Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Walnut Tree-Charles Todd

The Walnut Tree

Charles Todd

Morrow, Oct 30 2012, $16.99

ISBN: 9780062236999

In 1914, pregnant Madeleine Villard asks her best friend Lady Elspeth Douglas to come from Scotland to Paris to be at her side during the last few months of her pregnancy. Elspeth travels to Paris as the Germans invade Belgium and head to France. Madeleine's husband Henri and her brother Alaine enlist in the French army.

Elspeth loves Alaine who admits to her that he feels the same way; he gives her a family ring telling her he will speak to her guardian Uncle Kenneth when he returns from combat. As the Germans close in on Paris, Madeleine gives birth prematurely to a son. Meanwhile Scottish Captain Peter Gilchrist arrives to rescue Elspeth, who is confused by her feelings for him and her betrothed even as she provides sustenance to the soldiers near the front.

This is an exciting WWII military romance as all is not quiet on the northeastern front. The key cast is fully developed so that the transition in class status that the war to end all wars brought as its most lasting and radical outcome feels genuine. However, it is the atrocities and tragedies as an outcome of war that makes this a strong historical thriller.

Harriet Klausner

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