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the girl under the olive tree

The Girl Under the Olive TreeThe Girl Under the Olive TreeLove in a time of war is hard when you are on the wrong side…

1938 Penelope George lives a charmed existence preparing to be a debutante. But it is an empty life- a gilded cage with its door firmly shut on adventure and independence.

When her sister, Evadne needs help in Athens Penny seizes the opportunity to escape to a future away from the strait jacket of London society. Arriving in the historic city she re invents herself first as a student and then finds her true vocation as a Red Cross nurse, just another stranger among strangers until war breaks out.

Greece is invaded and she finds herself stranded on the Island of Crete tending the wounded and dying, one of the few foreign nurses left on the battlefield.

Forging a dangerous friendship with Yolanda, a young Jewish nurse, Penny attracts the unwanted attention of a German Officer. Little does she know how this encounter will change her life …

Sixty years later Penny returns with reluctance making the pilgrimage she has avoided for so long.

But the journey brings surprises and a reunion with someone thought lost forever but with this discovery comes the truth behind a secret long buried in the past.


From an historical perspective, this ticked all the right boxes for me. Informative, but not dry or preachy; memories touched with colour and emotion, but not nostalgic. My knowledge of events on Crete during WWII is sparse, to say the least, and I enjoyed the chance to learn more wartime in this area. Fleming is gifted at creating a sense of place – she took me with her on Penny’s travels and plonked me right in the middle of the action. Beautifully done.

I loved this book and recommend it highly – I’ll be adding Fleming’s backlistto my TBR pile.

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