I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My Dear I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young
Published by Harper Collins on May 31st 2011
Genres: Fiction, General
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The lives of two very different couples—an officer and his aristocratic wife, and a young soldier and his childhood sweetheart—are irrevocably intertwined and forever changed in this stunning World War I epic of love and war.
At eighteen years old, working-class Riley Purefoy and “posh” Nadine Waveney have promised each other the future, but when war erupts across Europe, everything they hold to be true is thrown into question. Dispatched to the trenches, Riley forges a bond of friendship with his charismatic commanding officer, Peter Locke, as they fight for their survival. Yet it is Locke’s wife, Julia, who must cope with her husband’s transformation into a distant shadow of the man she once knew. Meanwhile, Nadine and Riley’s bonds are tested as well by a terrible injury and the imperfect rehabilitation that follows it, as both couples struggle to weather the storm of war that rages about them.
Moving among Ypres, London, and Paris, this emotionally rich and evocative novel is both a powerful exploration of the lasting effects of war on those who fight—and those who don’t—and a poignant testament to the enduring power of love.
My Dear I wanted To Tell You: A Novel by Louisa Young is set in England during the World War One era. It opens with a young working class boy, Riley Purefoy, main character, befriending an upper class artist family, the Waveneys. Out of generosity, the Waveney family provide Riley with upper class schooling as they recognize his potential. However, that generosity does not extend to Nadine, the daughter whom Riley falls for.
After posing for a Waveney family friend, Riley engages in sexual activity with a male, thus setting off the chain of events upon which My Dear I Wanted To Tell You is based, as Riley feels compelled to join the army to prove his masculinity.
The story then intertwines with that of Riley’s commanding officer Peter Locke who is a mess due to the horrors of the Great War and his wife Julia, who isn’t good for much except being arm candy.
The writing style is literary with a stream of consciousness flavor. I imagine if you enjoy the writing style of Virginia Woolf, you might enjoy Young’s writing. I felt this book was an engaging and quick read.
I found that Nadine was a much more appealing character than the rest. She represented strength and fortitude, which were characteristics I found lacking especially in Peter and Julia. There is an interesting contrast between the two relationships tested by war. I think this contrast marks the backbone of the book.
Peter and Julia are from similar classes, yet their relationship lacks the spark and oompf of Nadine and Riley’s relationship. Nadine and Riley, however, are like magnets repelling and attracting each other at the same time.
If you are in the mood to read a literary novel about World War I with just a flavor of romance, I highly recommend Louisa Young’s My Dear, I Wanted To Tell You.
Disclosure: Received for review via Amazon Vine.