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The Shattered Tree

Friday, January 1, 2021

The Shattered Tree (2016) Charles Todd (Bess Crawford)

The Shattered TreeSet in France in 1918.

Bess Crawford is back towards the front when a soldier in a French uniform is brought in, suffering from blood loss, his feet torn up because someone stole his boots before he fled across no-man’s land. But when the soldier unconsciously yells out in German, Bess wonders if he is actually an escaped French prisoner, or a German spy.

As with the last couple of books, the parts of the book I really enjoyed dealt with the war.

Like this French woman describing conditions of the wounded at the start of the war.

I volunteered at Panne, where the Belgians had set up an excellent hospital. After that, I stood in railway stations with other nurses and nuns, caring for the wounded in trains sent back from the Front. It was terrible— no bandages to speak of, except field dressings. No cots, men lying in their own filth in bloody straw, no food, no medicines. Not even water. This was true well into 1915. It was the most terrible experience, to see the need and be so helpless to fill it. But then the Army began to realize that they were losing men who shouldn’t have died. And still they resisted using nurses.

And the continued discussion of shell-shock and it’s affect on both the army and individual soldiers.

“Shell shock is what you call it, I think. He remembers too much, and it has nearly destroyed him. His wife has already left him. His friends. But he is so tormented he can’t turn away from what he sees in his head. It’s rather terrible. I have done what I could. It may never be enough.”

The mystery however, was confusing, some of the characters ran together, and some of the conclusions Bess (and others) made didn’t make sense.

Which was aggravating.

Also, Bess gets away with an awful lot I somehow doubt other women in the same situation would have been given as much leniency.

So in some ways this book was frustrating, as there were parts I enjoyed, and part that could have been done so much better.

As an aside, considering the current world in its own upheaval, this bit hit home.

After four long years, it seemed as if this was what was normal now, and that what had been before was no more than a dream of a distant time. How it would be afterward, I don’t think any of us could imagine.

I can’t imagine what life is going to be like as begin this new year, and hope to see the end of the pandemic in 2021.

Publisher : William Morrow

Categories: 7/10, British, Female, Historical, Mystery     Comments (0)    



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