I am delighted to share my review today for Her Previous Self by Anne Allen. I was very fortunate to win a signed paperback copy of this book during Anne’s recent Blog Tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. Although I do own several copies from this series it is actually the first time I have read one! I will also add that it will not be the last time 🙂
Mary, miserable in her marriage to Thomas Carre, a merchant and privateer and living in the new family mansion in Georgian Guernsey.
Lucy, separated from her husband after a tragic loss and now acting as an unwilling sitter for her elderly grandfather, Gregory Carre, who has inherited the same mansion.
Lucy is haunted by Mary’s continued presence in the house and finds herself being pulled more and more back in time. How is it possible for her to live as Mary? To experience scenes from her tragic life? Lucy is forced to come to terms with Mary’s grief as well as her own.
The more enmeshed she becomes the more anxious Lucy is to discover the truth. Why is Mary still restless? What caused her mysterious disappearance two hundred years ago?
And can Lucy move on from her own loss to find happiness again?
This is the first time I have read a book by this author, although I do own 3 or 4 from the Guernsey series. This is book 8 in the series and from what I can see with this latest book, they can be read as stand-alone books.
This is a mix of present-day and historical fiction. The present-day is set with Lucy returning home to Guernsey and she keeps her Grandfather company while her parents take a break. Lucy is tired, feeling alone and is grieving. The house in which she returns is one that has been in the family for generations. One of those ancestors is Mary, there is a mystery surrounding her. There is a date of birth, a marriage date and then a blank as to when she died.
This is told in a timeslip format, and not quite the usual back and forth format. I have to say it worked really well for me and I don’t know which character I wanted to know more about each time. When I was reading about Lucy I needed to know more about Mary, and vice versa.
I did like the historical side of this story, set in a regency style it is one that has heartbreaking revelations. The characters in this era are a mix of really good and also downright wicked. In the present day, the characters are mainly good, although there is the odd one or two who did annoy me a very small amount due to their attitudes.
Overall a great story and one that I really enjoyed reading over a couple of days. One for fans of historical fiction and romance, with a historical fantasy streak to it. Very enjoyable reading and it is an author to who I will be returning and one I would happily recommend.
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.