A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR
The Occupation of the Channel Islands has been a backdrop to my life ever since I can remember. Born only fifteen years after Jersey’s liberation to parents whose childhoods were spent under Nazi rule, I was always aware that two of my relatives had been sent to concentration camps for sheltering an escaped Russian slave worker. As a result, my great uncle became the only British survivor of Bergen-Belsen, and my great aunt died in the gas chambers of Ravensbrüch.
As the only part of the British Isles to fall to the Nazis in WWII, the island’s Occupation is a dark and complex period that even now divulges new secrets. When Hedy’s story finally came to public attention after seventy years, I knew that it encapsulated the oppression, terror, and defiance that characterized those years, and had the potential to highlight the little-known aspects of a frequently misunderstood history. I hope this fictionalized account of Hedy’s experiences provides some insight into a world that few are left to provide first-hand and brings understanding and inspiration to future generations.
Based on an incredible true story...
Debut author Jenny Lecoat’s family has been shadowed by the Nazi Occupation of the Channel Islands since the Germans landed in 1940. Born shortly after Jersey’s liberation, Lecoat’s parents grew up under Nazi rule in the only British Isle to fall in WWII and had two relatives who were sent to concentration camps for sheltering refugees and resisting German rule.
One survived. The other did not.
Now, the screenwriter, feminist, and daughter of the resistance, Jenny Lecoat, has penned a fictionalized story of her family’s experiences in the complex yet little know period of German Occupation of Jersey in THE GIRL FROM THE CHANNEL ISLANDS (Graydon House Books; February 2, 2021; Trade Paperback Original; $17.99). Capturing the oppression, terror, and defiance that characterized those years, Hedy Bercu is a Jewish refugee who fled to the Channel Islands to escape the Nazis, only to find herself cornered when the Axis powers invade Jersey.
Her only chance for survival is to make herself invaluable to the Germans by working as a translator, hiding in plain sight with the help of her friends and community – and a sympathetic German officer. But as the war intensifies, rations dwindle, neighbors turn on neighbors, and Hedy's life is in greater danger every day. It will take a definitive, daring act to save her from certain deportation to the concentration camps.
New York Times bestselling author Kelly Rimmer calls THE GIRL FROM THE CHANNEL ISLANDS “an unforgettable tale of friendship, love, courage and survival.” A unique, first-hand look at a little known part of WWII history, Jenny Lecoat’s historical fiction debut is a timely story of rebellion and valor that readers won’t want to miss.
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. THE GIRL FROM THE CHANNEL ISLANDS is her first novel
Praise for THE GIRL FROM THE CHANNEL ISLANDS:
“THE GIRL FROM THE CHANNEL ISLANDS is an unforgettable tale of friendship, love, courage and survival. I loved every word of this fantastically engrossing novel. Jenny Lecoat is an author to watch!!”
– Kelly Rimmer, NYT bestselling author of The Things We Cannot Say
“A riveting story of survival against all odds, told by a masterful storyteller who also happens to be a fresh new voice in the genre. I absolutely loved The Girl From the Channel Islands by Jenny Lecoat and recommend it highly, not just to fans of historical fiction, but to lovers of good books everywhere.”
– Karen Robards, NYT bestselling author of The Black Swan of Paris
“A captivating story of trust and betrayal, courage, survival and forbidden love.”
– Glynis Peters, author of The Secret Orphan