Today I would like to welcome you all on my stop on the Blog Tour for The Guernsey Novels by Anne Allen and I would like to share with all of you an excerpt from the 4th book in the series, called “Family Divided”. Please do show some love to all the wonderful book bloggers on this blog tour by following and sharing their work. 🙂 The author is offering a fab giveaway, so don’t forget to enter and good luck to you all! 🙂
Publisher – Sarnia Press
Genre: Family Saga
Release date: 10 06 2015
Price*: Kindle £2.99 (GBP)/ Paperback £7.99 (GBP)
Kindle $4.05 (USD)/ Paperback $14.50 (USD)
Pages: ~ 296
Description of the book: One family, divided by death – and money.
Andy Batiste, at loggerheads with his degenerate cousin, seeks to discover the truth of his family history. Why was his pregnant grandmother forced to flee to France? What really happened to her husband during the German Occupation, sixty years ago? Who accused Edmund, the elder son and Batiste heir, of being an informer? Was he really a traitor – and who murdered him?
With Edmund’s brother Harold now head of the family, enjoying the wealth which ought to have come to Andy’s father, the family is forever divided. Andy yearns to clear Edmund’s name and restore his father to his rightful inheritance.
Into the conflict comes Charlotte Townsend, newly divorced, lonely and struggling with writer’s block and the consuming threat of impending loss. She returns for healing at Guernsey’s natural health centre, La Folie, and becomes involved in Andy’s family affairs. Together they embark on a hunt for the truth…
Excerpt: Family Divided – The Guernsey Novels Book #4
The small boat bobbed up and down as the waves splashed gently against the sides and the two men on board adjusted their rods.
‘I heard your cousin Dave is up for assault again, hurting the other guy pretty bad, so they say,’ Jim Batiste remarked, fitting a chunk of bread on his line. ‘He could go down again for it.’
The familiar anger coursed through Andy’s veins. ‘Dave’s always been a waste of space.
He brings the family name into more disrepute than my grandfather ever did. And he was innocent,’ he growled, the image of his cousin’s grinning face overlaying his father’s in front of him. He had history with Dave, the cocky grandson of his great uncle. When they met as boys Dave had been quick to remind him how he was the one from the wealthy side of the family and Andy was a nobody. The taunts had inevitably led to fights which Dave, bigger and heavier and playing dirty, always won.
As the image faded Andy watched his father throw out the line with an expert flick. Something he had never managed as well, in spite of hours of Jim’s patient tuition.
His father screwed up his eyes against the sun, checking the float was where he had meant it to be. Satisfied, he turned to his son.
‘You’re right about Dave. It’s a good thing his father didn’t live to see how he turned out. The trouble is that mother of his has spoiled him rotten. Never had a firm hand. Not like you,’ he said, grinning.
‘Right there, Dad! I never got away with anything. And Mum was just as strict,’ Andy said, straight-faced.
They both laughed. His mother, Yvette, was a pussy cat where her only child was concerned.
Andy threw his own line over the side of the boat and, for once, the rod made a graceful arc over the water. Settling back on his canvas stool, he allowed himself a moment to admire the sandy bay of Moulin Huet basking in the warm September sun. He liked this spot where his father’s boat was anchored; just in from the Mouillière rock. When he was a boy his parents had often picnicked on the beach and he loved to swim out to the rock to prove how strong a swimmer he was.
‘Don’t suppose you’ve seen Dave in a while, have you?’ His father’s voice brought him back from his happy memories.
‘I’m not likely to, am I? Not only does he spend much of his time incarcerated in Les Nicolles with the other island reprobates, but when he’s out he wouldn’t speak to me any more than I would him. I despise his family for what they did to my grandmother and…and you and Mum,’ he said, aware of a hot tide of anger flowing to his head. That bloody family! Somehow they had swindled his father out of the Batiste estate, and hadn’t even acknowledged him as one of the family. Under Guernsey law at the time, as the eldest son, Jim’s father Edmund would have inherited the whole lot after old man Neville died if he hadn’t been killed so young. After his death Jim was the natural successor, not Dave’s grandfather Harold, the younger brother.
Forcing himself to take a deep breath, he studied his father, now engrossed in lighting his pipe. A wiry sixty-four-year-old, with hands calloused from years of hauling fishing nets, his face bore more lines than usual. He looked tired and Andy wondered if his back was bad again and wrecking his sleep. He should never have had to work so bloody hard! If it wasn’t for that bastard Harold…Feeling his chest tighten again, he took another deep breath before saying, ‘Dad, I wish you’d explain why you weren’t acknowledged as the natural heir when you arrived from France and–’
Jim’s eyes flashed. ‘How many times do I have to tell you I’m not prepared to discuss it! Ever. It’s history and not your business.’
‘But it is my business! Apart from the fact I’d have liked to see you and Mum enjoying the comfortable lifestyle you were entitled to, I’d have not had to endure the taunts of being poor from the boys at school, including that…that toerag Dave.’ Andy fought hard to control his temper. He didn’t want to fall out with his father, particularly when they were fishing together, always something he enjoyed.
Jim seemed to shrink in front of his eyes. ‘I’m sorry, lad, for what you had to put up with. It’s not what I wanted or expected when your mother and I came over here. But can we put it aside for now and concentrate on the fishing? I’d been looking forward to coming out with you today,’ he said, a pleading look in his eyes.
Andy nodded, reluctantly accepting once again the subject was closed. For now. But perhaps one day…
A strong pull on his rod announced he had caught something.
‘Dad, I’ve got the first bite! And I reckon it’s a big one.’ He managed a smile as he reeled in the line, the anger easing with the chance of a catch.
‘Good on you, lad. We might have fish for supper after all,’ Jim said, puffing on his pipe.
Andy had to hold on tight as the fish fought to free itself but slowly he won the battle and reeled in a dark grey slithering fish, grabbing it quickly as it landed on deck.
‘Black bream. A good weight too. About 3lbs, I reckon. Make a good supper, it will.’
Andy grinned at his father as he expertly pulled the hook from the fish’s mouth and dropped it in the water bucket.
‘Do you want it for you and Mum? Or are you planning on catching your own supper?’ he asked, his grin broadening.
Jim was saved from answering as his own line gave a quick pull and he braced himself to reel in his catch. The fish flashed silver in the sun as it was dragged through the water.
‘Grey mullet, about 4lbs,’ muttered Jim as he finally grabbed the fish and, after removing the hook, dropped it in the bucket with the bream.
‘So neither of us will go hungry tonight, Dad. Happy to stay a bit longer and stock up the freezer?’
Jim nodded. ‘Not too long, though. My back’s been playing up lately. I don’t want to have to pay a visit to the osteopath again. He charges an arm and a leg and I’m not convinced it does me much good.’
Andy knew his father did not have much spare cash; his only income was the State Pension and his wife’s meagre earnings. And he was too proud to accept financial help from his son.
‘I’ve an idea, Dad. I’m on good terms with the people running the health spa in Torteval. If you remember, I was the architect for the renovation and extension. How about if I ask if someone could take a look at your back? As a bit of a favour to me. I’ve heard good reports about the therapies they offer,’ Andy said, keeping his fingers crossed his father would agree. If there was a charge, he would pay it without his father knowing.
‘I don’t know,’ Jim said, frowning. ‘Sounds a big favour to me. And what if I needed more than one treatment? You can’t expect them to keep seeing people for nothing.’
‘No, but it wouldn’t hurt to let me ask, would it? You never know, one session might be all you need if the right person takes a look at you.’
‘Suppose not. It would be good not to be in pain as much.’
‘Right it’s agreed, then. I’ll give Paul a ring and see what he says. Now, shall we have a little bet on who catches the most fish?’ Andy said, pleased his father had agreed. Sort of.
‘Cheeky devil! You know I’m a better fisherman than you, any day. You’ll be throwing your money away, I warn you,’ Jim said, with a grin.
They settled down to their fishing and, two hours later, Jim was the undoubted winner at five fish to Andy’s three. After handing over the sum of two pounds to settle the bet, Andy helped his father to clear their gear away before Jim took the wheel and started the engine. Andy sat quietly in the stern while his father steered the boat around the coast towards Bordeaux Harbour in the north of the island. Guernsey’s south coast was rocky and the cliffs loomed above them as they motored onwards.
Andy felt the remnants of his recent anger rise again as they approached Telegraph Bay. The place where, sixty years ago during the German Occupation, his grandfather, Edmund, having been branded a traitor by his brother Harold, had been pushed to his death.
About the Author: Anne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. She was born in Rugby, to an English mother and Welsh father. As a result she spent many summers with her Welsh grandparents in Anglesey and learnt to love the sea.
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 has long had creative ‘itches’, learning to mosaic, paint furniture, interior design and sculpt. At the back of her mind the itch to write was always present but seemed too time-consuming for a single mum with a need to earn a living. Now retired from the ‘day job’, there’s more time to write and Anne has now published six books in The Guernsey Novels series. She will be publishing her seventh novel later in the year.
Website – http://www.anneallen.co.uk / Twitter – @AnneAllen21
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