The Angel Tree by Lucinda Riley

EXCERPT: Dressed in a pair of wellingtons that were far too big for her and an old Barbour, Greta strode out across the virgin snow, breathing in the wonderful clean, crisp air. She paused, wondering which way to go, hoping some inner instinct would guide her, and decided to take a stroll through the woods. As she walked, she looked upwards at the deep blue sky above and a sudden joy filled her veins at the sheer beauty of the scene. It was such an unusual and rare feeling that she almost skipped as she zigzagged her way through the trees.

Arriving in a clearing, she saw a majestic fir tree standing in the centre of it, the rich green of its bushy, snow-laden branches a contrast to the tall, bare beech trees that made up the rest of the wood. Walking towards it, she noticed there was a gravestone beneath it, the inscription covered by snow. Surmising that it was almost certainly the grave of a family pet – perhaps one she had known – Greta reached down and scraped away the hard, icy flakes with her gloved hand.

Slowly the inscription began to appear.

Beloved son of Owen &Greta
Brother of Francesca
BORN 2nd JUNE 1946
DIED 6th JUNE 1949
May God guide his little angel up to heaven

ABOUT ‘THE ANGEL TREE’: Thirty years have passed since Greta left Marchmont Hall, a grand and beautiful house nestled in the hills of rural Monmouthshire. But when she returns to the Hall for Christmas, at the invitation of her old friend David Marchmont, she has no recollection of her past association with it – the result of a tragic accident that has blanked out more than two decades of her life. Then, during a walk through the wintry landscape, she stumbles across a grave in the woods, and the weathered inscription on the headstone tells her that a little boy is buried here . . .

The poignant discovery strikes a chord in Greta’s mind and soon ignites a quest to rediscover her lost memories. With David’s help, she begins to piece together the fragments of not only her own story, but that of her daughter, Cheska, who was the tragic victim of circumstances beyond her control. And, most definitely, not the angel she appeared to be . . .

MY THOUGHTS: The Angel Tree is a multigenerational family saga, intricately plotted and compelling. Lucinda Riley excels at this type of story, interweaving the historical and cultural mores of the times in which the story is set with a richly emotional family drama.

The Angel Tree encompasses both love and tragedy. At the heart of the story is Marchmont, the family home lived in by several generations, and which ties all the characters and story threads together.

The story is told over several different timelines, definitely nonlinear, but it works well. The main narrators are David Marchmont, his mother Laura-Jane known as LJ, Greta who married David’s uncle Owen Marchmont, and Greta’s daughter Francesca, known as Cheska. Not only does The Angel Tree span several different timelines, but also different continents.

Not all the characters are likeable, and rifts appear between family members leading to estrangements and resentments. There is a story of unrequited love running through the novel, of missed chances, misunderstandings and bad timing. Also one of envy and greed and mental illness.

I found The Angel Tree to be a satisfying read and I have gone on to immediately read another of this author’s books.

The audiobook of The Angel Tree is ably narrated by Juliet Stevenson.


#TheAngelTree #WaitomoDistrictLibrary

I: @lucindarileybooks @panmacmillan

T: @lucindariley @panmacmillan

THE AUTHOR: Lucinda Riley is an Irish author of popular historical fiction and a former actress. She spent the first few years of her life in the village of Drumbeg near Belfast before moving to England. At age 14 she moved to London to a specialist drama and ballet school. She wrote her first book aged twenty four. Lucinda died in June 2021.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Waitomo District Library for the loan of the audiobook of The Angel Tree by Lucinda Riley for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page or the about page on

This review is also published on Twitter, Instagram and


Author: sandysbookaday

I love good quality chocolate. I love the ocean and love to be in, on or beside it. I read any and every where. I am a proud mum and Nana. I like wine, gin, Southern Comfort, a cold Heineken on a hot day. I am very versatile like that. I cross stitch, do jigsaws, garden, and work on a farm. I am an occasional scribbler. I have far too many books I want to read to ever find the time to die. I am an active member of Goodreads as Sandy *the world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* and review on Amazon under the name Sandyj21. My Goodreads reviews are automatically linked to my Facebook page. Groups I belong to and participate in on Goodreads include: The Mystery, Crime and Thriller Group; Mysteries and Crime Thrillers; Psychological Thrillers; Reading for Pleasure; Crime Detective Mystery Thrillers; English Mysteries; Dead Good Crime; Kindle English Mystery, All About Books and NZ Readers. April 2016 I made the Top 1% of Goodreads reviewers (As follows) Hello Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*, In our community of readers, you stand out in a notable way: You're one of the top 1% of reviewers on Goodreads! With every rave and every pan, with every excited GIF and every critical assessment, you've helped the Goodreads community get closer to a very important milestone – the 50 Million Reviews mark!

4 thoughts on “The Angel Tree by Lucinda Riley”

  1. I haven’t read anything by Lucinda Riley, but it sounds like perhaps I should. Wonderful review, Sandy. It says something when you want to read more by the author. πŸ˜ŠπŸ’žπŸ“š

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: