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Rachel's Shoe Paperback – 3 Apr 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Acclaimed Books; Latest version available edition (3 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956534201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956534200
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 135,363 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sussex 1950

Peter was born in a small cottage, nestled between a railway embankment and a bridge, a few years after his parents were 'demobbed' from the RAF after world war two.

A baby brother was not really the first choice of his three year old sister, Maureen, who demanded her parents 'put him in the dustbin' but as a compromise she named him 'Linda Irene' and that just about made the new arrival acceptable to her!

Young Peter's childhood was spent in a number of locations across England as his father, later to be dubbed 'MBE' by the Queen for services to charity, sought to make a peacetime career to support his young family.

His mother being Scottish and father a Channel Islander meant that holidays were spent at the extremities of the UK. The colder northern climate was more than compensated for by the warmth of a large family of cousins, aunts and uncles. His grandparents owned a sweet shop by the Tram lines in Glasgow. But it was the southern holidays that Peter loved. Guernsey in the 1950s seemed magical. Not only was the Lihou family name entrenched in local history going back as far records could be found, but there was even a 'Lihou Island' and tales of a great Sea Captain who sailed with Nelson and had places named after him around the world.

Papa Lihou was an ex Navy stoker who had access to a small steam launch in St Peter Port and when he took the family outside the harbour to welcome the visiting Royal Yacht Britannia one choppy evening, Peter's life-long passion for the sea and boats was permanently forged. Perhaps it was there all the time in his genes.

England was a place of country villages, steam trains, bicycles and the occasional black car. Guernsey was a paradise island drenched in permanent sunshine, or so it seemed, with tomato and flower growing the main industries alongside tourism. He learned to swim in Fermain Bay, played in the cave and devoured fruit cocktails and crisps outside the tavern with his sister whilst the grown-ups supped and talked. They did that a lot in those days, talking that is.

So when Dad announced the family was uprooting from Lincolnshire and moving south to the ancestral home, you would imagine nothing could have been finer. But in the early teens social networks of great importance already exist and the fear of actually being uprooted and placed amongst a new 'tribe' was real.

The early 1960s and teenage added to the soup of influences that poured into the growing youth. School life was never the challenge that his sister engaged in or that his father vigorously encouraged and when leaving Les Beaucamps Secondary at 16 with few qualifications, real life should have hit home. But it didn't, it was after all 1966!

The Beatles and the Rolling Stones gave way to Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead and before long Peter was back in mainland England. Alone in London with less than a 'tenner' in his pocket, no job and nowhere to stay still failed to bring 'real life' home and Peter set about creating a new social network. Aldous Huxley and Herman Hesse fed a growing desire for self-awareness and live performances from the likes of Neil Young, Pink Floyd and Santana nurtured his love of music.

It was in London that Peter met his wife to be, Gill, and a few months later the two moved back to Guernsey where they stayed for several years. During this time Peter worked in a variety of roles one of which involved descending wells to repair pumps and climbing above the tomato plants to repair the automatic windows in the huge glasshouses. He eventually joined the family business and began the suit wearing career that has sustained him and his family, which now includes four children, ever since. However, the family once again left the island in the 1980s and set up roots in the English Cotswolds. Whilst the village and surrounding countryside was as pretty as a picture, Peter found himself miles from the clear sea on which he loved to sail. His work also demanded that he travel for several hours every day to commute to 'head office'. These tensions grew until shortly after the millennium something happened which brought his life into focus. Peter was diagnosed with bowel cancer almost exactly a year after it claimed his father's life. The initial investigations also suggested a possible liver tumour and for a while the prognosis might have been bleak.

'Going under' there was no certainty about the outcome of his operation but the skill of his surgeon saved the day and he made a full recovery. It was during his recovery that Gill and he talked again about where they should be living and Peter first decided to write.

Several years have passed since then and the 'Lihou's' moved back to Guernsey in 2004, then to Cornwall in 2010. Peter's debut novel, 'Rachel's Shoe' was published in December 2008 and straight away his thoughts turned to the next project, 'The Causeway' an evocative sequel to the story. Peter also initiated a worldwide project to write a collaborative novel that resulted in the 500 word environmental thriller 'Passage to Redemption'.

Writing is now as important a part of his life as his passion for sailing and he is currently working on the latest story and exploring the coast and rivers of South West England.


Product Description

Review

I could almost feel the sand in my toes as I read this wonderfully crafted novel set in the charming islands of Herm, Guernsey and Alderney. The author captures a unique blend of adventure, romance and history in this tale that covers around 30 years. Having read the 'Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society', my interest in the occupied islands was excited but I had thought that might have been the pinnacle of my enjoyment until I found this book. A lesser-known publication from a local author but easily a superior read for my taste. --Kate Cavendish (The Book Awards, London 2009)

Vibrant descriptions of the island of Guernsey and of the people who live there provide a meaningful background to this gripping tale. Events embroiled in the conflicts of the Second World War develop from a touching relationship between Rachel, a Jew, and Guernsey-born Tom . Rachel s quick-thinking mother provides a future for her daughter and Rachel s shoe and its secret contents become a pivotal focus for mounting tensions as evil doers attempt to steal Rachel s rights. As the novel progresses it is almost impossible to put the book down it becomes a real page-turner. This new novel definitely tells a tale that is well worth reading. --Dr Rosemary Westwell, Cambridgeshire Pride

It's a rivetting read from start to finish. Rachel's Shoe is a tale of heroism and love, set in our beautiful Bailiwick and bringing to life the terrible atrocities of the occupation. Spanning more than 25 years, Rachel's Shoe is tenderly written and compellingly told. For the most part factually accurate, and with superb descriptions of the waters around Herm, Alderney and Guernsey, Peter has a gentle but descriptive style which is easy to read. Well-rounded characters draw you in; it is certainly a story that keeps you interested. --Julie Todd, 'Guernsey Now' Magazine

From the Publisher

This is the latest version of 'Rachel's Shoe' published by Acclaimed Books in 2010.

A highly popular title with a TV serialisation currently being developed.


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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David B Coles on 9 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rachel and Tom's story is one of the most engaging I've read for sometime. There is danger, love and heroism set against a backdrop of war and the obsessional pursuit of wealth. Few settings can be as evocative as the Channel Islands during the wartime occupation where much of the story is placed. It then moves to the 1970s when a new and unexpected drama unfolds.

The author (a local man) describes life during the occupation with a realism that can only be captured by someone with intimate knowledge of the islands during this period. This realism is also evident in the vivid detail of Tom navigating his small boat amongst the many hazards, including enemy patrols, and even in the 70s with Dakota aircraft and Eight track cassettes.

Rachel's Shoe is well written with highly believable characters and a gripping plot and when I turned the final page, I was very pleased to have found this book.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Martin E. Lucas on 6 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent read, very difficult to put down. A combination of Romance and thriller set mainly in the Channel Island Baliwick of Guernsey, spanning the occupation of the channel islands and then into the 60's/70's. If you like Romance & Thrillers you will enjoy this book. If you know Guernsey, Alderney and Herm, which make up the Baliwick of Guernsey in the Channel islands, this book will have even more interest.
A must buy book
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Natalie on 10 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
I don't normally feel compelled to write a review but I enjoyed this book so much I felt it deserved one. It's wonderful finding a book that you can't put down and Rachel's Shoe had me hooked from the start. It has such a great mix of adventure, history and romance, set in an idyllic location. Living in the Channel Islands, I'm always interested in reading about the occupation and I felt Rachel's Shoe depicted what life would have been like very well. Also, it is lovely to read a book that describes the beauty of the islands so perfectly and accurately. I was thrilled that the sequel, The Causeway, lived up to my expectations as well. I highly recommend reading them both.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Parker on 15 Jan. 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read both Rachel's Shoe and The Causeway. In Pete Lihou's first novel, there is a parochial charm that lies beneath the fear wrought by the Nazi jackboot in occupied Guernsey during the Second World War; a charm that provides a sheet anchor for the islanders as they walk on egg shells beneath the watchful eye of the occupying army. Rachel is a young, thriteen year old Jew who has survived the Nazi persecution in Germany and finds some kind of sanctuary on Guernsey. Young Tom, a fifteen year old Guernsian boy befriends Rachel and it is this friendship that endures even after Rachel escapes to England. Rachel and Tom's story continues in The Causeway, and if the reader expects this to be a narrative of the parochial charm that hid beneath the jackboot, there's a surprise in store. The demons of the strutting hun come back to haunt her and Tom, threatening their lives and that of their families. By blending the two novels into one, Pete Lihou has come up with a thriller, taut and well written. It will not disappoint.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kew on 14 Sept. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm afraid that I was a little disappointed with this. I found the beginning of the story to be excellent and gripping, extrememly well written. The description of Tom's close encounter with the Germans and his rescue of Rachel was nail biting. After Rachel leaves Guernsey and grows up I found the pace of the novel changed. It is still an enjoyable read but didn't, for me, live up to the promise of the opening chapters. The events moved too quickly and the story changed into a mystery about Rachel's inheritance. I'm giving this four stars because it is a very good book - but I do think that if the pace of the opening chapters had been kept up this would have been a great book. I look forward to reading the author's next book The Causeway.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Phillip A. Gillanders on 9 Mar. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Rachel's Shoe is an outstanding piece of creativity and penmanship that weaves the detail of history and geography, thorough character and period building, a very readable narrative voice, and the best of plot design to create an entertaining, must read novel. Highly recommended. Five stars from me.

Phil Henderson
Author of

Druid's Bane
Maig's Hand
The Arkaelyon Chronicles Vol 1.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Grayman on 18 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
This novel appealed as I have an appetite for historical fiction, especially about the period of occupation in the Channel Islands.

It did not disappoint me. Included were vivid portrayals of Guernsey life in those dangerous times and almost cinematic descriptions of the alluring scenery in the bailiwick of islands. I was `all at sea' in Tom's small boat evading capture and on the island of Herm I was completely transported to `Shell Beach' along with the principle characters, including the vulnerable young heroin of the story; Rachel.

That said, the most enjoyable aspect of this novel was the story itself. The characters were real for me and I felt I was visiting friends each time I picked up their story. Given the dramatic setting, danger was never far from the surface and the threat of it was used to great effect. I was also pleased that although this story was about the German occupation in wartime and no attempt was made to `sanitise' the enemy or their actions, an attempt was made to show the humanity of some ordinary German soldiers. The story included factual events interwoven with a fictional account including danger, intrigue, and romance. The chapter which described the liberation of the islands was especially poignant.

Rachel's Shoe will appeal to a wide audience as, despite the gravity of the period and action included, it eschews the gratuitous bad language of many contemporary works and loses not one iota of drama in doing so.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable novel.
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