‘The Betrayal’, like the 5th book, ‘Echoes of Time’, is dual-time, with chapters set during WWII and the present day. The events I describe during the Occupation are based on fact, but the characters are fictional.
The first inspiration for this story was the deportation of Jews from Guernsey by the Germans during WWII. There was only a handful on the island and not long after the Occupation in 1940, they were singled out for more onerous treatment than other islanders. Eventually they had businesses and property confiscated before, in 1942, being sent to concentration camps. None returned. It is now considered a shameful blot on the island’s history, but the then local government was powerless to resist their German ‘masters’.
On a brighter note, the second inspiration was the artist Renoir. He spent the summer of 1883 in Guernsey painting numerous versions of a particular bay, Muelin Huet, amongst others. At least one of these paintings is in a museum. I joined these two known events to produce ‘The Betrayal’.
Leo Bichard is a prominent businessman whose French grandmother was a Jew, although both his parents were Christians. His family have never mentioned their ancestry but, unfortunately for Leo, someone tells the Germans, and he is deported with other Jews to concentration camps and does not return.
A matter of days before the Germans arrive, Leo sends his beloved wife, Teresa, and child to England and he stays to defend his property and stand alongside his fellow islanders. However, the Germans soon impose severe restrictions on the population and Leo is forced to close his business and months later his house is taken over by soldiers and he has no choice but to live with his housekeeper in her small cottage.
When Teresa returns after the war, she finds her home wrecked and the family’s valuables, including an extensive art collection, missing. One of those was a treasured family painting by Renoir. Learning she is a widow, she returns heartbroken to live with her family in England.
In 2010 Nigel and his twin Fiona, locals who have lived in London since university, return to Guernsey and buy a long-established antiques shop. A year later, during a refit, they 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 helps to heal her broken heart. But there are important questions to answer before she can lay her brother's ghost to rest —
Who betrayed Leo? Who knew about the stolen Renoir? And are they prepared to kill – again?
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, five having been published and the sixth, The Betrayal, is due out 20th October 2017.