The mother and son duo writing as Charles Todd have taken a break from their Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries and penned a romance during the First World War, "The Walnut Tree." (William Morrow, 248 pages.)
While in France visiting her friend, Madeleine Villard, Lady Elspeth Douglas is stranded in the ensuing chaos of the early days of the conflict.
As Frenchmen are summoned to begin defending their homeland against the advancing German army, Elspeth accepts a ring and promise of love from Alain, Madeleine's brother.
With the help of an old family friend, Capt. Peter Gilchrist, Elspeth manages to return to England. Having witnessed the carnage of war, Elspeth enlists in the nursing corps - something no well-bred would dream of doing.
When her friend Capt. Gilchrist is wounded, Elspeth borrows the cottage of a sister nurse for her friend's recuperation. In a quaint English cottage sheltered by a magnificent walnut tree, Elspeth begins to fall in love with another man - her fellow Scot, Capt. Gilchrist.
Readers of the Bess Crawford mysteries will recognize her character which makes a brief appearance in this book.
Fans of the much acclaimed PBS series "Downtown Abbey" may wish to read Charles Todd's "Walnut Tree."