My Dear I Wanted to Tell You
Louisa YoungWhile 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 Julia and gentle, eccentric Peter are married: every day Julia prepares 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 their future is completely out of 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 are dead?
WHSmith Edition now contains Exclusive Bonus material including...
Inspiration behind ‘My Dear...’ Louisa Young explains the creative process behind her novel
There is much tenderness in this beautiful, romantic story, and some wonderfully crafted surprises. When Riley (a physically beautiful young man, which in the latter part of the book becomes significant) is rejected by the Waveneys, he reacts by doing something completely unexpected and out of character. It’s one of the reasons he almost immediately enlists. I won’t give it away here, but it’s a strange, pivotal moment.
Of course Riley’s desire for Nadine – and hers for him - doesn’t end with him going to war: the enforced separation intensifies their relationship. But the horrors he must endure in France (events written in unsparing detail, so be warned) fall so far outside normal human experience that Riley finds it impossible to describe them to Nadine. This stands between them, as it does for other couples in the story. Even intelligent, articulate men like Riley simply lacked the language to explain the things they had seen and done.
You may be puzzled by the book’s title: have patience. Those seven words will come into their own, I promise. And when they do, you will enter the most moving part of Riley and Nadine’s story. As Richard says, this is a novel that buries itself deep in your consciousness: once read, never forgotten.
This is a book that stayed with me long after I had read the last page. Louisa Young writes with an extraordinary blend of delicacy and brutality about the Great War: she manages to immerse us, along with her characters, in the mud and blood of what was, in 1914, a wholly new and catastrophic human experience: trench warfare.
My Dear I Wanted to Tell You is probably the finest novel about World War One since Sebastian Faulke’s ‘Birdsong’, and a captivating romance. At the heart of the story is Riley Purefoy. Born into a working-class family, Riley scales the social ladder by working as an artist’s assistant in a grand London house. The wealthy, cultured family semi-adopt him and he falls in love with beautiful, wilful Nadine, daughter of his mentor, Sir Arthur Waveney. But when Nadine’s parents realise the pair are becoming dangerously close, Riley is ruthlessly frozen out of the family. Almost at once, he volunteers to fight on the Western Front.
Young hauntingly describes the violent and almost schizophrenic world into which young men like Riley were suddenly tossed. After months in northern France, helplessly caught up in the human mincing machine of the trenches, they might find themselves on leave back in London, just a short train and boat journey from hell. A man could be splattered in a mate’s brains on a Friday, and walking in a peaceful London park on a Saturday. If the wind was in the right direction, the rumble of the guns could be heard at the front, while in the park, children fed pigeons.
Reviews & Comments
Richard and Judy's posts
05.07.2013 - Richard on his new novel Some Day I’ll Find You
Read the prologue and find out more about the twists and turns of Richard's debut novel here Read more
07.06.2011 - Tide Clocks and New Reads
Richard gives us a blog on his Have I Got News For You apperance and the joy of tide clocks! Read more
01.04.2011 - Eloise
For those of you wondering just what Judy has been up to the past few months, all can be revealed! Read more
22.03.2011 - New books to come and Dancing on Ice...
Richard's latest on the upcoming list of books being selected for the Summer season and Chloe's final skate on Sunday Read more
... Richard blogs on another busy week. Read more