The Candlewood Tree by Barbara Whitnell

A new country doesn’t always mean a fresh start…

When Kate Newcott, a shy seventeen year old girl, meets the dashing Guy Lampard at a church fête in the summer of 1934, she instantly falls head over heels in love. A whirlwind romance ensues, and a few months later they are married and setting sail for Guy’s native South Africa.

Their son is born soon after, but married life is far from what Kate had anticipated. She struggles to fit in with the wealthy Lampard family who own Gramerci, a vast estate with one of the most important vineyards in South Africa. Despite trying to make the marriage work, it soon becomes clear to Kate that divorce is the only option. But such a decision will have devastating consequences …

Twenty-seven years later, Kate has built a new life for herself: she is remarried with two young children and lives in London. But memories of the past will soon be awakened when a man is admitted to hospital after being severely beaten and left for dead. The only identification on him is a scrap of paper with Kate’s address, and a coin and a stamp that are both South African. Could this man be the son Kate lost over twenty years ago?

Set against the political backdrop of apartheid and the present day, The Candlewood Tree is a moving tale of secrets, politics and enduring love.

Barbara Whitnell trained as a teacher and taught in a village school in Cornwall before going to Kenya, where she met her husband, and Uganda. She has travelled extensively, her husband’s job taking the family not only to Africa but also Hong Kong and the West Indies. Barbara Whitnell’s other novels include A Clear Blue Sky and Deep Waters, also published by Endeavour Press.

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Posted in General Fiction Endeavours.