Book Review: My Dear I Wanted To Tell You

My Dear I Wanted To Tell You
Published By: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: June 26, 2012
Page Count: 336
Source: Kindly Provided by Publisher for TLC Book Tours
Audience: Adult - Historical Fiction

My Dear I Wanted to Tell You is a sweeping WWI saga. This is the war that I never studied in depth. I know the battles were fought in trenches and mustard gas was a nasty business, but that is pretty much where my knowledge ends. I was excited to read a book that could teach me a thing or two about this time period. In particular, I was fascinated by the medical technology of the time period. I really liked that I got to observe a cross section of people from various social classes and backgrounds; this painted broader strokes of the time period. I also enjoyed learning more about London during this time period. 

This novel is quite the endeavor as it bounces around between two couples and back and forth between WWI battlefields and the home front. I really enjoyed getting a fuller picture of WWII. I don't want to just spend time in the trenches. There are so many beautiful layers to this story, but I have to admit that I did find the book to be overwhelming at times. There were so many characters vying for my attention that it made it hard for me to focus. Furthermore, I never truly connected with any of the characters due to the writing style. I felt like an observer rather than a participant in this one. In addition, the language in this one is beautiful but I felt hindered by it as well. There is just so much to digest. This novel does require perseverance and time to settle into the narrative and characters.

One of my favorite elements of this book was the critical look at the treatment of women. This era still holds on to more traditional roles for women, but there are many who are fighting against these restraints. Women want to be more than just wives and mothers. Nadine is a symbol of the changing world; she wants to free herself from the traditionalist shackles and embrace the newness of the 20th century. The world for her is a much bigger place than it was for her mother and grandmother. There are so many options for her to explore. She also is not one to sit idly by and let her social class dictate her heart. 

My Dear I Wanted to Tell You will appeal to historical fiction fans as well as those interested in WWI and women's issues.

One Last Gripe: I didn't form a bond with any of the characters which made it difficult for me to lose myself in the story

My Favorite Thing About This Book: I mentioned this before but the medical elements of this book were fascinating.

First Sentence: It had been a warm night.

Favorite Character: Rose

Least Favorite Character: Peter

The lives of two very different couples--an officer and his aristocratic wife, and a young soldier and his childhood sweetheart--are irrevocably intertwined and forever changed in this stunning World War I epic of love and war.

At eighteen years old, working-class Riley Purefoy and "posh" Nadine Waveney have promised each other the future, but when war erupts across Europe, everything they hold to be true is thrown into question. Dispatched to the trenches, Riley forges a bond of friendship with his charismatic commanding officer, Peter Locke, as they fight for their survival. Yet it is Locke's wife, Julia, who must cope with her husband's transformation into a distant shadow of the man she once knew. Meanwhile, Nadine and Riley's bonds are tested as well by a terrible injury and the imperfect rehabilitation that follows it, as both couples struggle to weather the storm of war that rages about them.

Moving among Ypres, London, and Paris, this emotionally rich and evocative novel is both a powerful exploration of the lasting effects of war on those who fight--and those who don't--and a poignant testament to the enduring power of love.

About the Author:

Louisa Young grew up in London, England, in the house in which Peter Pan was written, and she studied modern history at Cambridge. She was a freelance journalist and has written ten books, including the Orange Prize–longlisted Baby Love. She is the co-author of the bestselling Lionboy trilogy, which has been published in thirty-six languages. She lives in London and Italy with her daughter and the composer Robert Lockhart.

Tuesday, June 26th: A Musing Reviews
Wednesday, June 27th: Lit and Life
Thursday, June 28th: Diary of an Eccentric
Tuesday, July 3rd: Reading Lark
Wednesday, July 4th: Unabridged Chick
Thursday, July 5th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Monday, July 9th: Shall Write
Tuesday, July 10th: Savvy Verse & Wit
Wednesday, July 11th: My Bookshelf
Thursday, July 12th: “That’s Swell!”
Tuesday, July 17th: The Written World
Wednesday, July 18th: The Book Garden
Thursday, July 19th: Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, July 26th: A Bookish Affair


  1. Too bad. I'm always looking for WWI books, fiction or non-fiction, because there aren't that many. While I might try this one, it doesn't sound like it would be very appealing to high school students. Great thoughts!

    1. This is not YA and I think it would be hard for teens to really get into, but you might really enjoy it.

  2. This one line "She also is not one to sit idly by and let her social class dictate her heart" is reason enough for me to read this book - I LOVE characters like that!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

    1. I did enjoy those elements, Heather. Thanks for having me!


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