The Return of the Soldier recounts the return of the shell shocked Captain Chris Baldry from the trenches of the First World War from the perspective of his cousin Jenny. The novel grapples with the soldier's return from World War I with mental trauma and its effects on the family, and sheds light on their fraught relationships. The successful treatment of the traumatised returned soldier is a fundamental element of The Return of the Soldier. Unlike Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway and Dorothy L. Sayers' The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, this novel lends certain optimism that the soldier can be reintegrated into society. The novel was adapted into a film of the same name in 1982.
"That day its beauty was an affront to me, because, like most Englishwomen of my time, I was wishing for the return of a soldier. Disregarding the national interest and everything else except the keen prehensile gesture of our hearts toward him, I wanted to snatch my Cousin Christopher from the wars and seal him in this green pleasantness his wife and I now looked upon. Of late I had had bad dreams about him. By nights I saw Chris running across the brown rottenness of No-Man's-Land…"