Literature and War Readalong September 29 2014: My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young

My Dear I Wanted To Tell You

If I hadn’t read a lot of favourable reviews of Louisa Young’s novel My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You, I would never have picked it up. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but I’m allergic to men in greatcoat’s on WWI novels. On the other hand it’s better than a man in a greatcoat kissing a woman. But, as fluffy as it looks, the reviews made it sound poignant.

Louisa Young is a versatile author. Not only has she written three previous novels and a biography but, as Zizou Corder, she also writes a successful YA adult series together with her daughter.

Here are the first sentences

France, 7 June, 3.10 a.m.

It had been a warm night. Summery. Quiet, as such nights go.

The shattering roar of the explosion was so very sudden, cracking through the physicality of air and earth, that every battered skull, and every baffled brain within those skulls, was shaken by it, and every surviving thought was shaken out. It shuddered eardrums and set livers quivering; it ran under skin, set up counter-waves of blood veins and arteries, pierced rocking into the tiny canals of the sponge of the bone marrow. It clenched hearts, broke teeth, and reverberated in synapses and the spaces between cells. The men became a part of the noise, drowned in it, dismembered by it saturated. They were of it. It was of them.

They were all used to that.

And some details and the blurb for those who want to join

My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young (UK 2011) WWI, Historical Fiction, 336 pages

A letter, two lovers, a terrible lie. In war, truth is only the first casualty. ‘Inspires the kind of devotion among its readers not seen since David Nicholls’ One Day’ The Times

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?

Moving between Ypres, London and Paris, My Dear I Wanted to Tell You is a deeply affecting, moving and brilliant novel of love and war, and how they affect those left behind as well as those who fight.

 

*******

The discussion starts on Friday, 29 September 2014.

Further information on the Literature and War Readalong 2014, including all the book blurbs, can be found here.

18 thoughts on “Literature and War Readalong September 29 2014: My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young

  1. I like the passage that you quoted. The effects of the sound of explosion are described in such an artistic yet terrifying way.

    I always find it interesting when an author writes a different genre of books under a pseudonym. Sometimes we think of writers as monolithic when they usually are not.

  2. The US cover is much different and actually I prefer it–though it doesn’t give the feeling of a WWI novel–maybe that is a good thing? I’ve been wanting to read it ever since it came out and really must pick it up and start reading soon–maybe I will have better luck with it than I have with most of my other reads of late…… (Hope things are better in your corner of the world!).

    • Thanks, Danielle, I’m better.
      I’m already on page 160. I really, really like it. I’m pretty sure you’ll like it too.
      Maybe I wouldn’t have minded the cover so much if it wasn’t stereotypical but you see so many greatcoats on WWI novels.

  3. Looks like a very interesting book, Caroline! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it. Nice to know that the book covers both the war front and the home front. Happy reading!

Thanks for commenting, I love to hear your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s