My Dear I Wanted to Tell You

My Dear I Wanted to Tell You

By: Louisa Young

Published: 2011

# of pages: 336

Official description:
The lives of two very different couples are irrevocably intertwined and forever changed in this stunning World War I epic of love and war.

From the day in 1907 that eleven-year-old Riley Purefoy meets Nadine Waveney, daughter of a well-known orchestral conductor, he takes in the difference between their two families: his, working-class; hers, "posh" and artistic. Just a few years later, romance and these differences erupt simultaneously with the war in Europe. In a fit of fury and boyish pride, Riley enlists in the army and finds himself involved in the transformative nightmare of the twentieth century.

While Riley and his commanding officer, Peter Locke, fight for their country and their survival in the trenches of Flanders, Peter's lovely and naive wife, Julia, and his cousin Rose eagerly await his return. But the sullen, distant man who arrives home on leave is not the Peter they knew. Worried that her husband is slipping away, Julia is left alone with her fears when Rose joins the nursing corps to work with a pioneering plastic surgeon treating wounded and disfigured soldiers.

Only eighteen at the outbreak of the war, Nadine and Riley want to make promises to each other—but how can they when their future is out of their hands? Youthful passion is on their side, but then their loyalty is tested by terrible injury, and even more so by the necessarily imperfect rehabilitation that follows.

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 power of enduring love.

My opinion:
I was a little disturbed during the first part of this novel. I didn't like it until almost halfway through. I considered putting it down, but stuck with it. I'm glad I did! If you can read through the bad language (did people really use the "f-word" that much in casual conversation during the WWI era??), it turns into a thought provoking story.

I didn't like the characters at first, but when tragedy strikes they all either responded admirably or sympathetically...or both. I found myself really involved and caring whether or not the characters could make it through the war.

I found myself comparing this book to The Gargoyle, which is one of my favorite books. I suppose I like books that really make me think about the importance of physical appearance on relationships. I also liked the fact that one of the major things that happens to Riley at the beginning of the book and that haunts him throughout his military career ends up not being a big deal in the face of near death and the trauma he goes through. And he realizes that.

Why I gave this book 4/5 stars:
Well written, thought provoking story, but not the greatest characters and the story was a little disjointed (plus, the bad language didn't seem necessary).

Other reviews:
Bookfoolery and Babble

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

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