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My Dear I Wanted to Tell You (My Dear I Wanted to Tell You #1)
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My Dear I Wanted to Tell You

(My Dear I Wanted to Tell You #1)

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3.83  ·  Rating details ·  5,251 ratings  ·  680 reviews
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
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Hardcover, 327 pages
Published May 31st 2011 by Harper (first published 2011)
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3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,251 ratings  ·  680 reviews


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Lance Greenfield
Feb 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Until I was almost half way through this book, I was thinking There's not much point in reading this, as the title says it all. I could see it coming. One of the main characters would meet a violent death with so many things left unsaid. I was wrong!

This book is definitely worth reading.

It is multi-threaded, which I always love. The love stories are varied and bring out the contrasts in the way different people deal with situations and with the people closest to themselves.

There is a great dea
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Biblibio
Dec 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
A novel that didn't quite seem to know what it wanted to be, My Dear I Wanted to Tell You is a surprisingly rounded WWI story that goes beyond the typical narrative. Louisa Young writes best when describing the harsh realities of war and makes no concessions regarding uncomfortable yet true situations. And yet My Dear I Wanted to Tell You also attempts to be a romance book, and there precisely it comes to a screeching halt.

The characters in My Dear I Wanted to Tell You enter the story strangely
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Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Excuse me, I need to wipe away tears so I can type. And some drool, because the writing in this book had me open-mouthed with awe/horror/amazement/delight. And then some.

This book has it all: pathos, romance, angst -- Kierkegaard-ian angst! -- anger, joy, beauty, and an articulation of war that is cinematic and breathtaking and disturbing.

Set in the years before World War I, and during, the story follows five people -- a couple in love, forbidden due to class differences; a married couple deepl
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Sam Woodfield
I pre-release reviewed this novel for a UK bookseller.

Although I can't quite pin-point why, there was something about this book which really sucked me into the world of those within it. The writting is nothing outstanding, the story doesn't have any dramatic climaxes or surprising plot twists, but Young writes in such a way that is still gripping and compelling from start to finish.

Like many novels, this is based during World War 1, but unlike other books of it's type, the focus is on the 'norma
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Alison Wassell
Feb 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The test of a great book, for me, is whether or not I’m still thinking about it days later. I have a feeling this engrossing novel will be in my thoughts for some time to come.
I’m always drawn to books set during the First World War. My paternal grandfather fought in the trenches and, although he lived to be 97, remained largely silent about his experiences. This is one of the themes of My Dear I Wanted To Tell You; the unspeakable horror of war, and the difficulties encountered by those caught
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Denise
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is constructed around two little-known details of WW1 history. The first is the postcard that the book gives its name to. To save time and unnecessary distress to loved ones back home, the army designed a standard postcard for injured men to complete. This allowed bad news to travel swiftly back to England without having to go through the censors, but also restricted the men to using an emotionless tick box system.

The postcard started with the words ‘My Dear …….. I wanted to tell you,
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Gumble's Yard
Jan 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
The explicit theme of the book is the effect that the First World War had on people’s lives – not just those who fought but those left behind – all of the characters lives are turned upside down, all have faced horrors and all have to face a world where “it” is “over” and they have to rebuild their lives knowing they are forever affected and having to choose (as a poetic piece at the end of the story sets out) whether to allow the horror to overwhelm them/continue to try to shut it out or whethe ...more
Nette
Aug 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of the most powerful books I've read about WWI: remember the battlefield scenes in "Saving Private Ryan"? This book is full of equally graphic and brilliant scenes. There's also a sweet and realistic love story and a fascinating subplot about reconstructive facial surgery. A couple of reviewers here were QUITE put off by a one-paragraph description of gay sex and the occasional use of the "f word." Ooh, shame on the author for making soldiers say naughty words when mud and rats and corpses a ...more
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is the story about two soldiers during World War 1 and the women left behind in England who love them. There are five main characters. Riley Purefoy, from a working class background, loves upper class Nadine Waverney despite her mother's disapproval. He volunteers as a soldier at the start of World War 1 - given the choice between volunteering for a year or for the duration of the war, he chooses the latter, because he doesn't want to spend an entire year in the army. His commanding officer ...more
Alex Nye
May 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Have just finished reading My Dear I Wanted to Tell You and really enjoyed it. Hadn't realised that Louisa Young is also the author of LION BOY, so I've just started to read that too.

The novel is set during the First World War, but tells the story in a very original way, much more so than most historical fiction. We really get inside the heads of the characters. What really grabbed me at the beginning of the book was the spiky character of the boy Riley, when he falls in the Round Pound in Kensi
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Jess Schira
Feb 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance-adult
I am going to begin by saying that Louisa Young has a very lovely, lyrical writing style. It was her writing, more than the actual story that kept me turning the pages. As far as the novel itself goes, I am far less impressed.

To me, this book simply had to much going on. I feel that the author felt that she had a whole bunch of things she wanted to write about that included art, beauty, WWI, and young love, and crammed them all together in one story. She did a wonderful job of cramming, and the
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Lydia Laceby
Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Originally Reviewed at Novel Escapes

I found My Dear I Wanted to Tell You equal parts fascinating and horrifying. Although heavy with romance and war, this novel portrayed none of the romance of war. It took me a while to sink into the plot and the characters, but once I did they appeared in my thoughts when I put the novel down and although I enjoyed this novel and thought about it when I wasn’t reading it, I felt it could have been much more captivating.

I didn’t anticipate this war story to be
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Meg - A Bookish Affair
Jul 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
3.5. This book takes place during World War I, a time period that I have not read very much historical fiction about. I found myself wondering why World War II seems to be such a more popular time period as far as historical fiction goes. Does anyone have any idea why this is?

This book focuses on the stories of two couples and those surrounding them. You never really get to find out about what attracts both couples to each other, which I think would have been nice to know especially considering
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Elaine
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
What, another World War 1 book? Is there something about the fact that no one is left alive to tell -- or criticize the veracity of -- the tale that has led to a recent flourishing (to the already robust genre) of trench literature, usually somehow connected to a story of the folks at home, maybe poets, maybe artsy? Anyway, yes, another one, and another good one. A real energy and lyricism to Young's writing, the "men" come to life, especially her hero, Riley, caught between two worlds, but the ...more
Mary Lou
Oct 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
My Dear I Wanted to Tell You by Louise Young poignantly portrays the horror of war, insightfully revealing the effects on men and women, soldiers and medical teams, those at the front and those at home. She uses three young women and two young men to carry much of the story and bases some of what she writes on real people and actual medical practices and advancements, particular in plastic surgery. When the war is over, all are wounded and needy. The ability to bear the unbearable gives them the ...more
✝✝ Ⓓaisy ❣ ✝✝

THIS IS ONE OF MY FAV WAR LOVE STORY BOOK!

 photo tumblr_m8roo8otsH1qhk6l1havealotoffeelings_zps9c38c785.gif

I wrecked my heart, cried so much, laughed, fell in love!

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I was deeply moved by the relationship between Riley Purefoy and Nadine....So sweet!!!!! But falling in love during in a war zone was never easy. Dayum, and their social class mattered so much too! Such a pain they put these young lovers through!

Riley and Nadine fell in love, Riley went to war, she become a nurse..... bam a telegram arrives, their life totally changes... terrible lie that made b
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Susannah Hume
My dear I wanted to tell you is a 2011 novel by Lousia Young about young up-and-coming officer Riley Purefoy, the girl he loves, his CO, the girl he loves, and his cousin, whom nobody loves.

Having been spoiled by Good-bye To All That and All Quiet on the Western Front so far, I was a bit suspicious of this book when I first started reading it. I also picked it up for a third of the cover price at a remaindered books stand, which for a 2011 novel didn’t strike me as a good sign. However, this boo
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Tara Chevrestt
I didn't like this much mainly because I really didn't like a single character except Rose and she's really not a "main player."

The main players are:

Riley: He has a bit of a same sex encounter and decides to run off to war to prove he's a real man, not a "nancy." I was terribly put off by this bit.. wasn't expecting it. His parts also contain the "f" word a lot. This did not bother me, but I know it will bother other readers. So make a note of that if you are offended by profanity.

Riley loves, N
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Christy
May 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
When I first started reading this book I thought I had made a poor choice. But once we got to the turning point there was no going back. I couldn't put it down. MY DEAR I WANTED TO TELL YOU is one of the most engaging books I have read in quite some time.

The characters were interesting, sympathetic and flawed. The storyline hopped between London and France during WWI, a period in history that I have never taken much time to learn about. There is something in this book for just about everyone an
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Penny
Jan 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, r-j
This is an account of 5 people during world war 1. We meet Riley and Nadine prior to the war. He is working class and becomes a type of protegee for Nadine's family - until she has 'inappropriate' feelings for him. Nadine is a wealthy girl whose family disapprove. Meanwhile we meet Peter and Julia Locke who are upper class and Peter ends up in the trenches as Riley's commanding officer. Julia meanwhile descends into total breakdown as her life becomes meaningless and banal. Peter's cousin, Rose, ...more
Serena
Jul 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Dear I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young is a WWI novel and love story that illustrates the toll that war takes on couples from mere recruits to the officers that give them orders. Young’s novel examines social and monetary class distinctions, even providing slight nuances to the “poshies” in how they treat the working class. Truly, this is a love story — the story of Riley Purefoy and Nadine Waveney, childhood sweethearts separated by more than the war.

The narration sets it up so that reade
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Jo Ann
Sep 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
I have read very little about The Great War, so I cannot make good comparisons in literature about this era. However, this was an eye-opener to me, about the war itself, societal changes during the war, ethics and mores, and an introduction to Major Harold Gillies, who made outstanding progress in maxillo-facial and plastic surgery during World War I, and later, mostly at Queen's Hospital in Sidcup, England.
The story is actually about Riley and Nadine, who meet while they're pre-teens and later
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Amy
May 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book after winning a giveaway here on Goodreads. The book got off to a slow start. It took me around 5 days just to get to the middle of it, whereas I'm usually finishing a book by that time. I found the chapters depiciting Riley's time on the battlefield to be particularly difficult to get through. Granted, this is probably my own weakness, but when too many names are thrown at me at once, I tend to block them all out. Therefore, some of the (very) minor characters were no more ...more
Jo
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Louisa Young doesn't spare us the horrific details of life on the Western Front. How can the handsome, talented artist Riley Purefoy go back to the life he had before war broke out, especially now he is so badly injured? How can he expect the beautiful and equally talented, Nadine to love him now? The novel not only focuses on what life was like for the soldiers fighting in France, but what it was like for the women left behind. I didn't want the book to end. The characters were so life-like, so ...more
Anne Fortier
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A truly excellent, shocking, and very rewarding read.
Bodosika Bodosika
Jun 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Just okay
ALPHAreader
May 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The story begins in 1907, with a snowball to the head and an icy dip in a Kensington Gardens lake. Thus begins the friendship between working-class boy, Riley Purefoy, and the Waveney family of kind intellectual bohemians who take him in as one of their own.

Riley’s friendship with Nadine Waveney grows and prospers over the years, until they both come to a realization of love. But when Nadine’s mother objects to the unsuitable courtship Riley turns his mind to the war effort and naively signs up
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Nancy
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
The setting of this book is two locations in England and then mostly the worst battles of WWI. The story begins with Nadine and her brother meeting the young Riley, the son of a working class couple contrasting with Nadine's higher class. Riley is adaptable and is taken in by a high class, artist, Sir Alfred, which provides the young couple access to one another throughout their late childhood. Romance begins to bloom when Riley makes a rash decision and enlists in the European conflict, regrett ...more
Joanka
Jul 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: women, europe, fiction, romance, uk
2.5 stars

Reading My Dear I Wanted to Tell You I had this impression that in the end the reader got a different book than the author, Louisa Young, really wanted it to be. I haven’t read any interviews with her, it’s just what came to my mind when I read it. It’s a story about five people with World War I in the background. Well, ‘background’ is a really unsuccessful word here as it came crashing into the lives of the characters. There is Riley, who is a boy from a poor working-class family, for
...more
Beth (bibliobeth)
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
I’ve actually read this book once before pre-blog days, as it was part of the Richard and Judy Spring Book Club list in 2012, and if there’s ever a case for re-reading a book I state it here absolutely and positively. Not that I didn’t enjoy reading it first time around, but I think it got lost somewhere among the awesome books that were on the list that season: Me Before You – Jojo Moyes, The Help – Kathryn Stockett, Before I Go To Sleep – S.J. Watson, The Story of Beautiful Girl – Rachel Simon ...more
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Louisa Young was a journalist for some years. Her first book was A Great Task of Happiness (1995), the life of Kathleen Bruce, her grandmother, the sculptor and wife of Scott of the Antarctic. She followed that with her Egyptian trilogy of novels: Baby Love (which was listed for the Orange Prize), Desiring Cairo and Tree of Pearls. They were followed by The Book of the Heart, a cultural histo ...more

Other books in the series

My Dear I Wanted to Tell You (3 books)
  • The Heroes' Welcome (My Dear I Wanted to Tell You #2)
  • Devotion (My Dear I Wanted to Tell You #3)
“No one ever wins a war, and wars are never over.” 8 likes
“Courage for the big troubles in life, lad' he'd say, 'and patience for the small. Be of good cheer. God is awake.” 8 likes
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