Read The Walnut Tree by Charles Todd Online


"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 Engla"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....

Title : The Walnut Tree
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780062236999
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 248 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Walnut Tree Reviews

  • Kathy
    2018-10-23 18:11

    I am a fan of Charles Todd. I have read all of their books. This one, set during WW I , showcases the nurses who performed so heroically during that war. In fact there are cameo roles from Bess Crawford and her flat mates. I liked the Scot plot line and the history that went with it.But, overall, I did not think this love story was up to the standards of their previous books. I hope this was just a one time, buy this book by excellent authors, for a Christmas present addition.

  • Kathy Davie
    2018-11-01 17:12

    Series: Bess Crawford, a short story spin-offThis is a romantic peek in at one of Bess Crawford's fellow nursing sisters during World War I.My TakeI was so disappointed in this. I was expecting Todd's usual high-quality writing and instead, I got this dreck. Yes, it's a cute story. In all its highly clichéd glory. Girl has met boy who is best friend's brother, drooled over him, and he finally sees her as an adult. On the brink of war, boy asks her to wait for him. Girl then meets true love with all the whiny guilt and self-remonstration we are forced to read through.Boy 1 becomes a hero, then a prisoner of war with a grievous injury. Boy 2 also gets injured. And, just for the fun of it, girl pulls a tiny Bess Crawford. What the point of including this was, we'll never know.Oh, I almost forgot. Lady Girl takes up nursing with Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service in defiance of her hopefully ignorant noble family. Hmmm, is there a cliché I missed?Lady Elspeth just has to go back to England right after her friend has had her baby and it appears that Paris won't be invaded. Yup, just go ahead and leave her friend there with all her worries. Because, only by being in England, can Elspeth discover and support the soldiers. The ones she takes up nursing for so she can come back to France. Admittedly, this is a noble endeavor, but I found her initial arguments for leaving specious. Then how lame is it that someone's family driver takes him out to the woods and then leaves him out there without really looking? I don't think Charles Todd put any real effort into this. S/he got tapped into writing this aand they cranked it out.The StorySee above.The CharactersWith her father dead and the title passing on to her second cousin, Lady Elspeth Douglas is trapped under his guardianship until she turns 30. But after events in France, she is determined to get through the nursing course and get back to the battlefields and help. Kenneth is the cousin who succeeded to her father's position as earl and head of the family. He's anxious to get her properly married off. Catriona is his wife. Major Rory Douglas is Kenneth's oldest son; Bruce is the younger and a lieutenant.Madeline Villard is Elspeth's pregnant French friend with whom she's staying in Paris when war breaks out. Captain Henri Villard is her loving husband, but he's been called to war. Alain Montigny is Madeline's brother. The one all the girls swooned over. Captain Lord Peter Gilchrist comes to Elspeth's rescue in her first foray amongst the wounded.Mrs. Hennessy is the landlady where Elspeth finds a room, sharing the house with Bess Crawford and Diana (who mentions Simon Brandon) among others. Joel and Mrs. Wright take care of Elspeth and Peter while they're at Walnut Tree Cottage.Two of the soldiers and friends who help Elspeth include Captain Jeremy Martin-Ward, who helps her find a room in Calais, and Timothy Howard, who's with the War Office, helps her to and from London.The CoverI'm guessing that the cover is meant to stand in for Elspeth's family home in Scotland and the three-quarter profile we have of Elspeth in her pre-war finery is to set the mood for the time period.The title is Sister Blake's dream of home, The Walnut Tree at her family's cottage where Elspeth and Peter finish falling in love that Christmas.

  • Kathleen (Kat) Smith
    2018-11-08 19:05

    I believe it's official. I am a complete Charles Todd fan now. I believe I've read at least 5 of his books and his writing style is incomparable to any other author I've read. Each time I read a Bess Crawford book, I truly believe I am seeing and hearing things from the characters own point of view and that's why I believe his books are so addicting. You begin to care about the characters, in this case Lady Elspeth Douglas, who is struggling the social binds that require her to marry into her social status while being care for by her Cousin Kenneth since her parents have both passed away. Now at the height of World War 1, in 1914, Elspeth finds herself in France caring for her dear friend Madeline, who has just learned her husband is being called up for duty and must leave just as she is about to deliver her first child.During her stay with Madeline, Elspeth becomes enchanted with Madeline's brother, Alain who she also learns is about to leave to join the war. On their last night together, Alain asks Elspeth for permission to court her when he returns from the war, and offers her his mother's ring as a token of their promise, which she accepts. Alain begs her to return to England fearing that the Germans will overtake the city of Paris soon and he won't be able to protect her. She promises she'll return once Madeline has the baby. As Elspeth begins her journey home to England, she encounters some of the horrors of war, too many wounded dying men in desperate need of care and very limited resources. She offers what care she can as she comes upon the victims trying to find a way back across the English Channel but soon finds herself in danger and an unlikely hero in a childhood friend, Peter Gilchrist who saves her from being shelled while caring for the men. He helps secure her a way back to England but not without their being a spark of feelings between the two. Elspeth feels she can't commit to Peter even though she possess a different more strong sense of affection for Peter, because she has promised herself to Alain. However with the war continuing Lady Elspeth feels she can't simply return to her life of luxury while so many are in need, so she attempts to find a way to join the nursing corps but without securing the permission of her Cousin Kenneth she won't be able to based solely on her social status. But Elspeth is determined to find a way to help those that she deeply cares for that are serving in the war, and nursing seems to be the only open door for her to learn the fate of the men she is torn between. In the novel, The Walnut Tree by Charles Todd is a poignant, compelling tale brimming with adventure, danger and love. This is a enchanting holiday gift and a wonderful companion to Charles Todd's acclaimed Bess Crawford series. Charles Todd is the New York Times bestselling author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. I received The Walnut Tree compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review and I can honest say this one was a heartwarming 5 out of 5 stars. I love historical romance novels with the World Wars as a perfect backdrop and this is no exception!

  • Angie
    2018-10-24 16:54

    3.5 stars...Solid historical fiction set during the early days of WWI. It calls itself a "holiday tale" but honestly very little of the story takes place during the holidays and there isn't any holiday ambience either. It's a short novel that apparently is considered in the Bess Crawford series. She is mentioned a few times but our main character is Lady Elspeth, a housemate and fellow nursing Sister of Bess. Elspeth is the daughter of a Duke and expected to do and be certain things, but wartime can change people. She wants more than dinner parties and fancy dresses. She also finds herself in a love triangle of sorts and her feelings are divided between Alain and Peter. Which will rule her--her heart or her duty?I liked the characters and thought the writing pretty good. It moved a little slow but was still enjoyable. The resolution was good as well.

  • kari
    2018-10-25 21:00

    I must learn to choose my books more wisely. This was nothing like I expected and thoroughly disappointing.What I expected: This is the story of a titled young Scots woman named Lady Elspeth Douglas and how she joins the nursing corps during World War I. Intriguing, no? How is this girl, raised on a landed estate with servants to cook, clean, see to her wardrobe, help her dress, how is she going to adjust to being on her own, facing danger with no one but herself to rely on? How will she endure the horrors of war? What I got:Lots of flitting about the countryside. I think there is more description of her actual travel from place to place than her actual nursing. There is much about how crowded are the ships, how crowded are the trains, how crowded are the roads, how crowded are the hotels. Okay, you get it, crowded. Then much about how this or that isn't proper behavior for a lady. There is perhaps one chapter on her training, nothing about what a challenge it is, she just does it. Also, there is a small mystery jabbed in for no apparent reason other than I believe the authors here are known for their mystery series so I guess they needed to put in mysterious elements for their fans, of which I am not one. This infinitesimal mystery bits fit in with the plot not at all and when it is revealed, I thought, huh, okay. *yawn*The ending is just silly. (view spoiler)[ Coming home from France where her almost-fiancee Alain has just died, she knows she can never be with Peter because it would besmirch Alain's memory or some such nonsense, but then Peter finds her and she simply tosses all that aside and the happy ending is that Peter is getting well, almost well enough to go back to the war. Yippee. (hide spoiler)]I kept waiting for some tension, some drama, other than the one Elspeth has made for herself by not being honest with either man, but there is nothing else to the story. I hoped to learn what life was life being in England during the war, but other than travel being something of a irritation, I know nothing about it still.I don't believe I'd pick another by this author.

  • Diana S
    2018-11-02 21:44

    Wow! I found new authors and a new series by reading this book. Charles Todd is actually a pseudonym for the mother and son writing team of Caroline Todd and Charles Todd and they write the Bess Crawford mystery series.Our heroine, Lady Elspeth Douglas was in Paris the day the French army mobilized in 1914 and her life was never the same. She wasn't the type to just sit there and rolled bandages like all the upper crust women of her society did. She wanted to do more for the war effort. She took a course in nursing then began helping the wounded soldiers at the front. Until her guardian got wind of it and forced her back to London. Being a nurse would make her unmarriageable. Upper-crust women don't do such things (There's a Downton Abbey like thing going on).Let's not forget the love triangle (it wouldn't be a Christmas romance without it) between Alain (her best friend's brother, the man she's promised to) and Captain Peter Gilchrist. Who will win her heart?All in all, I truly enjoyed this book and probably will read it again next Christmas!

  • Cindy
    2018-11-12 14:12

    Lively and romantic love/ suspense tale. Well narrated and highly recommended.

  • Jodi
    2018-10-30 21:49

    Didn’t like this much at all after I was part way through it. Usually I’ll warm to books, this one didn’t do the trick. Was willing to like it as I like several of the Ian Rutledge books by Todd but this mystery / romance left me unimpressed.Lady Elspeth Douglass –an aristocratic girl who wanted to keep it from people so it didn’t change how they acted towards her. So how does she react toward other people: she lies to them, she manipulates them, she takes advantage of their goodwill and kindness almost as an entitlement, she is not particularly friendly, she acts frustrated when the ‘privileges’ of her birth are not upheld, and she talks of honor but doesn’t abide by it herself--sorry, couldn’t like her much. For no reason that I could detect, people fell over themselves to be kind to her. All the military officers were in love with her (these would have been aristocratic men) and all the nurses (middle class girls) wanted to do whatever they could for her. I didn’t get it. What did she give in return? She took plenty—a cottage offered for a few days in which she stayed in for weeks; the labor and hospitality of neighbors; time away from a young woman on leave to drive her, Elspeth’s, boyfriend to the cottage; motorcars taken on loan with little or no explanation—unless it was a lie; the good will of a fellow nurse to write her letters…the list could go on and on.There were multiple holes in the narration that required a leap of faith: Elspeth had automobiles and petrol during war; she had winter weight clothes left in Paris even though she stayed there the previous summer; acquaintances at every turn of the war were eager to aid her; the speed of her discharge from the nursing unit (when letters were delayed in all other instances); a boyfriend that people took great pains to inform her was such a gentleman and so kind and thoughtful—was getting a bit tedious to be told this but clearly the character’s dialogue and development wasn’t getting the message across; and a four-month old baby was crawling. But, the largest infraction of sense was the poor use of time--nurses training, multiple journeys to France to be stationed, weeks spent at the cottage, several days spent capturing the art looters and murderers, a trip to Scotland, days attending a convalescing cousin ….all in the span of three months. Really?! The mystery? Such a slim portion of the book dealt with it—making it completely unnecessary.

  • Barbara
    2018-11-14 21:44

    This "holiday tale" only featured a mention of Christmas and a decorated tree. It was a romance (not my cup of tea) as Lady Elsbeth Douglas goes back and forth to France at the outbreak of World War I. Really? She becomes a nurse and going back and forth becomes easier. She becomes engaged to the brother of a French friend, and meets a Scottish officer and sparks fly. The story was hard to believe especially as Elsbeth keeps running into Scottish minor royalty who are part of the British army in France. You'd think there were only a few hundreds soldiers over there. But romance stories tend to be outlandish, sigh.

  • Roselyn
    2018-10-20 15:52

    I had been looking forward to reading this book and was so disappointed. I am a big fan of the Charles Todd team and love their other two series. This seemed to be written by someone completely different. No depth to it--plot was pedestrian. I kept waiting for it to really start, so I could enjoy it and be as captivated as I have been by their other novels. It never happened. I felt like someone was giving a book report of a book they read.

  • Joy
    2018-11-03 19:45

    Sentimental fluff from the authors of the Bess Crawford & Ian Rutledge mysteries. Very basic uplifting holiday tale; there's none of the depth of their better mysteries. Eminently skippable.

  • Kris
    2018-10-31 14:57

    An enjoyable love story set in WWI.What I liked about this book was that the author stayed true to the time period and describes life as a WWI nurse.

  • Marlene
    2018-11-10 20:06

    Originally published at Reading RealityIf you're looking for something to tide you over until Downton Abbey finally starts up again in January, take a look at Charles Todd's World War I Christmas romance, The Walnut Tree.And if you happen to be a fan of Todd's Bess Crawford mystery series, you're in for a real treat. The heroine of The Walnut Tree is one of Bess Crawford's London flatmates, so there is a glimpse into Bess' world from a slightly different perspective. There's even a touch of mystery.But back to Downton. The heroine in this particular tale is Lady Elspeth Douglas. Like Sybil Crawley, she wants to do more in World War I than lament about the shortages and roll up bandages. Lady Elspeth goes through the rigorous training and becomes a surgical nurse, serving in France, until her guardian discovers where she is and forces her resignation from the service. Elspeth is well into her 20s at this point, but she is under her cousin's guardianship until age 30 according to her late father's will.No one wants her to leave the nursing service. Elspeth is a damn good nurse and they need her. Badly. Desperately. But her cousin has the absolute legal right to do this. Makes you want to scream but this was quite legal. He thought, and many people quite agreed with him at the time, that serving as a nurse would make her unmarriageable. And, after all, that's what upper-crust women were supposed to do-get married and make upper-crust babies.Never mind what Elspeth wanted to do.About the story. Elspeth was always somewhat different. Her late father raised her to be independent. And she is Scottish, not English. It does matter. She begins the war in France, waiting for the birth of that friend's baby. And being courted by that friend's brother. A man she had a terrible crush on when she and her friend were in finishing school together.During the course of Madeleine's pregnancy, Alain has been courting her quite assiduously, with the expectation that after the birth, he could go to Scotland to ask her cousin for her hand in marriage. All very proper. Elspeth thinks Alain is who she wants, but they never really have a chance to know each other. I'm not talking about sex. That's not what this is about. They never have the chance to talk about what they really want out of life or what their expectations are for the future. They assume that everything will go on as it has always been.Then the war intervenes. Alain asks her for her promise, but they are not engaged. Exactly, because he can't ask her cousin's permission. She feels bound, yet there is nothing formal.And the world goes to hell. Germany invades Belgium, and Britain is dragged into the war. Her friend stays in Paris, and begs her to stay with her, when Elspeth should, as a British citizen, leave while she can.After the baby is born, she finally does leave, and is caught up in Calais by the British troop movements. There are no ships for a civilian to take. She ends up nursing the wounded. Even untrained, she is more help than nothing.And she finds Captain Peter Gilchrist, a friend of her family from Scotland. He takes her with his company, and makes sure she gets back behind the lines to the coast. The harrowing experience binds them together in a way that her brief relationship with Alain does not. But she gave Alain a promise that she cannot break.But her experience on the coast of France has changed her forever. Enough so that she defies the expectations of her class and goes through the rigorous training to become a nursing sister. Enough so that she spends the entire war dreaming of one man while fully committed to honoring her promise to another. Praying that both of them make it through the war whole.Some prayers are not meant to be answered.Escape Rating A: Charles Todd (actually a pseudonym for the mother and son writing team of Caroline Todd and Charles Todd) do an excellent, as always, job of invoking the time, the place and the sensibilities of life in England in the WWI and post-WWI era.As much as the restrictions on Lady Elspeth chafe us, our world is not hers, those are the times in which she lived. She had to deal with her world as she found it, not as we would. The Todds let you slip into her skin, and see the world as she did.We feel Elspeth's need to do her duty to the promise she made to Alain, and we understand why she feels it. Just as we feel her need to do her part in the war, no matter the personal consequences.That those consequences are high, and different from what Elspeth initially imagined...well that's what makes the story so marvelous.

  • Barb Klein
    2018-11-17 15:49

    “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

  • Jane
    2018-10-26 22:06

    I'm a big fan of mother-son author team Charles Todd. I needed an audiobook to listen to and picked up The Walnut Tree, labeled as "a Holiday Tale." Set during the same time as the Bess Crawford series, some familiar characters like Bess and her landlady make appearances. The writing is fine, and it kept me interested, but I have some major problems with the plot and characters.The narrator, Lady Elspeth Douglas, is not very admirable. In France with a school friend awaiting the birth of her child, she believes she has fallen in love with her friend's brother Alain. Even though it is not proper to do so, she gives him permission to speak to her uncle/guardian about marrying her since Alain is about to join the War. After he leaves and her friend has her baby, Elspeth makes her way back to England. On the way she runs into and becomes reacquainted with an old friend, Peter Gilchrist. She feels an immediate connection with him. She returns to England, joins the nursing service (and shares a flat with Bess Crawford), and starts journeying back and forth between England and France. Along the way, she runs into an implausible number of people she knows, many of them more than once. She also falls for Peter Gilchrist.It is clear that Peter is in love with her, but she never at any point tells him that she is promised to another man. She lets him go on about speaking to her uncle after the War, but she never finds the courage to admit the truth.So now she is caught between the man she loves and the man she is promised to. Alain has been missing, and she receives a letter that he is injured but back at home in France. She leaves Gilchrist without a word and goes to France. Alain has lost his arm. He is depressed but Elspeth strives to convince him that she loves him the way he is, even though of course she only loves him as a cousin. She decides to forget Peter and devote herself to Alain. How does this dilemma get resolved? Alain shoots himself, leaving Elspeth free to return to Peter. (Which she decides not to do, out of guilt, but circumstances of course bring them together for a "happy" ending.)As I said, this kept my interest because the writing is strong, but overall the mood of the story just did not work for me. It was hard to believe in happy ever after for Elspeth and Peter after her inability to be honest with him (really, he forgives her for that?) and after it took a suicide to bring them together.I will however continue to read any new Charles Todd that comes along.

  • Annette
    2018-10-21 14:55

    Source: Free copy from William Morrow/Harper Collins in exchange for a review.Summary:1914, World War I. Lady Elspeth Douglas is in Paris, France when war with Germany begins. She is in Paris, visiting a long time friend named Madeleine, who will soon have her first baby. Elspeth, begins a relationship with her friends brother Alain; however, war calls him away before the relationship advances. During her journey to escape France, Elspeth encounters war first hand. She also reconnects with an old friend named Peter Gilchrist. Her firsthand experience of being on a battlefield and seeing the injured, both shakes and consumes her. Back in the safety of England, Elspeth makes a serious decision to become a nursing sister. Meanwhile, past decisions will haunt her until rectified. Thoughts:I loved this story!Elspeth has lived a life of luxury, all her needs and wants are met with servants. Her mother died when she was age three. Her father died recently. Her guardian is an older second cousin with sons her age.When the story began I was unsure of her character. A person of high social status can sometimes be unable to conquer ego and pride. I admire Elspeth's ability to respond and engage herself in duties that are not common to a woman of her social status. In training to be a nursing sister she had to scrub floors and clean up excrement and other body messes that most of us would cringe at. When faced with an obstacle she perseveres with bravery. She is a person of faithfulness, despite fear. I felt that through her story of caring for injured soldiers I'm able to understand what a nursing sister's duties were. Elspeth is a compassionate, selfless, fearless, intelligent, mature, nurse.Her decision to become a nursing sister during war time is met with shock, dismay and negativity. This element is the main part of the story, a second element is her decision about two love interests, third is a mystery. This last part is so small I would not even state this is a mystery novel, but because Charles Todd is a mystery writing team, focusing on the World War I years and aftermath, readers of their books might be surprised that the mystery is miniscule.Bess Crawford is the main character and heroine in several of Charles Todd's books. She makes cameo appearances in The Walnut Tree.

  • Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
    2018-10-28 16:49

    Alain told Lady Elspeth Douglas not to worry as he went off to fight and she stayed home with his ring on her finger because the war would be over by Christmas. Little did they know that the war would NOT be over by Christmas. Lady Douglas decided that she didn't want to just sit around and wait so she joined the Nursing Sisters...she meets Todd's famous Bess Crawford during this time. Since Lady Douglas was born and raised in a privileged household, it was unheard of for a woman of her class to join the nursing profession and treat wounded men. It was stated that anyone of her class wouldn't be acceptable as a wife to a gentleman if she was part of the nursing sisters. She thought otherwise. To avoid being turned down, she kept her title a secret when she applied to become a nurse.The book follows Elspeth through her duties as a nurse in France and England during WWII. Of course, she met someone else even though she was engaged to Alain....this theme was the main part of the book. You will find out how she handles this situation and each situation that occurs whether the situation is traveling alone on trains and boats filled with soldiers, visiting relatives, or nursing.The book is mixed with this love story and war. Mr. Todd takes the reader into the hospitals and gives details about the surgical and nursing units and the unpleasant tasks carried out by the nurses and doctors. He also brings the reader into the thick of the heartbreak, disasters, and ugliness of war. Elspeth's love story has a culminating scene under a walnut tree that binds her and her true love.I enjoyed the book, but it was a bit of a tedious read. You will want to keep reading, though, because you will want to find out how the love part of the story turns out. WWII history buffs will love all the details that Mr. Todd so exquisitely and brilliantly knows how to portray. My rating is 4/5.This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

  • N.
    2018-11-14 14:48

    WARNING - Possible spoilers 2.5/5 - Incredibly predictable and cliche. The daughter of a Scottish Earl, deceased, goes to France to help her friend Madeleine as she prepares to give birth. War is breaking out and Lady Elspeth falls in love with Madeleine's brother (whom she had a crush on during their school years). The men are sent off to war, baby arrives, and then suddenly Elspeth decides she must return to England. But, by this point, the trains and ports are filled with soldiers arriving, wounded and dying. At this point, the story goes off the rails. Elspeth starts running back and forth to give the men water and then unaccountably decides to dash off to the front to help out. At nearly every turn, she runs into someone she knows, placing all involved in danger. And, she becomes convinced that she must become a nurse. Her rebellious streak leads her to go through the nursing program without bothering to inform her cousin and guardian because she doubts he'd approve. She drops her title, goes off to serve as a nurse and falls in love with a different guy.So . . . you KNOW who she is going to end up with (won't spoil that) from her inner monologue. But, you can't will a heroine in a book to just FESS UP, DAMN IT, all around. She lies to everyone about her place in society, the man she truly loves, etc. In the midst of this is a little mystery that is completely meaningless. The book appears to have been rushed to press. The word "had" should have been stricken repeatedly from at least half of the pages. Did an editor look at this manuscript? I can't say. Other reviewers who have read the mother/son duo's mysteries note that this book is not of the same caliber. I'm not a mystery reader and was more interested in the time and place. I like a little romance mixed in with interesting events but the romantic aspect was not convincing. Really, quite disappointing.

  • Katie
    2018-10-30 16:02

    This was a surprisingly interesting, albeit quick, read. The Walnut Tree tells the story of Lady Elspeth Douglas who, after having returned to France to visit a friend, finds World War One breaking out around her. Lady Elspeth has only just agreed to marry her friend's brother, Alain, when he is mobilized for war. She attempts to return to England, but finds herself trapped on the French coast. There, she encounters an old family friend, Captain Peter Gilchrist, and in the midst of battle, finds herself attracted to him and he to her. Lady Elspeth gets a quick taste of war while on the coast, and later, when she returns to England, hides her title and trains to be a nursing sister. The rest of the novel finds Lady Elspeth traveling back and forth between England and France, encountering Captain Gilchrist and nursing the wounded.Like I mentioned earlier, the book was a very fast read, but the characters were intriguing and the plot good. Sometimes, romantic novels can feel really contrived, but I did not feel that way about this one. There was a side plot involving some stolen art and The Scotland Yard, and that seemed out of place and underdevelopped, but regardless, I highly enjoyed the novel. With all the current hype over Downton Abbey and the First World War, I'm sure this novel will find a great many fans.

  • Gloria Feit
    2018-10-25 16:51

    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.

  • Tara Chevrestt
    2018-10-22 14:58

    A unique holiday tale...of heartache, unrequited love, despair and hope both, and a woman who does what she feels is right and follows what she feels is her path. WWII. Elspeth is in France when all hell breaks loose. In the excitement of the moment, she agrees to marry Alain, her best friend's brother, even though she really only feels for him the way she does her fondest cousin. But she doesn't know or understand this at the time...some things come with maturity and war makes one grow up fast.He's gone. Something calls her back to her native England, a desire, a feeling. On the way there, she meets a soldier and finds love as well as a calling...nursing.There's much ado about her being a nurse as she's also a lady. Her cousin/guardian doesn't approve. But as morbid as this will sound, the ravages of the battlefield, the wounds she tends, the trials she faces in the war zone were the best parts of the book. I liked how she stood by the wounded and defied orders to do otherwise. She is fearless.Full review on Book Babe:

  • Kathy Moberg
    2018-11-02 19:57

    This is not a mystery. And, this is a novella, not a novel. I recommend taking it out from the library, which is what I did. The story is quite good and held my interest while also giving me a lot of fascinating information on some aspects of life in England and France at the very beginning of WWI. Best of all, it allows the reader to get to know one of Bess Crawford's roommates very well! For that reason, I'd say it's a "must" for fans of Todd's Bess Crawford mysteries. It is also a nice, quick read for anyone who wonders if they might like to give that series a try, since it's a stand-alone story. I'm hoping that there will be similar novellas featuring the other women in the flat. Finally, while this is marketed as a Christmas book, the holidays barely figure in it at all, so pick it up any time of the year.

  • Meg
    2018-11-06 17:54

    After 80 pages, I'm completely bored and unsure why I'd want to continue. The writing is dull and all tell, no show, and though I can see some of the parallels between "Downton Abbey" and Lady Elspeth's desire to shirk the confines of her title and become a nurse, the connections end there. The story has no emotional core and, as I'm disconnected from every character in the book, I'm giving up. Also, a holiday tale? Not sure how this could be construed as a Christmas story -- though perhaps that comes later in the book. I'll never know. And I'm okay with that.

  • Mary Ronan Drew
    2018-11-13 17:09

    Those of us who love the Bess Crawford series of mysteries by Charles Todd need to know about this little novella, The Walnut Tree, about another World War I nurse, Lady Elspeth Douglas. Bess has a walk-on role in the story . . .To see the rest of my review go to my blog at:

  • Margo
    2018-10-30 15:51

    The Walnut Tree by Charles ToddThis is a story about a girl from Scotland that takes place during World War 1. It describes the hardships that the people went through both in England and in France

  • Kathleen
    2018-11-19 19:43

    Certainly not up to Ian Rutledge or Bess Crawford standards.

  • April
    2018-10-29 20:56

    3.5.I have several of the Bess Crawford series in paperback, but I haven't yet read them (story of my life, honestly). But when I was browsing for holiday reads in my library's e-collection, I found this one and decided to try it.I'm glad that I did. It was not without flaws, but overall I enjoyed it. It wasn't terribly Christmassy though - there was a fairly important moment that occurred at Christmas but it felt rushed and not as emphasized as it could've been.The book also had rather odd pacing throughout, to the point where I'm not sure how many times Elspeth went to France then back to England (also, those trips seemed to occur almost too easily for her, and perhaps that's my own ignorance showing, since she was a nurse in WWI, but... I don't know. It seemed to me like traveling to a warzone, basically, should take more effort/be more difficult even for a nurse. Then again, we're talking 1916 and not present day, so who knows). It also felt as though a lot of time passes throughout this book. I'm not actually sure how much time does pass, however, though it's closer to a year than it seems for the length of the book I think.Also? There was a weird little mystery stuck in the middle of the book that had literally NO bearing on the rest of the story. It was so out of place, unremarkable, and odd that I forgot about it until I read some other reviewers' thoughts on The Walnut Tree and then I remembered it. It had no place in the story, and honestly I don't understand why it was put there. That alone brought my rating down from 4/5 stars to 3/5 stars because it was utterly senseless and was also very jarring, since it related to nothing else that was occurring in the story at any point.My favorite things about this book:* Peter. How could you not like Peter?* The details of nursing in WWI.* The moments where Elspeth is spirited and spunky.* The Christmas moment. Despite being rushed, it was depicted so beautifully!* The internal battles that Elspeth fights.* The conclusion to the book.This feels like a fairly disjointed review. I'll be honest, I'm having trouble organizing my thoughts about The Walnut Tree, because it feels like my main issues are ones that don't make much sense unless you've read the book.I definitely do recommend this though, for fans of historical fiction who don't mind books with a holiday-ish bent.

  • Nicole Ankenmann
    2018-10-23 21:48

    This book is hardly the light-hearted Christmas-themed literary fare I thought I'd chosen, but The Walnut Tree is classic Charles Todd.Lady Elspeth Douglas is an aristocratic young woman from Scottland who defies the social expectations of her family, trains as a nurse and courageously tends to wounded Allied soldiers in France. Her romantic destiny is emotionally tangled from the outset, complicated further by the common hardships of war and the inevitable personal transformation that comes with it. Elspeth's experiences as a nursing sister fundamentally change her worldview, and with a shift in what she believes and values, so shifts her heart. It's a messy thing, to love someone. This story does not shy away from that difficult reality.And one final note: the various choices made for this novel's cover art bewilder me. Though each one depicts a young white woman, Lady Elspeth describes herself several times as a Black Scot -- which I understood to mean a dark complexion as well as hair colour. Perhaps my confusion on this point is a sign of my ignorance.

  • Nancy
    2018-10-28 19:04

    I was looking for Christmas stories when I found this book. It is not a Christmas story. It's a war story. I was amazed that a father could assign a guardian for his daughter, and that guardian had a say in who she could marry, and what kind of work she could do, up until the age of thirty. A woman needed a chaperone, and couldn't be alone with a man. I did like the story line about the nurses, and the care they gave the wounded soldiers. The love story was between Lady Elsepith Douglas, and two different men. She couldn't make up her mind between the two men. She saves Peter's life by not following orders to leave him, and go on to other patients. She also went to France to help the second love interest. The story ended to abruptly for my tastes.

  • Michelle Ule
    2018-11-11 17:44

    Until I read a truly excellent novel by Charles Todd, I'm going to rate them all 2 stars.The research is excellent--and the reason I read these books since I, too, have written a WWI novel--but the writing is so stilted it drives me crazy!Was is NOT the only verb! SHOW us, don't keep telling us paragraph after paragraph after paragraph. Yikes!I don't need to know every single step the hero/heroine takes.This one throws in all sorts of obvious elements into what is a simple, I suppose, love story set in conventional WWI stories. Good luck.