My latest book in The Guernsey Novels series, ‘The Betrayal’, is dual-time, with chapters set during the war years and the present day. The events I describe during the Occupation are based on fact, but the characters are fictional.
The story starts with Leo Bichard, 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.
This actually happened to the few Jews in Guernsey and is considered a shameful blot on the island’s history.
The local government was unable to resist the demands of the German invaders in this instance, and my story was inspired by this event. Oh, and another inspiration was 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.
Leo sends his beloved wife and child to England a matter of days before the Germans arrive 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 his house is taken over by soldiers.
When Teresa, his wife, returns after the war, she finds her home wrecked and the family’s valuables, including an extensive art collection, missing. One of the paintings was by Renoir. 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 antique 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?
The kindle book is open for pre-order NOW and is published on Friday 20th October. The launch price is £1.99 and will increase to £2.99 from 22nd October. All the previous titles are on a promotion at 99p from 18th -22nd October. Bargains!
The Betrayal – http://myBook.to/TheBetrayal