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Love Among the Walnuts: or How I Saved My Family from Being Poisoned
A black cover with the book's title and a chicken on it.
The cover of the first edition of Love Among the Walnuts
Author Jean Ferris
Country United States
Language English
Genre Young adult novel
Publisher Harcourt
Publication date
September 1, 1998
Media type Print (paperback)
Pages 228
ISBN 978-0-15-206227-9

Love Among the Walnuts: or How I Saved My Family from Being Poisoned is a farcical, satirical young adult novel with fairy tale elements written by Jean Ferris. The story revolves around a young man, Sandy, whose family is poisoned by his scheming uncles in a bid to gain the family fortune. He moves them to Walnut Manor, a neighboring convalescent home, where, with the help of the nurse Sunnie, he tries to save his family and benefit the manor's misunderstood residents.

Love Among the Walnuts was first published on September 1, 1998, by Harcourt. Reviews of the work have been mostly positive, with focus on the story's style and tone. It was listed as a YALSA Best Book for Young Adults and placed third on the ranked Teens' Top Ten Books list, both in 1999.


Horatio Alger Huntington-Ackerman, a successful businessperson, marries Mousey Huntington-Ackerman (née Malone), a striving actor, and has a child named Sandy. They move with their butler Bentley and his wife Flossie to a new country estate called Eclipse with no neighbors except the residents of Walnut Manor, a convalescent home. One evening when Sandy is a young adult, his uncles Bart and Bernie visit Eclipse. The uncles feed the family a poisoned birthday cake in an attempt to inherit the family fortune, sending everyone but Sandy and Bentley into a coma.

A court ruling mandates that a doctor be present to oversee care for the comatose patients ("the sleepers"). To meet this requirement, Sandy moves them next door to Walnut Manor. There, he meets Dr. Waldemar, the director of the facility, and Sunnie Stone, a nurse hired to care for the sleepers. While Bentley researches a cure of the sleepers' comas, Sandy and Sunnie acquaint themselves with the other patients of Walnut Manor and ultimately fall in love with one another.

With the help of Dr. Waldemar and the manor's residents, Sandy and Sunnie discover that Walnut Manor's patients were placed in the facility's care by their relatives, who, as Walnut Manor's board of directors, have been embezzling from the home. They expose the board of directors' misdeeds and Bentley revives the sleepers from their coma. Sandy, Sunnie, Dr. Waldemar, and the residents of Walnut Manor together thwart Bart and Bernie and send them to prison.

Publication and genre

Love Among the Walnuts was first published on September 1, 1998, by Harcourt. Reviewers recommended various appropriate reading ranges, including ages 12–14 and ages 10 and older.

The novel has been characterized as a farce, satire, and fairy tale. Alethea K. Helbig and Agnes Regan Perkins wrote that story's exploration of familial greed was "in the style of a Victorian melodrama" and Connie Tyrrell Burns, in School Library Journal, described the story as "a British farce without the off-color humor". In their review of young adult literature that had received recognition by major literary publications between 1997 and 2001, Helbig and Perkins described Love Among the Walnuts as one of few recognized titles with humorous elements. They described the central theme of the novel as "the value to personal and group well-being of loving-kindness and caring".

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