Under the Almond Trees

A beautifully written, captivating story. Linda Ulleseit eloquently writes a powerful recounting of three generations of strong women in her family who took strides to change the way we look at women today.” ~Susan Stec, author.

“This book is fascinating, not only for the history that is recorded in the story line, but also because of the women whose stories are told in its pages. The book touched my heart and pulled me into the lives of these strong women. I highly recommend this book and congratulate Ms. Ulleseit on writing a story that is beautifully told.”
Christine Perkins, Amazon review

“Overall, this book is about family, love, courage, perseverance, and the ability to make choices. The message of the book is that people should be allowed to follow their heart and to pursue their dreams. It also means that parents and family should be strong role models and to help them keep their dreams alive. The novel is very well-written.” Lauralee, Amazon review

Three unprecedented dreams.


Serve ALMOND CAKE like the characters in the story. Perfect for Book Club meetings!

Speaking of Book Clubs, here are some Discussion Questions for the book.


Under the Almond Trees is the story of three ordinary women in California who lived extraordinary lives. It starts with a falling tree branch that kills Ellen VanValkenburgh’s husband in 1862, forcing her to assume leadership of his paper mill, something women weren’t allowed to do. Women weren’t allowed to vote yet, either. Ellen decided that had to change, and became a suffragette.

In 1901, Emily Williams, Ellen’s daughter-in-law, became an architect – very much against her family’s wishes. No one would hire a woman, but Emily would not be deterred. She and her life partner Lillian set out to build homes themselves.

By the 1930’s women enjoyed more freedom, including the vote. Even so, Ellen’s granddaughter Eva VanValkenburgh chose a traditional life of marriage and children, even closing her photography business at her husband’s insistence. When he later refused to pay for their daughter’s college education, Eva followed the example of her Aunt Emily and reopened her photography business.

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