Beyond Summerland by Jenny Lecoat @JennyLecoat @GraydonHouse @sophiarose1816

Posted July 3, 2024 by Sophia in Blog Tour, Book Review / 7 Comments

Beyond Summerland by Jenny Lecoat

Beyond Summerland by Jenny Lecoat @JennyLecoat @GraydonHouse @sophiarose1816Beyond Summerland by Jenny Lecoat
on July 2, 2024
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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The German occupation is over. The Channel Islands, the only captured territory within the British Isles, are finally liberated. But the people of Jersey are left as scarred as the landscape. No longer a “summerland” holiday paradise, the island now boils with tension as locals seek revenge on anyone suspected of collaborating with the enemy during the war.

Nineteen-year-old Jean Parris, still adjusting to this fractious peace, is shocked to learn that Hazel, a teacher who lives over her dad’s shop, may be responsible for her father’s wartime arrest. Hazel denies all accusations but has reasons to conceal what really happened.

As rumors of Hazel’s guilt swell to a fury, Jean discovers new clues that suggest there were other, more sinister factors at play. When Hazel learns of Jean’s own ruinous secret, the women form an unexpected bond that sets them apart from the rest of Jean’s family and the frenzied demands for retribution. But in the end, Jean’s need to know the truth about her father may consume everything she once believed about her home, her family and herself.

After the war, what was it like for those living in the liberated Channel Islands?  Two young women connect over the most difficult of circumstances and discover that life in the shadow of war is as difficult as the war years.  Jenny Lecoat paints a vivid picture of Jersey, complex characters, and a dramatic tale that sticks with one after the last page is turned.

Jean Parris learns that the father she idolized and was taken up by the Germans for having a wireless radio is not coming back.  Worse still, he suffered and died in a German prison and someone among her island neighbors informed on him.  The anger and grief she and her family feels call for someone to pay and their suspicion falls on a young woman who spoke her mind and argued with her dad.

Hazel denies reporting Parris and there is no proof, but the islanders take it as fact and her life is upended.  Oddly, the only friend she has is quiet, mousy Jean.  Jean has been learning she didn’t know her dad or others as well as she thought and she’s keeping one huge guilty secret of her own.  Will both women find a way to move on after the dreadful truths of their actions come out?

Beyond Summerland took place post-WWII, but for the Channel Islanders who were occupied by the Germans for five long years, recovery is slow and the pain and suffering are still echoing.  Jenny Lecoat showed that people who faced deprivation and fear from the occupiers were faced with choices that seem unconscionable to others and retaliation is fierce for those who turned Nazi collaborator or informant.  This tale was not rose-tinted and showed the harsh realities.  My heart was touched and tears burned my eyes more than once.  Bittersweetness tanged my mouth by the finish which had an epilogue that presented a resolve that felt right for what came before.

In summary, this tumultuous story born of similar real life circumstances that took place in the Channel Islands after the war was a heavy hitter for me.  I am definitely going to look for more of Jenny Lecoat’s works and highly recommend Beyond Summerland to make the beach bags of historical and women’s fiction readers.



About Jenny Lecoat

Jenny Lecoat was born in Jersey, Channel Islands, where her parents were raised under German Occupation and were involved in resistance activity. Lecoat moved to England at 18, where, after earning a drama degree, she spent a decade on the alternative comedy circuit as a feminist stand-up. She also wrote for newspapers and women’s magazines (Cosmopolitan, Observer), worked as a TV and radio presenter, before focusing on screenwriting from sitcom to sketch shows. A love of history and factual stories and a return to her island roots brought about her feature film Another Mother’s Son (2017). She is married to television writer Gary Lawson and now lives in East Sussex. Her debut novel, The Girl from the Channel Islands, was an immediate New York Times bestseller.

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Posted July 3, 2024 by Sophia in Blog Tour, Book Review / 7 Comments

7 responses to “Beyond Summerland by Jenny Lecoat

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