Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Saturday 19 April 2014

Finding Mother - Anne Allen

'She knew there was something vital missing in her life but didn't know what it was.'

This is the second novel from Anne Allen, I've already read and enjoyed her debut, Dangerous Waters. (Link to my review below). In Finding Mother, we meet 35 year old Nicole Oxford as she is in a very emotional state, and having made a big decision. Her marriage is in trouble, her husband Tom has been unfaithful and destroyed her trust, she has had enough and as the novel opens, she walks out and leaves him behind in England to head to Spain. Despite a successful career as an investigative journalist, she feels the need to find out who she really is, having been raised by loving parents who adopted her as a baby, and never before having looked for her birth mother or indeed her father. So the time now feels right to search for her birth mother, if she is to discover more about her true self as she hopes to do if she finds her. 

The story sees Nicole visiting the parents who raised her, Mary and Ian, in Spain where they have retired, to undertake the delicate task of asking them if they have any information or clues as to her birth mother which she can follow up on. It's a difficult situation confronting them with the fact that she'd like to do this after so many years, and this was dealt with well by the author. She then travels back to the Channel Islands to look into her origins. Jersey was her home prior to her move to England, and her search takes her to Guernsey. Without wanting to reveal too many further plot points, I'll just say that the story unfolds as Nicole discovers the truth about her birth and adoption, and meets her birth mother and grandmother; the latter, Eve, is a well drawn character who I liked and whose story reveals secrets from the past. 

This is a novel with a nice pace, that is easy to read, it's a moving tale of families and relationships across the generations and of love and uncovering the past, trying to find a sense of self. It could be a good summer read for relaxing with in the garden or on the beach. I personally would have enjoyed a bit more complexity or drama to the story perhaps or more twists and turns in places, a couple of times I felt I could see where the story was going. Anne Allen writes with warmth and empathy about people dealing with difficult situations, and has created an enjoyable tale with a strong sense of place, settings beautifully evoked, making this reader keen to visit the Channel Islands one day. 

Views of other bloggers - A Spoonful of Happy Endings | My Reading Corner | Jaffa Reads Too | Bookboodle

My review of Dangerous Waters

Thanks to the author for kindly sending a copy of this novel for an honest review.

Author links: Website | Facebook | Twitter |


  1. Hi Lindsay,
    Thank you for your review and I'm glad you enjoyed Finding Mother. I'm well on the way with my third Guernsey novel, Guernsey Retreat, which will be more of a mystery, like Dangerous Waters. I plan to publish later this year. :)

    1. Thanks very much for visiting and commenting Anne, all the best with your third novel!

  2. I really enjoyed your commentary on this one Lindsay.

    Interesting what you wrote about looking for more complexity. I think that in a story like this I would be OK with a simple and slow moving plot but I would look for complexity in the characters.


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