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My Dear I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young at Abbey's Bookshop,

My Dear I Wanted to Tell You

Louisa Young


Harper Collins

Fiction & Literature;
Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)


336 pages

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Set on the Western Front, in London and in Paris, MY DEAR I WANTED TO TELL YOU is a moving and brilliant novel of love, class and sex in wartime, and how war affects those left behind as well as those who fight. 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?

By:   Louisa Young
Imprint:   Harper Collins
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm, 
ISBN:   9780007415755
ISBN 10:   0007415753
Series:   Peter Locke
Pages:   336
Publication Date:   April 2011
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Author Website:

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.

'Birdsong for the new millennium' Tatler '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

Abbey's Bookseller Review: There are many excellent novels on WWI, and this one should join them! Riley Purefoy is working class, bright and eager to improve himself. Coming to the notice of a famous artist, he forms a friendship with Nadine Waveney, whose parents are rich, artistic bohemians. He is sure of his place in her world, until her mother's prejudices force him to the impetuous act of signing up to fight in the war that should be finished by Christmas. In the trenches of France, he forms relationships, most notably with his commanding officer, Peter Locke. Peter's beautiful wife Julia and his sister Rose, a nurse with no hopes of marriage, wait for him to return. Nadine, defying parents and social expectations, volunteers to nurse in France, and waits for Riley. I can't say much more without spoiling the story but characterisation is pitch-perfect, descriptions of class and prejudices ring true, and the appalling nature of the new way of warfare, and the dehumanising of the soldiers is clearly caught. As well, the effects of the people back home are well portrayed, and the awfulness of not understanding what their loved ones are going through - all this is captured in a clean and sparse narrative style, vividly distinctive and flowing easily. One of the very best books I've read about the war, I can't recommend it highly enough! - Lindy

  • Shortlisted for Costa Novel Award 2011.
  • Winner of Galaxy National Book Awards: Audiobook of the Year 2011.
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