Eight ash trees were planted in 1921 as a memorial to those men from the village of Charlton Ambrose who were killed in World War One. Now the Ashgrove is under threat from developers, and the village is torn between the need for more housing and the wish to preserve the memorial. Rachel Elliott, reporter on the Belcaster Chronicle, is intrigued by the whole story of the Ashgrove and the men it commemorates and she decides to find out more. Talking to descendants of those commemorated, and searching the archives of her own paper, she begins to discover the real men behind the names. But there is a mystery, the Ashgrove includes a mysterious ninth tree, never officially planted -- in whose memory is this tree and who planted it? In the course of her research, Rachel reads a diary and some letters written by a young girl, Molly Day, in 1916. Molly had gone to France with her mistress, Miss Sarah, to help nurse the wounded. Her diary and letters tell her story, of her life in the hospital and her love for Tom Carter, one of her patients. The story of their love is set against the backdrop of the incessant thunder of artillery and the squalor of the trenches on the Western Front.
As the story of Molly and Tom unfolds, Rachel discovers her own links with the past and with the Ashgrove itself and this makes her determined to save the Ashgrove as a memorial to all nine men.
Diney Costeloe, the daughter of a London publisher and encouraged by her father, has written stories and poems all her life. Trained as a primary school teacher, she has worked in the East End of London, in Somerset and in the private sector. To date she has published ten romantic novels, several short stories in magazines and on radio, and many articles and poems. She has three children who have now all finished university and left home, and she lives in Somerset with her husband and her dog.