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The Walnut Tree (Bess Crawford #4.5)

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  1,944 Ratings  ·  310 Reviews
"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
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published October 30th 2012 by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins
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(showing 1-30)
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Dec 01, 2012 Kathy rated it it was ok
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
Nov 01, 2012 Kathy Davie rated it it was ok
Shelves: romance, history, military
Series: Bess Crawford, a short story spin-off

This is a romantic peek in at one of Bess Crawford's fellow nursing sisters during World War I.

My Take
I 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
Kathleen (Kat) Smith
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 so ...more
Dec 24, 2015 Angie rated it liked it
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
Jan 08, 2013 kari rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
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
Diana S
Dec 30, 2012 Diana S rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
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
Feb 04, 2017 Cindy rated it really liked it
Lively and romantic love/ suspense tale. Well narrated and highly recommended.
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 ...more
Dec 13, 2012 Roselyn rated it did not like it
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.
Dec 09, 2012 Joy rated it it was ok
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.
Apr 14, 2017 Kris rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 23, 2012 Marlene rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Reading Reality

If 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 myst
Barb Klein
Feb 26, 2013 Barb Klein rated it it was amazing
“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. Made ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 18, 2014 Jodi rated it did not like it

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 kindnes
Oct 16, 2013 Annette rated it it was amazing
Source: Free copy from William Morrow/Harper Collins in exchange for a review.

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 ol
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Dec 15, 2012 Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews rated it really liked it
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
Oct 02, 2012 N. rated it liked it
Shelves: on-the-stacks
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, w
Dec 23, 2012 Katie rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
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 ...more
Gloria Feit
Apr 15, 2013 Gloria Feit rated it really liked it
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 b
Tara Chevrestt
Sep 07, 2012 Tara Chevrestt rated it really liked it
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.
Kathy Moberg
Dec 28, 2012 Kathy Moberg rated it really liked it
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 ...more
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
Mary Ronan Drew
Nov 05, 2012 Mary Ronan Drew rated it liked it
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:

Oct 11, 2014 Margo added it
The Walnut Tree by Charles Todd
This 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
Jan 25, 2013 Kathleen rated it it was ok
Certainly not up to Ian Rutledge or Bess Crawford standards.
Nov 16, 2016 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Brooke Riffert
May 06, 2017 Brooke Riffert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved This!!

I couldn't put this book down. Finished it in two days. With all of its twist and turns you're left on the edge of your seat wanting more.
I loved Elspeth and was enjoyed getting to know the other characters from Bess Crawford's world.
Dec 06, 2016 Sandy rated it really liked it
I find WWI very interesting and enjoyed the book. Not a big Christmas read.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Jun 30, 2016 11:30AM  
  • Murder In The Afternoon (Kate Shackleton, #3)
  • Enter Pale Death (Joe Sandilands #12)
  • Christmas at High Rising
  • A Christmas Garland (Christmas Stories, #10)
  • Island of Bones (Crowther and Westerman, #3)
  • Masked Ball at Broxley Manor (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #0.5)
  • Some Old Lover's Ghost
  • The Xmas Factor
  • His Very Own Girl
  • Far in the Wilds (A Spear of Summer Grass, #0.5)
  • The Return of Captain John Emmett
  • The Enchanted Isle
  • Fool's Masquerade
  • Twelve Drummers Drumming (Father Christmas Mystery #1)
  • Beware This Boy (Detective Inspector Tom Tyler, #2)
  • A Killer's Christmas in Wales (Penny Brannigan Mystery #3)
  • Pattern of Shadows (Mary #1)
  • Petty Treason (Sarah Tolerance, #2)
Charles Todd is the pen name used by a mother-and-son writing team, Caroline Todd and Charles Todd.
More about Charles Todd...

Other Books in the Series

Bess Crawford (9 books)
  • A Duty To The Dead (Bess Crawford, #1)
  • An Impartial Witness (Bess Crawford, #2)
  • A Bitter Truth (Bess Crawford, #3)
  • An Unmarked Grave (Bess Crawford, #4)
  • A Question of Honor (Bess Crawford, #5)
  • An Unwilling Accomplice (Bess Crawford, #6)
  • A Pattern of Lies (Bess Crawford, #7)
  • The Shattered Tree (Bess Crawford, #8)
  • Casualty of War (Bess Crawford #9)

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