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US author explores Jersey roots in bloody debut novel

US author explores Jersey roots in bloody debut novel

Monday 27 February 2023

US author explores Jersey roots in bloody debut novel

Monday 27 February 2023

An American historical fiction author is writing a three-part series recounting Jersey's bloody history during the Wars of the Roses - inspired by her own connection to the island.

Having lived most of her life in California, Charity Shehtanian, who goes by the pen name of 'CV Lee' and is now based in Washington, had for many years failed to give her family's long ties to Jersey a second thought.

"My great-grandmother was born in Nova Scotia. Her parents were from Jersey, and then my great grandmother also married a man from Jersey. Our grandmother used to say all this stuff about, 'oh, yeah, you know, we're related to the King of France'," she explained.

However, when her son had to do a genealogy project at school, she unearthed a previously forgotten booklet detailing her family history, which in turn sparked a passion for Jersey history.

As a result, she decided she would sit down and write her debut novel, set against the backdrop of Jersey's blood-soaked medieval history.

After a visit to the island to undertake substantial research, the final product is the first of a trilogy of historical-fiction books all set in Jersey and all centred around genuine historical characters and events.


Pictured: Token of Betrayal, Charity Shehtanian's debut novel about the history of Jersey during the Wars of the Roses. 

The first novel, Token of Betrayal, was released in December 2022 and the next, Betrayal of Trust, will be out in July. 

Token of Betrayal is set in 1461, in the midst of the Wars of the Roses, when the French captured Mont Orgueil Castle and placed the island under occupation. 

To protect the family legacy for his son, Sir Philippe de Carteret, the most powerful lord on the island, sees no choice but to pledge his loyalty, hoping the new overlords will prove benevolent until King Edward can turn his attention to ousting them. But instead the island suffers under their tyrannical rule.

The course of the novel sees pirate raids, French spies, and other Game of Thrones-esque medieval intrigues, which she says are rooted in fact.

"It's just so much fun," she said. "I mean, there's just everything in that book came out, it's got the pirates and it's got the French actually. You know, so there's just a whole lot going on. It's just a fascinating, fascinating time period.

"Of course, I had to take some artistic licence because the history is so sparse but almost all the events really did happen. A lot of it's true, but of course, I did have to take some licence to make it into a book as you only get snippets of history... But that's always what's fun about historical fiction is it just makes the history come more alive." 

Pictured top: Historical Fiction Author Charity Shehtanian.

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