Category Archives: Simon & Schuster
Hitler’s British Isles: The Real Story of the Occupied Channel Islands by Duncan Barrett
When Hitler’s forces rampaged across Europe and then finally France fell to the Nazis, Hitler then turned his attention to across the Channel. Mainland Britain prepared for a similar Blitzkrieg but the Channel Islands lay perilously close to the French coastline, it was now apparent that they would be alone and not defended by Britain. In Duncan Barrett’s Hitler’s British Isles this is the definitive account of the Channel Islands five-year occupation by German forces during the war.
Writer Duncan Barrett interviewed over one hundred people on the islands who had direct experience of the war under the Nazis. When it was announced that the Channel Islands would not be defended, an evacuation took place in 1940 of British forces and also many of the children. Though some could not come to terms of being separated from their parents and stayed on despite the fear of what was on the horizon.
It was June 1940 and the Luftwaffe arrived over the islands bombing and strafing many lost their lives during the attacks. The Islanders were not in a position to fight back. The occupation had begun and the Channel Islands were now under Nazi control. These are British Islands and they had been invaded. Over on the mainland the Battle of Britain was about to begin.
Many on the islands had their homes taken over and families had to move out. The effects of the invasion now came into force. Food was rationed and as the war went on food was scarce and the inhabitants went hungry.
At first those that represented the islanders co-operated with their occupiers. Many of the German soldiers believed the war would be over very quickly, but after the Battle of Britain they knew they were on the Islands for some years. Many of the German soldiers believed that being on the Islands prevented them later from being sent to the front line when Hitler invaded Russia.
There was a small Jewish population living on the Channel Islands and many went into hiding sadly though many were found and rounded up and sent to concentration camps never to return.
As the war went on it was clear the Nazi command was intent on turning the main Islands into a fortress and the Organisation Todt brought around 15,000 men as slave labourers were brought in from the Eastern Europe and they were badly abused and many died of hunger or killed during the building of the fortresses. One of the sadder stories was that of Louisa Gould who helped some of the men and was caught. Louisa was sent to the infamous Ravensbrück concentration camp. She was killed in the gas chambers.
By latter part of 1944 the Islanders were starving there was little food remaining and pets were killed to survive. Now Red Cross Parcels started to arrive and just in time.
There are many horrific stories that are uncovered in Barrett’s outstanding book, and as the war ended, some of the Islanders sought justice on those who were a little too close to their German Masters. It was time for retribution.
When the war ended it was a time of trying to pick up the pieces of shattered lives. Many sent to Europe never returned. Then there is the story of a young woman from the Island of Sark who fell in love with a German and when he was sent to England as a prisoner after the war after a number of ‘arranged’ meetings it was clear their love was too strong and they married and then later returned to Sark to live their lives in peace.
Duncan Barrett has well researched the stories of the occupation of the Channel Islands and must be complimented on how well this is set out against the personal stories of those involved. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Thank you to Sue Stephen (Simon & Schuster) for the review copy of Hitler’s British Isles by Duncan Barrett
Hitler’s British Isles by Duncan Barrett was published by Simon & Schuster and was published on 14th June 2018 and is available in Hardcover through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.
Our House by Louise Candlish
I love a really good psychological thriller, and Our House the latest release by Louise Candlish is compulsive thriller that will have you glued to every page. There are many twists and turns to keep you gripped until the very end. Just imagine arriving home to find all your possessions gone and someone else moving into your home. This is a nightmare scenario and an awesome plot.
When Fi heads towards her home she is confused as she sees a removal van and people moving possessions into a home, at first she thinks it is another house close to hers but then realisation hits home that it is actually her own very home and that a family is moving in. Her heart is racing and she is confused. Is this a nightmare, no it is really happening? This is her home in Trinity Avenue she built up with her husband and family. But their home was not up for sale. Where are all their belongings, the furniture and everything you would expect has gone. Fi is panicking.
Fi and her husband are separated and she has been away on with her new boyfriend, while her ex-husband was looking after the house and the kids? So what happens next is just a fantastic gripping drama that is played out in a series of podcasts that are called ‘The Victim’ where the victim tells her story about what has happened. A brilliant scenario is played between Fi and her ex-husband superbly written and crafted by Louise Candlish, at first you will think the plot is a bit out of the ordinary but then Louise writes a novel that is so believable that you will not want to put this book down. Fi is a woman who you will rally behind and all your sympathy will be with her, but as for Bram you may think he deserves everything that comes his way. Characters are so important in any novel and they really come to life here thanks to Louise Candlish. A superb stylish thriller where it is a case of Fi’s words against Bram’s words and vice versa. I dare you to put Our House down. I know you will struggle to leave this book alone. Highly Recommended.
Thank you to Jessica Barratt for the advanced review copy of Our House by Louise Candlish
Our House by Louise Candlish is published by Simon & Schuster and was published on 5th April and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.