The Walnut Tree: A Holiday Tale

( 11 )

Overview

"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 ...

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The Walnut Tree: A Holiday Tale

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Overview

"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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062236999
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/30/2012
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 964,374
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 5.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Todd

Charles Todd is the author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother-and-son writing team, they live in Delaware and North Carolina, respectively.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

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(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The same but different

    Charles Todd (and his Mom who co-write two series) have written The Walnut Tree as a separate entity to the Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford series.
    I enjoyed the Crawford series - WWI nurse experiences who also solves whodunits - and half way through the Inspector Rutledge series. The writing is always excellent, although sometimes Todd rambles on with scenery descriptions, but the brilliance and the fun in all these books is the characterizations. They are bitey - compassionate - mean and nasty - haughty - and alway entertaining.
    What makes The Walnut Tree different is not the characters, for they are all true Todd creations, but the aberration of the plotting, which was similar in setting but different enough to keep the reader involved.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2013

    I am an unrepentant Todd  /Ruthledge addict.  With the next Ruth

    I am an unrepentant Todd  /Ruthledge addict.  With the next Ruthledge mystery scheduled for release on January 29, 2013,  I had picked up The Walnut Tree just to get through the withdrawal pangs.  In that, the novel has done its job.  I am not trembling.  However, this is a milk toast of a story, and if you need a stiff shot of Rutledge, this will not do.  Still, it is a Charles Todd milk toast and in that, it is satisfying.    

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2013

    Lovely read

    This was my first book by Todd so I don't have comparisons to make, but this was a beautiful story. I didn't want it to end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 15, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A change of pace for this mother-son author team: A love story,

    A change of pace for this mother-son author team: A love story, rather than a mystery. But still set at the start of World War I, with insights into the British class system and the horrors of war. It is the story of Lady Elspeth Douglas, torn between the attractions of two men, duty, and the iron hand of her guardian stifling her independent nature.

    Just before the outbreak of war, Elspeth is in Paris, at the behest of her pregnant friend who is awaiting the birth of her first child. After the baby’s birth and the German invasion, she attempts to return to England. Along the way she voluntarily becomes involved in the hostilities, bringing water to the troops. There she meets Captain Peter Gilchrist, setting up an emotional conflict with her fiancé, Alain, to whom she sort of became betrothed the night before he left to join the army. When she gets back to England, she decides to become a nurse, and serves well in France, until her guardian decides that that is not an activity fit for a lady.

    “The Walnut Tree” is an emotional tale from several points of view. And it is told without embellishment, simply and in a straightforward manner. And the writers couldn’t resist introducing a mystery, even if only in passing.

    Recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 27, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I've been reading Charles Todd for a few years and have loved bo

    I've been reading Charles Todd for a few years and have loved both Bess Crawford and Inspector Rutledgek, so I was looking forward to reading "The Walnut Tree." But, I was disappointed -- not only because Bess Crawford was a peripheral character -- but also because Lady Elspeth suffered too much introspection -- especially about her love life.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 11, 2012

    Pleasant Read

    The Walnut Tree is very much like other Charles Todd books. It has interesting characters, a pleasant main character who gets involved in solving a mystery in a WWI setting. It seems a little far-fetched that the lady drives alone all over the country and bumps into familiar acquaintances in that period of time, but it is still a good story. Charles Todd readers will enjoy it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2012

    Not up to their usual mystery standard, no Inspector Rutledge in this one

    I have read all of Charles Todd's books, felt that this one was not really worth the time, a bit too much "True Romances" for my taste. Just filler before their next "real" book, which I am looking forward to.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2014

    Hello, I am 2

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2014

    <p>

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2012

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    Posted December 1, 2012

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