Two Trees by G.J. Greenhough is a thoughtful reflection on friendships and enemies in war time. 20-year-old John sets out to the Western Front in the last year of the Great War, he gets wounded and is rescued by a German soldier, Frank, with whom he strikes up a brief friendship before ending up in a prisoner of war camp. On his return to the UK years later, John is not his usual self anymore; such is the impact of the atrocities of the war on the young man’s spirit.
Two Trees is the name of a war cemetery in France, but serves as source for plenty of symbolism, be it the two men themselves who weather the war and remain strong, or be it the trees serving as support for the soldiers resting from battle, to name but a few possible readings. A truly great title!
This is a moving story which is based on true events and serves as a great reflection on the inhumane mechanics of war and what gets lost in the process. I personally felt the story could have been tightened and paced a little faster at times and much of the storyline in the UK did not engage me quite as strongly as the parts about the emerging friendship between the two enemies and the rest of the battle and actual war chapters. The book however makes many important points about the war, racial hatred and friendship. It also provided a lot of interesting details about the war times and to this reader was an overall stimulating and entertaining read.