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The Walnut Tree by Charles Todd

The Walnut Tree

by Charles Todd

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Title:The Walnut Tree
Authors:Charles Todd
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The Walnut Tree by Charles Todd



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Well done. Charles Todd draws very real characters and situations. I liked this a lot. Not a mystery this time, but good historical fiction. I'll be glad to have this to suggest to some of the high school students that are looking for historical fiction for an assignment. I'm not sure what makes this a holiday tale, but good nonetheless. ( )
  njcur | Apr 7, 2014 |
“The Walnut Tree” by Charles Todd is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. It is published by William Morrow an Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. The story begins in France, in July, 1914. The Germans are poised to enter France through Belgium. The British have issued an ultimatum that if the Germans invade Belgium then England will declare war on Germany. It is the start of World War I. Lady Elspeth Douglas of Scotland is visiting her friend Madeleine and her husband Henri. Madeleine is expecting and wants to travel to her home of Villard, France to await the birth of her baby. Because the threat of German invasion is so great, her husband wants her to stay in Paris with Lady Elspeth. Lady Elspeth fancies herself in love with Madeleine’s brother Alain Montigny.

Unfortunately, the Germans overrun the new, small country of Belgium and any British citizen who is still in Paris is trying to get home to England. Lady Elspeth wants to go home and see about her uncle and cousins and to try to do something for the war effort. Before she is able to leave, Alain comes home to say goodbye to his sister and Lady Elspeth and asks for Elspeth’s hand in a marriage to take place after the war is over. Both he and Henri are called to the front and are in the thick of the fighting. Elspeth accepts Alain’s ring with the understanding that he will approach her uncle and ask for her hand. Until then, the arrangement is to be kept secret.

As Lady Elspeth is trying to get to Calais to board a ship for Dover she was caught up in the exodus of the wounded from the front. She tried to help nurse those who were injured and subsequently found herself close to the battlefield and ran into an friend of her cousin’s Peter Gilchrist. He took her under his wing and helped her get back to Calais. In helping nurse the soldiers in the field, she decided that she would try to join Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service. As a member of the peerage, Elspeth should have had the permission of her guardian, her uncle. However, knowing that he would refuse her she let it be known that she was alone in the world and did not refer to herself as Her Ladyship.

Lady Elspeth successfully completed her Sister’s training and then was sent to France to help tend the wounded. She would then make return trips to care for troops who were being transported back to England to recuperate. Along the way, she met up with Peter Gilchrist again and fell in love. The rest of the story has to be experienced as you read this book. Believe me you will not be sorry that you have this book in your library. I fell in love with the characters in this book and the time period. I truly felt as though I was there with Lady Elspeth as she and her countrymen came to grips with the war and their part in it.

I received a free Kindle copy of this book from Harper Collins in return for my honest review.

You can read this review on my blog at http://wp.me/p2pjIt-4M ( )
  SilverShrew | Feb 20, 2014 |
An easy to read and easier to forget book about a young lady who seems to be in love with whatever man is standing in front of her at any given time. (Have you ever watched The Bachelor?) The backdrop of the story is France and England during the time period of World War One. It seems all the men that Elspeth care about are fighting in the war and when she is not helping out as a military nurse she is pining away for them and their well being as they risk life and limb. Everything is wrapped up neatly and conveniently in the end leaving me dashing to the bookshelf to tried something to read with more meat to it. ( )
  muddyboy | Jan 5, 2014 |
This is a light and very enjoyable read from the mother and son writing team responsible for two excellent historical mystery series featuring Inspector Ian Rutledge and nurse Bess Crawford. In The Walnut Tree, Charles Todd takes one of the nurses Bess Crawford rooms with in London, gives her a privileged background, breathes life into her, and then sets her on her own adventure. Yes, Lady Elspeth Douglas has ties to the Bess Crawford mysteries, but this book is not part of the series-- although the authors couldn't resist adding a very light (and fun) subplot involving art theft into the narrative.

One of the things I liked the most about the character of Elspeth was her Scots heritage. She speaks the Gaelic and on more than one occasion is able to help soldiers in the Scots regiments in ways that highlight the power of clan ties and obligations. She is strong and intelligent, capable and loyal, and I was caught in her dilemma as she struggled to do what was right without hurting either of the men she loved.

This book is called a holiday tale, but it is not set solely during the Christmas season. However, it does underscore several holiday themes-- love, faith, peace, service, and even tiny bits of magic and miracles, too. If you like a lot of romance in your love stories, you might find this one a little too light for your taste. For those like myself who are not fans of the romance genre, the love story should be just about perfect. If you are a fan of Downton Abbey, or if you enjoy the Maisie Dobbs and Bess Crawford mysteries, I think you'll enjoy reading The Walnut Tree. ( )
  cathyskye | Dec 28, 2013 |
Although Charles Todd is one of my favorite authors, I have to admit to being a bit disappointed by this book.

I was expecting somethong along the lines of a British cozy, and that's what I got, but I think calling it a holiday tale is a bit of a stretch. There is one beutiful moment that occurs on Christmas, but it's hardly an apex of the story.

The characters are well developed and it was interesting to read about the Scottish perspective of serving in the British army of World War I.

Again, it wasn't an unenjoyable read, but felt rushed to me. It was a neat glimpse of Bess Crawford prior to her series, however. ( )
  Shutzie27 | Dec 14, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Toddprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
O'Meara, JoyDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuck, MaryCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062236997, Hardcover)

"I was in Paris the day the French Army was mobilized."

In 1914, while visiting her friend Madeleine, Lady Elspeth Douglas's life is thrown into chaos when war breaks out and the Germans quickly overrun Belgium, threatening France. Having just agreed to marry Alain, Madeleine's dashing brother, Lady Elspeth watches him leave to join his unit, and then she sets out for England, only to find herself trapped on the French coast.

Caught amid a sea of stranded travelers, terrified refugees, and wounded men overflowing the port of Calais, the restless Elspeth—daughter of a Highland aristocrat whose distinguished family can trace its roots back to the court of Mary, Queen of Scots—decides to make herself useful, carrying water to weary soldiers near the Front. It is an act of charity that almost gets her killed when enemy shells begin to explode around her.

To her rescue comes Captain Peter Gilchrist, who pulls her away from the battle and leads her to safety. But before they can properly say good-bye, Elspeth and Peter are separated.

Back in London, surrounded by familiar comforts, Elspeth is haunted by the horrors she witnessed in France. She also cannot forget the gallant Peter Gilchrist, even though she has promised herself to Alain.

Transformed by her experience, Elspeth goes to London and enrolls in a nursing course, where she meets a fellow nurse in training, Bess Crawford. It is a daring move, made without the consent of Elspeth's guardian, her cousin Kenneth, a high-handed man with rigid notions of class and femininity.

Yet Elspeth Douglas is a woman with a mind of her own, which—as she herself says—is a blessing and a curse. She is determined to return to the battlefields of France to do her part . . . and to find the man she has no right to love, no matter how far Cousin Kenneth may go to stop her. But before she can set things right with Alain, he goes missing and then Peter is gravely wounded. In a world full of terror and uncertainty, can the sweetness of love survive or will Elspeth's troubled heart become another casualty of this terrible war?

A poignant, compelling tale brimming with adventure, danger, and love, The Walnut Tree is an enchanting holiday gift and a wonderful companion to Charles Todd's acclaimed Bess Crawford series.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:47 -0400)

Haunted by the horrors she witnessed in France during the enemy invasion of 1914, Lady Elspeth Douglas, a titled young Englishwoman, is transformed by her experience and leaves her sheltered life behind to become a nurse and return to the battlefields of France to do her part.… (more)

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