My Dear I Wanted To Tell You – Louisa Young

My Dear I Wanted to Tell You

Published
05/01/2012

Publisher
Harper

Source
Library

My Rating - 3 stars

There seems to have been a spate of WWI books recently of which I have consumed my fair share so I waited a while after publication before investigating this story out of fear of over-exposure.   I have also waited a while after reading before reviewing as I wanted to see if my reading experience would improve with age…..however, it remained a 3 star read for me, not bad but not earth-shatteringly good either, decidedly middle of the road.

There’s a lot going on in this novel – two men and three women, from varied social backgrounds experiencing different aspects of the war both at home and at the front.  Add to that a forbidden love affair, the gradual crumbling of social barriers, the horrors of life in the trenches, the physical and mental scars of war and you have a heady mix.  It’s clearly an extremely well-researched novel with lots of interesting information about the early days of reconstructive surgery.

There’s no doubt that Louisa Young is a fine writer but I had the impression the kitchen sink effect of so many themes had a clogging effect on the story and I found it hard going at times.  Whilst Riley, Peter, Nadine, Julia and Rose are portrayed vividly, I only felt engaged by Rose who was kept in the background for most of the novel.  The rest seemed to belong to a clique renowned as much for their vapidity as their beauty.

Somehow this novel and I just didn’t click but I’d still like to read more of the author’s work, perhaps with different subject matter.

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2 Comments

  1. I tried the audio book version of this and abandoned it as it didn’t work for me. It is quite good to see that you aren’t raving about it as it shows my instincts were correct.

  2. admin says:

    Jackie, I’ve encountered quite a few readers including my lovely local librarians who had similar difficulties with this novel but judging by the raving Amazon reviews they are loathe to voice their comments. It concerns me that folk feel reluctant to say that a particular book didn’t work for them if it goes against the “visible” tide of opinion. I gave it 3 stars on Amazon which seems to have annoyed some readers and prompted negative votes. Why oh why does everything have to be one extreme or the other….oh for the happy medium! ;-)

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