Jane’s Boekentips

My Dear I Wanted To Tell You by Louisa Young

This is a novel about class, love and war.

Riley Purefoy is a young boy who meets the wealthy and artistic Waveney family and as he grows up, he falls in love with Nadine, their daughter.

World War I has just started and Riley impulsively enlists. This act shifts the book, in many ways, into war. The central characters are not only Riley and Nadine, with their on and off again romance. But also Peter Locke, Riley’s hard drinking commanding officer, and his wife Julia and his cousin Rose. We see how war impacts the women as much as the men.

The battle scenes in France are vivid and brutal. Rose is a nurse in England treating soldiers with severe injuries and she is also on the front line of innovative surgeries. Julia believes she has no identity without her husband by her side and becomes emotionally unstable. And Nadine, who does not understand the severity of Riley’s injuries, and believes that she is no longer loved by Riley, volunteers to be a nurse in France. As usual, in a good drama, it is all about the failure to communicate.

The strength of this book, in my opinion, is the emotional and physical struggles of Riley and other men while in hospital. These men believe they can no longer love or be loved. Young writes very honest and raw scenes and dialogue that gives us such a perfect sense of place and time. She does an impressive job of balancing the emotions of these characters, whether they are on a battlefield, a London street or a country estate.

You can add this book to your growing list of great World War I novels. Here are some great novels based during WWI…these are all very good reads, no matter what time in history they take place.

Recommended  WWI reading:

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

Deafening by Frances Itani

Charity Girl by Michael Lowenthal

Crimson Rooms by Katharine McMahon

Return of Captain John Emmett by Elizabeth Speller

A duty to the dead by Charles Todd (first in a
series)

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (first in a series)

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Comments

  • janeduttonutrecht  On November 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    dear jane

    this is Maaike i love your blog your are the best riter in the hole world
    keep going!!

    XD

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