Talking Location With author Kathryn Hughes – Central Spain
Novel set on Guernsey
15th July 2019
The Inheritance by Anne Allen, novel set on Guernsey.
The Inheritance is a dual timeline novel set in the second half of the 19th Century and 2012, and the links between the two stories are a house – the inheritance of the title – as well as Victor Hugo’s time on the island, when he was exiled and lived at Hauteville House.
2012 and Tess discovers that she has been left an old, decrepit house on Guernsey and determines to fly over and see the building that has been bequeathed to her by great aunt Doris. She is also keen to explore the rumour that her ancestor, Eugénie Sarchet – 5 generations ago – worked for Victor Hugo. Was their relationship anything more than copyist and writer?
She soon finds a builder Jack Renouf who will help her sympathetically restore the house in a tasteful and appropriate manner.
Back to 1860 and Eugénie’s story comes to life. She is a recently bereaved widow, has just miscarried her child and by good fortune she does indeed come to work as a copyist for Victor Hugo. He is in the middle of penning one of his great works, Les Misérables. Hugo is drawn to Eugénie because she bears a resemblance to Léopoldine, who passed away at a similar age to Eugénie and her presence seems to provide some comfort to him.
The author says she was inspired to evoke this period after a visit to Hugo’s home, and the detail of his life and family whilst residing on the island is indeed wonderfully captured in the novel. The island certainly comes to life in the capable hands of the author – touring past well known sights – and there is even a culinary visit to Fleur du Jardin which has good reviews on TripAdvisor! And yes, there is a little romance.
The two stories dovetail nicely, the switches are executed well. There is a link of domestic abuse in the both stories which tie them together further.
Anne Allen is an accomplished author and her love of Guernsey is evident. A wonderful example of literary wanderlust.
Tina for the TripFiction Team
Thanks to Anne we are giving away 4 copies (2 paperback / 2 digital) of her book. Click on this link. Closes 20th July.
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For many more books set on Guernsey, just access the TripFiction database!