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The Chestnut Tree: A Novel of the Women of World War II
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The Chestnut Tree: A Novel of the Women of World War II (The Bexham Trilogy #1)

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  189 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
By bestselling British writer Charlotte Bingham, The Chestnut Tree is a sweeping, romantic novel about the women who stayed behind in World War II.

It is the summer of 1939, and the residents of the idyllic Sussex fishing port of Bexham are preparing for war. Beautiful but shy Judy Melton, daughter of a naval hero; her determinedly feckless friend, the social butterfly Megg
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 12th 2003 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published 2002)
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A poignant, well-written novel set in the fishing village of Bexham, spanning the years 1939 to 1945.
Feb 02, 2015 Jae rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

I vowed after reading Charlotte Binghams " Summertime" that I would never read another of her books it was that awful. But I picked this one up by mistake and actually enjoyed it. It's still not fantastic but the writing flowed nicely and it was easy to read. The Chestnut tree itself could have held more significance particularly as the story starts with it's introduction. I found there were too many characters with no specific main person, and the story only skims on their personalities and may
Marlene Lewis
Apr 12, 2011 Marlene Lewis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I often find myself lost among the characters of family sagas and The Chestnut Tree was no exception. It probably says more about my reading habits [usually in bed after a tiring day] than the writing but a list of characters would have been appreciated.

The story spans the six years of WWII and follows the lives and loves of four relatively well to do young women and their mothers. In The Chestnut Tree, Charlotte Bingham depicts the crumbling away of rigid pre-war class structures as the sleepy
Clare O'Beara
The chestnut tree of the title plays very little part in the story!
Four women in an east coast country town are changed by wartime. Their lives make up the first 120 or so pages before the war gets under way; some lead quite boring and wealthy lives, others hedge rather than marry or act the tomboy around boats.

Determined to play an active role, older women set up village circles to make camouflage netting, a slow filthy task. A young woman stows away on a small boat heading to Dunkirk, rescues

Charlotte Bingham is a very prolific writer of both novels and television dramas. I first read one of her books ten years ago and this is only the fifth title of hers since then. I do not think therefore that I would consider her one of my favourite authors, though I have always found they provide readable enjoyable escapism.

The Chestnut Tree follows the lives of the residents of Bexham, a Sussex fishing port during World War II. The main protagonists are
Ginny Marie
This book takes place in Bexham, England, and focuses on four women whose lives change dramatically because of the war. Rusty, a seaman's daughter, stows away on a boat which rescues soldiers from the beaches of France during a failed invasion. The consequences of this rescue haunts her for many years. Judy falls in love with Walter, and he goes off to war, soon to be missing in action. Mattie becomes a driver for the war effort; as a result she meets and falls in love with an American general. ...more
Sep 17, 2013 Stacy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this on the beach, which, thankfully, was not covered with barbed wire like the beaches of Kent. The barbed wire was one of the things I knew about WWII, along with the blitz and Anderson Shelters. In fact, I had a chance to go in a mock-up of one at a museum earlier this year (I declined because it seemed so realistic). I knew, too, that women did a lot for the war effort, but this book filled in a lot more details, e.g. the net making, which I had no clue about. The beauty se ...more
Feb 17, 2010 Adi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, I 'borrowed' this from the dementia unit my aunt lives in assuming that no-one was going to notice it was missing. I promise to return it as it was a jolly nice yarn that the nurses will no doubt enjoy even if my aunt can't.
Charlotte Bingham excels at escapist romance with a tinge of sadness and a sense of nostalgia. This one is set during WWII and tracks a group of women with tenuous links to eachother through the war and their experiences whether as spies, munitions workers or working wom
May 19, 2009 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
I read this book a number of years ago but it is a book I find myself thinking about sometimes. It's the first book I have read that describes what life was like in Great Britain during WWII. I think sometimes fiction can give readers a feeling for a time that history books just do not. I feel after reading this I have a glimpse of what it was like to live with constant worries of bombing, rationed food, and blacked out windows. I really enjoyed this book.
Mar 20, 2016 AJ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
The first third of the book was tough to get through. I know it built background on each of the characters but I'll admit to skim reading paragraphs. Once the War got underway it improved at lot. I like how the characters intertwined through out the book. It was a little difficult keeping track of so many but got easier as the story developed.
Oct 25, 2015 Andrée rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
WWII lite - covers just about every service - briefly, ditto modes of death; luckily most of the men are sexy and often good looking too.
"If he could he'd take his heart out and give it you on a plate..." - ugh.
Nice light weight escapist read but overpriced at 50p
Sarah Chantler
Jan 24, 2013 Sarah Chantler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, set in a fictional town during WWII. It tells the story of how the war affected the ordinary people back home, from the war efforts of sewing nets and driving Ambulances to the dreaded arrivals of the telegrams and the Dunkirk rescues.
Very enjoyable!
Dec 29, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed all of the strong women and their respective roles during WWII. This book reminds me of the wonderful movies from the 1940s and the details create authentic images without being overly graphic.
Denise Johanson
Apr 04, 2015 Denise Johanson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this book, loved the characters and the subject of war and how each character had the cards dealt to them, enjoyable
Fran Piercey
Mar 31, 2010 Fran Piercey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Set in England during WW2. It focused on the women left behind.
Apr 25, 2009 Trisha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A heart warming story set in England - in Sussex at the start of WW2 and follows the lives of a small village and especially the women - not just the young women, but their mothers as well.
Shonna Froebel
Jan 19, 2014 Shonna Froebel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Characters good and believable.
Situations described well, catching.
Sep 08, 2012 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great, realistic story of women in England and their individual contributions to the war effort in WWII.
Feb 18, 2016 Debbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it couldn't put it down
I loved this book - great insight into what a war would be like for women; and to have war in your country.
Terence Brady
Terence Brady rated it it was amazing
May 29, 2012
Libby rated it it was amazing
Jul 09, 2009
Elena rated it really liked it
Mar 26, 2013
Julie Weston
Julie Weston rated it it was ok
Nov 23, 2012
Denise Hartgrove
Denise Hartgrove rated it it was amazing
Oct 15, 2014
Ethel rated it it was amazing
Mar 25, 2012
Angela rated it it was ok
Dec 04, 2016
Harry Tomos
Harry Tomos rated it it was amazing
Dec 16, 2014
Elle rated it liked it
Jul 08, 2011
Jazmine Collins
Jazmine Collins rated it liked it
Aug 25, 2016
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The Honourable Charlotte Mary Thérèse Bingham was born on 29 June 1942 in Haywards Heath, Sussex, England, UK. Her father, John Bingham, the 7th Baron Clanmorris, wrote detective stories and was a secret member of MI5. Her mother, Madeleine Bingham, née Madeleine Mary Ebel, was a playwright. Charlotte first attended a school in London, but from the age of seven to 16, she went to the Priory of Our ...more
More about Charlotte Bingham...

Other Books in the Series

The Bexham Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Wind Off the Sea
  • The Moon at Midnight

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