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My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You [Paperback]

Louisa Young
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (329 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

5 Jan 2012

A letter, two lovers, a terrible lie. In war, truth is only the first casualty. ‘Inspires the kind of devotion among its readers not seen since David Nicholls’ One Day’ The Times

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?

Moving between Ypres, London and Paris, My Dear I Wanted to Tell You is a deeply affecting, moving and brilliant novel of love and war, and how they affect those left behind as well as those who fight.

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My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You + The Heroes' Welcome + The Lie
Price For All Three: 16.14

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  • The Heroes' Welcome 9.09
  • The Lie 3.19

Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: The Borough Press (5 Jan 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007361440
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007361441
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (329 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,274 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.’
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

‘Young has a historian’s eye for the private details of war, and a warmth to her prose that makes her small cast emotionally engaging … Through Riley, however, the novel achieves an appeal to compassion and courage that deserves to reach a wide audience … Hindsight tells us peace will not be final, but Young conveys, beautifully, the universal wish that it might be’

‘Beautifully realised’
Daily Express

‘Masterfully conveyed’
Woman & Home

‘Full of drama, betrayal and addictive real-life detail’

‘This is a moving and powerful novel, one you’re not likely to forget’

‘A book that should be read by everyone’
New Books

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
191 of 196 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stay with it for the second half 3 Jan 2012
By Julia Flyte TOP 50 REVIEWER
This is the story about two soldiers during World War 1 and the women left behind in England who love them. There are five main characters. Riley Purefoy, from a working class background, loves upper class Nadine Waverney despite her mother's disapproval. He volunteers as a soldier at the start of World War 1 - given the choice between volunteering for a year or for the duration of the war, he chooses the latter, because he doesn't want to spend an entire year in the army. His commanding officer will be Peter Locke, who has left his wife Julia and cousin Rose behind in England. While Julia pines for her husband, Rose signs up as a nurse in a hospital specialising in facial reconstructions.

The first half of the book is about the experiences that the five have adapting to the realities of war and the shifts it brings about in their relationships. In the second half, Riley suffers a serious injury which will affect all of the characters in different ways.

I have mixed feelings about this book. It did a very good job of conveying the various facets of war, the experience for those in the trenches, in the hospitals and stranded at home. There were parts that were beautifully written but at other times the choppiness of the narrative became hard to take. I didn't really feel caught up in it until the second half, when it settles down and became (for me) far more involving and moving. The ending is somewhat contrived, but also genuinely satisfying.

The characters could have been better developed. Riley and Nadine's relationship is the central thread, but too often we were told about how they felt for one another rather than feeling it. Rose is a wonderful character, but she is frequently sidelined.
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82 of 87 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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97 of 105 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Have read several books set around WW1 but this has been the best....
Very well written with interesting characters. Have read several books set around WW1 but this has been the best. Will definitely read the sequel.
Published 6 days ago by L Forster
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid this
I am baffled that so many reviewers have given this 4 or 5 stars. Full of cliches and flat and unchanging characterisation. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Xavi #6
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
the best description of WW1 events ever.
Published 12 days ago by jenny makepeace
5.0 out of 5 stars First class read
Memorable book; well written
Published 14 days ago by P. Fellowes
3.0 out of 5 stars good
An interesting book and
Quite readable. Philippa recommended. Did manage to portray the horror of the First World War and how everyone was affected. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Mrs JP Morgan
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourites
Loved it!
Published 19 days ago by Jan8
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Excellent, an absorbing story with depth and insight.
Published 20 days ago by Margaret Fowkes
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it very much
Very moving. Enjoyed it very much.
Published 22 days ago by R. A. Mckeown
5.0 out of 5 stars WW1 and romance - both done well.
Loved this book! Great fan of Sebastian Faulk's Birdsong, and this is is in the same ilk. I didnt actually read the back cover... so subject matter was a surprise. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Laura Snora
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
just a boring romance
Published 26 days ago by Mrs. Ew Jones
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