Dangerous Waters: Mystery, Loss and Love on the Island of Guernsey
In her debut novel `Dangerous Waters' Anne Allen has knocked it out of the ballpark. Part mystery, part romance, this cozy novel has the reader drawn in from the first paragraph until the last page, and they will be wanting more. With her writing style in the leagues of Maeve Binchey, who she incidentally mentions in the book, Anne has classed herself with the best in women's lit.
Jeanne Le Page is a thirty-something writer who has experienced more than her share of loss in her life. Her ruined relationship with her boyfriend Andy, the loss of a baby, and her grandmother's death has left Jeanne reeling. Add to that, the death of her parents in a boating accident when she was sixteen and you would wonder why she isn't in the midst of an all out breakdown. She's headed back to her childhood home of Guernsey, where she is to meet with a solicitor to finalize the inheritance of her grandmother's cottage, which she fully intends to sell, and move back to London.
Jeanne hasn't been on the Island since running to her Aunt Kate's to escape the trauma of her parent's death sixteen years ago. And it is with trepidation that she unlocks the door to her past. Looking around the inherited cottage she is surrounded by memories of her childhood. Leaning on long time family friends Molly and Pete Ogier, Jeanne deals with her ghosts and begins the process of putting down roots, following her decision to keep the cottage and stay on in Guernsey.
While on the island Jeanne reconnects with Marcus, an old crush from high school, who introduces her to a group of people that embrace her immediately, all becoming fast friends. The group also provides the man, to whom she is hopelessly drawn Nick Mauger, a shipbuilder. Marcus has his sights on a relationship with Jeanne but she finds him to be the kind of man she doesn't want in her life, much to his chagrin, and he becomes aggressive in his pursuit of her. Due to a business transaction she meets Marcus' brother Dan, who is a nefarious character to say the least, with a brusk demeanor and hulking form, which he uses to intimidate Jeanne.
Busy with the testing of recipes and the writing of her cookbook; Recipes for Love, she is also forced to deal with extensive renovations to the cottage. Jeanne starts having frequent flashbacks to the night her parents were killed. Molly; who is a psychotherapist, takes Jeanne through a series of hypnotherapy sessions opening up memories of that night and the realization the accident was actually murder, and she herself may be the next victim.
As love blooms danger also looms. Jeanne has remembered who is responsible for her parent's murders and she is dead centre in the crosshairs of their target. They must catch the murderers before they can silence her.
Anne Allen is a psychotherapist and has always longed to write. With `Dangerous Waters', her first novel, she draws on her extensive personal knowledge to create the character of Molly Ogier. Jeanne Le Page is a complex protagonist who proves to be likeable and loveable. I found myself cheering her on in the accomplishments she made growing from a closed off woman into a free spirit. The book is well-written and it keeps the reader engaged. I truly enjoyed the read and was well pleased to find Anne had included a few of the recipes Jeanne used in her cookbook. This is a perfect summertime read!