Wednesday, August 17, 2011
"Truth is the property of no individual but... the treasure of all men." Emerson
"A Bitter Truth" is an engrossing depiction of the life of a battlefield nurse in WWI and an upper class family in rural England. We observe the interactions of this family as they attempt to deal with a particularly embarrassing situation. The primary purpose of the family's actions is to protect the family name.
Bess Crawford is a nurse who returns to England on leave from her duties in the battlefields of France. She is surprised to find a well dressed young woman huddled in her doorway. When Bess sees that the woman, Lucy Ellis, has a bruise on her face Bess's compassionate nature takes over. She invites Lucy to her flat and learns that Lucy's husband, Roger, struck her. Lucy is afraid of returning to her home and Bess offers to accompany her.
At the Ellis home, Bess meets Roger and understands about the argument. Roger is about to return to active duty and Lucy wants him to try to conceive a child so that if anything happened to Roger in battle, Lucy would have that part of him to remember and love.
Bess is a steady character who is a delight. As a nurse, she deals with physically and mentally injured people. She is also a problem solver and has the ability to analyze a situation and provide useful alternatives.
Charles Todd describes the relationship between family members and their responsibility toward maintaining the family reputation, at all costs. There are a number of murders and the reader continues the story enjoying the logical approach Bess uses to find who the killer might be.
There is a well placed plot twist that adds to the reader's interest and places the novel in the top realm of creative story telling. The story has a plot and character that are made for each other and combine for a wonderful reading experience.