cheryl's Reviews > My Dear I Wanted to Tell You

My Dear I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young
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's review
Jun 15, 11

v\I was a bit uncertain when I chose to review this book for the folks at Harper. I am a bit mixed on war novels since I tend not to like battlefield settings but I do appreciate the complex impact war has on individuals on the front and at home. My Dear I Wanted to Tell You explores how World War One impacts two different couples (one married, one just blossoming) and a commitedly single woman. It begins with the budding young love of one couple that is interrupted by class differences and the man's abrupt decision to enlist. The novel's focus shifts throughout to different characters and explores how the war impacts a young man, a more established man, a young woman struggling to find her place amid social rules, a married woman whose beauty has always been seen as her main asset, and a woman who has grown to accept her marriage-free state. Some scenes are on the battlefield, others in hospitals, and other on the homefront.

This book took a bit to grow on me. I didn't invest in the characters immediately and was turned off by the narratives focused on the front. I am glad I kept going though, because I did grow to appreciate the characters. Young fleshes them out and explores the way the war (and society in general) impacts a varied group of individuals. Many of the characters have flaws but I came to appreciate them for their own knowledge of their imperfection. It did take time to get there, but I did become involved with their journeys (both individual and collective). It isn't a book I expect to revist and I'm again ending up on my 3.5 star review (of 5)...a solid and positive score from me and one that would have been rounded down in the early going but that I found myself coming around on in time and would conclude with a rounded up 4 stars.

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