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My Dear I Wanted to Tell You [Hardcover]

Louisa Young
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (289 customer reviews)
RRP: £16.99
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Book Description

17 Mar 2011

Set on the Western Front, in London and in Paris, MY DEAR I WANTED TO TELL YOU is a moving and brilliant novel of love, class and sex in wartime, and how war affects those left behind as well as those who fight.

While Riley Purefoy and Peter Locke fight for their country, their survival and their sanity in the trenches of Flanders, Nadine Waveney, Julia Locke and Rose Locke do what they can at home.

Beautiful, obsessive Julia and gentle, eccentric Peter are married: each day Julia goes through rituals to prepare for her beloved husband’s return. Nadine and Riley, only eighteen when the war starts, and with problems of their own already, want above all to make promises - but how can they when the future is not in their hands? And Rose? Well, what did happen to the traditionally brought-up women who lost all hope of marriage, because all the young men were dead?

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition, First Impression edition (17 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007361432
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007361434
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (289 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 91,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Louisa Young was born in London. She was for many years a freelance journalist, working mostly for the motorcycle press, for Marie Claire and for the Guardian. She has travelled widely and published ten books. She lives in London and Italy with her daughter and the composer Robert Lockhart. She is the adult half of Zizou Corder, authors of the best-selling Lionboy trilogy, which is published in 36 languages.

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Product Description


‘Every once in a while comes a novel that generates its own success, simply by being loved. Louisa Young’s My Dear I Wanted to Tell You inspires the kind of devotion among its readers not seen since David Nicholls’ One Day’
The Times

‘Birdsong for the new millennium’

‘Powerful, sometimes shocking, boldly conceived, it fixes on war’s lingering trauma to show how people adapt – or not – and is irradiated by anger and pity’
The Sunday Times

‘[A] tender, elegiac novel. Others have been here before, of course, from Sebastian Faulks to Pat Barker, but Young belongs in their company’
Mail on Sunday

‘Unmissable … in crisp poignant prose Young explores what war really means in terms of mental anguish, while cleverly commenting on class and sex’
Marie Claire

‘Weaving heartbreakingly painful irony, heroic sacrifice, human weakness, vanity, tragedy and the purest of loves, you’ll be left sobbing and grasping onto any hope that all is not lost amid the poppies, the guns and the hospital beds’
Easy Living

‘A memorable and unusual novel which explores new ground in the literature of the Great War’
Linda Grant

‘This novel is a triumph’
Elizabeth Jane Howard

About the Author

Louisa Young was born in London. She was for many years a freelance journalist, working mostly for the motorcycle press, for Marie Claire and for the Guardian. She has travelled widely and published ten books. She lives in London and Italy with her daughter. She is the adult half of Zizou Corder, authors of the best-selling Lionboy trilogy, which is published in 36 languages.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
183 of 188 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cant stop thinking about it ......... 22 May 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I have read quite a few war books and heard a tale end interview of the author of this book on the radio and was inspired to buy it. Am so glad I did. It is a rich story of the horrors of war but told from a very human aspect. It is not a documentary of WWI with dates and places, albeit its a full factual account. It is how as people, ordinary people fared in the war and the horrors they faced and the loves they lost. I absolutely loved it and cannot stop thinking about Major Locke, Rose, Julia, Nadine and ofcourse Riley. The book made me cry - and in the middle - not at the end. It is written with such strong emotion and pathos that I, who have never reviewed a book before decided I must review this one. Please read it, as although it is a story, what you learn from this story is far greater than a factual account of what happened in this awful awful war. The characters are so plausible and their incredible bravery makes me so proud to be British. I hope the writer gets the credit she deserves for this, as it truly is thought-provoking, heart rendering and probably even more corny expressions used in these reviews but which are completely needed here!
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76 of 81 people found the following review helpful
By Em25
Format:Kindle Edition
The front cover of this book, reminiscent of yet another beach chick-flick read, nearly put me off. Fortunately with the encouragement of a close friend, I launched into one of the best books I've read this year. So often novels set during the First World War dwell on the painful minutiae of trench-life, with characters taking second place in the spin of a narrative dominated by bloody gore. In contrast this novel pushes the characters to the fore, with piercing characterisation and poignancy. Best of all it is far from predictable, allowing the reader to turn the pages with an anticipatory appetite for what is to follow.
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91 of 98 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Great War of 1914-1918 has provided rich pickings for novelists over the years; almost a hundred years after the event, the scale of the horrors and human suffering remain such that hardly a month goes by without the appearance of at least one new story based on events of those times. One would think that by now almost everything that there was to say on the matter had already been said, and many times over, at that; in a sense, it probably has. Certainly, Louisa Young's "My Dear I Wanted To Tell You" brings nothing particularly new to the oeuvre; indeed, many of her themes and her characterisations are so predictable as to border on the hackneyed. But what this particular book may lack in originality it more than makes up for in masterful handling of pace, clear-sighted and poignant portrayal of thought-processes and emotions, a wonderful understanding of the human condition, all married to a flawless grasp of dramatic structure and flow.

The book draws you in from the very first page, and holds you in a vice-like grip right to the very last page. There are times when it is hard even to remember to breathe. When she finally lets you go, it is with a sense of exhilaration as well as exhaustion.

The story is well researched and rich in historical detail but this is always kept properly subservient to the main narrative; Louisa Young always keeps her characters well to the foreground, never allowing the historical fact and scale of the events themselves to take over -- a mistake all too often made in books of this kind.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars my dear, i wanted to tell you 5 Mar 2012
By Ali
This novel intertwined the lives of five people during WWI in a way I particularly enjoyed. There was Riley and Nadine, two young adults who grew up together but in differing class positions. They both loved each other but Nadine's disapproving mother and their class divide meant that they were not going to have their happily ever after. Then there was Peter and his wife Julia and cousin Rose. Riley and Peter meet in the frontline and become friends and the three women also, eventually, cross paths.

I think the strength of the start of the book lies in how the author portrays the difficulties of coping with war - both for the men fighting and for those left behind. There was no way for the men to prepare themselves for the horrors that they would see (and I don't suppose the preparation these days is much better despite the fact we all feel a bit desensitised to it thanks to the media) just as the women struggled to cope without their men. What I liked was how the author showed the coping mechanisms for the three women so differently: Rose and, after a while, Nadine were very much the stoic women who coped best by doing things, in this case joining the Voluntary Aid Detachment as nurses. Though they were working in different areas, they eventually became friends through letters relating to an injured character. Julia, however, seemed so lost and directionless throughout the novel, falling into a depression and becoming fixated on perfection: perfection of the home and perfection of her looks. It was sad to read. This is not to say that the author did not write well about Riley and Peter and their experiences, she did, it's just that my particular interest is of women's roles during war.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Relationships during war
The author gives an insight into the strain and disruption placed on those who go to war and those who are left behind. Read more
Published 22 hours ago by Kay Jacqueline Clement
5.0 out of 5 stars The horror of war
A truly moving account of the experiences of war - 2 soldiers, 2 nurses and the wife of one of the soldiers.
Published 1 day ago by Mrs M
5.0 out of 5 stars great book but a bad cover design - don't be put off
Had this sitting in my kindle library for a while and the cover has been putting me off starting it. What a mistake. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Mags H
5.0 out of 5 stars Great War novel.
An excellent novel about events that I had not read how wounded men were treated.An eye opener.Very readable and highly recommended.
Published 18 days ago by Anita Butler
5.0 out of 5 stars so beautifully written
Not always the easiest of reading. But always the depth of writing carries you on, heartbreaking and heart lifting. A truth for those of us who were not there. A dark delight.
Published 20 days ago by Avid Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect?
It was just what I needed. Site was efficient and simple to acquire the product. It arrived safely and promptly, with regular emails detailing it's whereabouts.
Published 23 days ago by Me
5.0 out of 5 stars Human side of war
Haven't finished reading it but like the way I can identify with the characters and the way she weaves historical facts with her fictional story. Read more
Published 1 month ago by P A FREER
5.0 out of 5 stars My Dear I Wanted to Tell You
A great book set during WWI which had me gripped from start to finish. I cared about the characters and it really brings the horror of the frontline in WWI to life. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kentishbookworm
5.0 out of 5 stars My dear I wanted to tell you
Very moving and humbling. One of the best reads this year. Couldn't put it down. Loved it and would highly recommend it
Published 1 month ago by Keiko
5.0 out of 5 stars very good
this book gives you the inside story of a young man who goes to war and his personal fight after being badly wounded in WW1 and his acceptance of his wound and how others would... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Peter Simmons
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