My Dear I Wanted to Tell You: A Novel

My Dear I Wanted to Tell You: A Novel

by Louisa Young
4.2 8

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My Dear I Wanted to Tell You 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another book joins hundred of others which attempt to adequately depict the horrors of WW1. Good writing makes this book worth reading. Her description of the fierce, earth-shaking bombardments which preceded An offense on the Western Front and went for hours is the best I have ever read. The explosions could be heard as far away as England. Even the waters in the Enlish Channel were disturbed! You can just feel the terror and agony that must have been in the hearts and minds of the men in the trenches. She doesn't spend much time at the Front but you come away with an acute awareness of the inhumanity and insanity of it all. She seems to want to convey what it was like living at that time, either as a participant or a private citizen. The effect the war had on the survivors of the soldiers who didn't return is one story, but the caualties both (physical and mental) who did return is yet another. When she describes what it was like being a soldier at the Front, you feel like you were there. But it was no piece of cake as a civilian either. She is very kind to the doctors and nurses in the English hospitals. Some of the surgery performed produced almost miraculous results. The harshness of the lives of the nurses at the Front was unbelievable. No woman could live like that very long and come home the same person who left. Of course, there is the usual girl friend left behind while her hero is at the Front. She shows how the English Class system gets involved in all this. I'd rate this book A solid 4.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Upper class Peter and Julia Locke have an ideal marriage. However, WWI has Peter becoming a commanding officer fighting on the continent. Working class Riley Purefoy is taken in by the affluent upper middle class Waverly family. He dreams of marriage to their daughter Nadine, but WWI has him on the continent in Locke's unit. Combat at the front changes both of them. On the home front, Julia struggles without a man around telling her what to do. Her cousin Rose thrives with her volunteer work at the VA hospital. Nadine finds the war freeing her of the yoke of class imprisonment as she becomes a nurse. When the men come home, pre war relationships cannot be reconstructed. This engaging historical tale focuses on the impact of WWI on class status and boundaries in Great Britain. The four lead characters are fully developed so that the reader understands the transition from before to during and after the war. Although the deep look at times leads to a slow pace, readers will appreciate Louisa Young's belief that one outcome of the war to end all wars is the breaking down of progenitor class barriers. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought the author brought me into these people hardships and struggles and loves through the war in an engaging, yet difficult, way. It was a hard time, and the wounds were deep and visual. It was well done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very engaging book. Excellent character development within the historical lens of WWI.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
nyauthoress More than 1 year ago
How do ordinary people with normal faults and strengths cope when assaulted by the strains of war? My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You is an emotionally charged book about people affected by World War I. The novel reveals the horrors of war and the impact on two sets of lovers separated in the conflict. Riley and Nadine, a young couple in love, have an enduring bond even though they are separated by class. Riley enters war to prove he is a man and becomes the most complex, enduring character. Peter, Riley's commanding officer, and his wife, Julia, do a jagged dance between love, lust and estrangement. Because Julia's currency is her beauty and she is desperate for her husband's attention, she spends most of the novel preoccupied with her appearance. Rose, Peter's cousin, is a redemptive force, wanting the best for Peter and Julia. She shows tender compassion to Riley and the other soldiers she nurses. Her relationship with Nadine is particularly touching. Author Louisa Young grew up in London in the house in which Peter Pan was written. She authored the New York Times bestselling Lionboy trilogy for children. My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You marks her debut into adult novels. The book's title is from a standardized field letter that wounded soldiers sent home to allay the fears of loved ones after receiving a telegram informing them of a battle injury. The most interesting aspect of My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You is the exploration into the beginnings of plastic surgery. At home, Julia seeks "featural surgery" to tuck a lagging chin. In the military hospitals, doctors reconstruct the faces of soldiers disfigured by gunshots. Cartilage and bone drawn from ribs are used to rebuild jaws and noses that are blown away. The juxtaposition of corrective plastic surgery and the wounded spirits of the battle-scarred soldiers establish irony. The early twentieth century doctors that experimented with facial reconstruction are to be commended, but how many soldiers returned home with their spirits permanently damaged by what today is known as PTSD? Riley says it well. "If your legs are shot to pieces no one expects you to keep going, but if your nerve, the machinery of your self-control, is shot to pieces, they do. It's not your will, your desire, or willingness to fight on - it's a separate part of you, but it's one they don't understand yet." The author's writing, although full of detail, is hard to follow. Ever-present inner thoughts in italics are distracting and interrupt the prose. The constantly changing points of view combined with pronouns used instead of the character's name are confusing. Was the author's intention to reflect the ravages of war by writing a book that seems scattered? In any event, the book is a realistic portrayal of the horrors of war and lives ravaged by its impact. Everyday life ceases to exist. To endure the upheaval the characters adopt bizarre coping mechanisms. Harper Collins provided the advance review copy. The opinions expressed are unbiased and wholly those of the reviewer. Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*Lays in bed.*