The Walnut Tree

Written by Charles Todd
Review by Susan Zabolotny

A light, romantic story, The Walnut Tree takes place at the outbreak of World War I. Lady Elspeth Douglas leads a charmed life as the wealthy daughter of Highland aristocracy. The novel opens in Paris as she is attending the lying-in of her friend, Madeleine. Elspeth has felt a strong attraction to Madeleine’s brother, Alain, since their school days, but he has shown no mutual interest until now. The Germans move toward France, and Madeleine’s husband, Henri, and Alain are called away to war. Alain gives Elspeth a ring and a promise to marry. As Elspeth flees France to return to England, she runs into enemy fire and the protection of handsome Captain Peter Gilchrist, a childhood friend.

Elspeth proves to be more than a pampered and protected woman when she cares for injured soldiers traveling back to England and joins a nursing service. Her time there is short-lived when her guardian finds out, but she is too busy caring for a severely injured Captain Gilchrist and her fiancé. Torn between loyalty and true love, she finds that ultimately only fate can decide for her.

This book does not negate the horrors of war and is worth reading.