebrating its first birthday. All the stories are standalone but linked by characters popping up from previous books like old friends.
Happy The Inheritance book birthday Anne!
The Inheritance, like some others, is dual-time but it differs in the period. Whereas most of the books reference the German Occupation, this one features the author and poet Victor Hugo, who lived in exile in Guernsey for many years in the late 19th century.
I never knew that about Victor Hugo! Tell me more about what we cam expect from an evening in with The Inheritance?
You will journey in time between the story of Eugénie, a young French widow living in Guernsey, who lives in the same street as Victor Hugo, albeit in a much more modest house, and her four times great granddaughter, Tess, a doctor who inherits her house. Hugo was, and still is, a prominent figure in Guernsey and his house is now owned by France and open as a museum, kept as it was when he died. The story offers an insight into Hugo’s life, his family and his incredible output of works. He wrote the final chapters of Les Misérables in Guernsey.
I’m feeling incredibly ignorant Anne. I’ve been to Guernsey well over 70 times (albeit only on the airport tarmac as I was on my way to work in Jersey) and I never knew Victor Hugo had lived there. I love the sound of The Inheritance, not least because I so enjoyed reading Les Misérables and Les Mis is my favourite stage musical and I’ve seen it four times.
What else have you brought along and why?
A photo of the great man himself, one of his house and one of his daughter Léopoldine.
The house and this daughter were the inspirations behind my book.
I have visited this house several times and it never fails to amaze me. As colourful as the man himself, it is full of tapestries, pictures, books, carvings and furniture all collected by Hugo or made by him. This room is called the Red Salon and where I had Eugénie copy out Hugo’s manuscripts while he worked in his ‘lookout’ in the roof. Eugénie is nineteen, the same age as Léopoldine when she drowned with her new husband in the river Seine in 1843. I created Eugénie in her image and when Hugo first sees her he thinks she is his daughter’s ghost – he believed in spiritualism.
How amazing. This is a far cry from a cold and drafty garret room isn’t it? You’ve made me determined to read The Inheritance as soon as I can Anne. It sounds an absolutely fascinating book. Let me tell Linda’s Book Bag Readers a bit more:
How close were Victor Hugo and his copyist?
1862 Young widow Eugénie faces an uncertain future in Guernsey. A further tragedy brings her to the attention of Monsieur Victor Hugo, living in exile on the island 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 Dr Tess Le Prevost, Guernsey-born but living in England, 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 her close relationship with Hugo. Was he the real father of her child? Returning to the island gives Tess a fresh start and a chance to unlock family secrets.
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.
The Inheritance is available for purchase here.
All Anne’s books are available here.
About Anne Allen
Anne was born in Rugby to a Welsh father and an English mother. As a result, she spent many summers with her Welsh grandparents in Anglesey and learned to love the sea. Now she is based in Devon to be near her daughter and two small grandchildren. Her restless spirit has meant many moves, the longest stay being 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. Her younger son is based in London – ideal for city breaks.
By profession, Anne was a psychotherapist who long had a desire to write and Dangerous Waters, her first novel, was published in 2012. It was awarded Silver (Adult Fiction) in The Wishing Shelf Awards 2012. Since then she has published six more books in The Guernsey Novels series; Finding Mother, Guernsey Retreat, The Family Divided, Echoes of Time – winner of The Diamond Book Award 2017, a finalist in Readers favorite awards and granted a ChillWithABookAward, The Betrayal, and The Inheritance, published April 2019.