- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: The Borough Press (5 Jan. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007361440
- ISBN-13: 978-0007361441
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.7 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 446 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 112,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You Paperback – 5 Jan 2012
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‘Every once in a while comes a novel that generates its own success, simply by being loved.’
‘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’
‘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’
‘A memorable and unusual novel which explores new ground in the literature of the Great War’
‘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’
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’
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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As to the rest? Well the romantic stuff ...... 'whoosh'.... (went right over my head). There were some slightly strange 'bad sex' scenes......
The WW1 stuff was fairly accurate, not an expert but read a lot of WW1 stuff and spent a lot of time touring the battlefields - not on bus tours....Seems to fit-in with the memories my great-grandad passed on to me (have a lot of his letters, journals etc).
Ending a bit disappointing IMHO. Apparently sequels/prequels are planned/around.
Peter Locke meanwhile, verging on a nervous breakdown, arrives home in Sidcup to beautiful, but shallow and seemingly self-absorbed wife, Julia, whose only aim in life appears to be to keep herself lovely for her husband, and who is bitterly disappointed when Peter cannot bring himself to put the war behind him and enjoy his leave with her. (Shades of Rebecca West's Return of the Soldier (Modern Library)). Also in Sidcup is Peter's cousin, Rose, an independent and very resourceful young woman working as a nurse at the Queen's Hospital under the pioneering plastic surgeon, Major Gillies (a real-life character). And it is to Queen's Hospital that Riley Purefoy arrives after half of his face is blown off when he returns to the front. Under Rose's care and the skilled hands of Major Gillies, who reconstructs the lower half of his horrifically injured face, Riley's outward injuries slowly begin to heal, but he is convinced that his relationship with Nadine must end to avoid her wasting her life on him out of pity. And so he writes her a letter ...
This is a very readable story and one which I started and finished practically in one sitting and, although I will say that I found parts of this novel a little too romantically sentimental for me, Louisa Young's historian qualifications and excellent research, evident in her vivid descriptions of the terrible conditions experienced by soldiers at the front, and her fascinating information on the pioneering work on facial reconstruction carried out by Gillies and his team, lifted this novel to something with more depth and readability than the average romantic saga. Louisa Young was also careful to show the reader how the war continued to affect her characters after their traumatic experiences and this aspect of the story, I believe, is continued in the author's sequel to this novel: The Heroes' Welcome which is due to be released very soon.
My own father was in WW 1 and WW 11 and he never ever really spoke about it at all. So this book was a real revelation to me and I hope many others.
Congratulations go to Louisa Young.
This book makes compelling reading on its own. I have not read the sequel, as I have never found follow-on attempts to be as worthy as the original.
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I can't wait to start the next one The Heroes Welcome.