This is the second Guernsey novel I have read so I was pleased to recognise some familiar places and people, but previous knowledge is not needed to read this stand-alone story. Heroine, Tessa is completing her training as a doctor in Exeter and hopes to move into general practice when she is surprised to hear that she has inherited a large house in Guernsey from her Great-Aunt Doris. Returning to the place where she grew up, fills Tess with pleasure but what she should she do with this crumbling old house? Looking up an old friend gives her a contact which could lead to a new job, so Tess considers returning to Guernsey.
In parallel to the contemporary story, we read the diary of Eugénie written in the 1860s. A recently widowed French woman, she is Tess’s ancestor. More tragedy follows when she loses her baby, but she is taken care of by Madame Drouet who is the long-term mistress of Victor Hugo and her life becomes closely linked to the famous couple.
As Tess works out what she wants from life, she meets Jack who supervises the restoration of the house where Eugénie once lived. Both women have to make decisions about their futures, but Tess has more freedom than her ancestor had in Victorian times. It is fascinating to read of Victor Hugo’s long sojourn in Guernsey and his magnetic personality. In contrast, the modern problems encountered by Tess, as a doctor and her growing awareness of her genealogy add great depth to this unusual novel.
The Inheritance is available at Amazon UK
My review of The Betrayal by Anne Allen