Amid the Splintered Trees by Heather McBriarty

I had the pleasure of reading Heather McBriarty’s new novel – Amidst the Splintered Trees. It is an exceptional story set in 1914 and begins prior to the breakout of World War 1.

One of the central characters, Emma, has dreamed of being a doctor, a difficult undertaking for a woman in 1914. Falling in love with Will, he wants her for a wife. She feels the same way, but it will have to wait. She struggles with her studies, no one believes her capable but she intends to prove them wrong, even without Will beside her for support.

War breaks out in Europe and Will becomes a soldier, disappointing his father who had hoped Will would take over his business. All through the strenuous training, Will and Emma exchange letters of love and their future.

Will is sent to France and is soon involved in the deadly fighting. Letters back and forth are sporadic and delayed. Emma worries about Will and hopes for his return. Will experiences the terrors of war and personal tragedy strikes. Can he ever be the man Emma expects of him? Will their reunion be all they’d hoped for?

A note from the synopsis:

From the blood-soaked ground of Ypres, the Somme, and Vimy to the 1917 Halifax explosion, each of them is tested in ways they never could have imagined. Wounded in body and soul, can they find a way back to each other or will their future also be a victim of the Great War?

McBriarty has done her research. She has will take you into the muddy trenches, you will witness clearly the devastation of land and men, wrought from enemies trying to kill each other as if you were there. Her attention to detail is excellent. You will experience the fear, the loneliness of men at war and more importantly, you will share the characters’ hope for a better future. You will be rooting for Emma who has her own obstacles to surmount, the difficulties she faces trying to be a medical practitioner in a world of men.

This is a novel of love, loss, reckoning and courage. I can’t say enough good things about Amidst the Splintered Trees.

Heather McBriarty is an author, lecturer and Medical Radiation Technologist based in Saint John, NB. Her love of reading and books began early in life, as did her love of writing, but it was the discovery of old family correspondence that led to her first non-fiction book, Somewhere in Flanders: Letters from the Front, and a passion for the First World War. She has delivered lectures to the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, NB Genealogy Society, and Western Front Association (Central Ontario Branch), among others, on the war. Heather’s first novel of the “Great War”, Amid the Splintered Trees, will be launched in November.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Crow Mountain Publishing (November 3, 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 334 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1999265033
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1999265038

Growing up in South Branch, Allan Hudson was encouraged to read from an early age by his mother who was a schoolteacher. He lives in Dieppe, NB, with his wife Gloria. He has enjoyed a lifetime of adventure, travel and uses his many experiences as ideas for his writing. He is an author of action/adventure novels, historical fiction and a short story collection. His short stories – The Ship Breakers & In the Abyss – received Honourable Mention in the New Brunswick Writer’s Federation competition. He has stories published on, The Golden Ratio and his blog - South Branch Scribbler.