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Posted 20 hours ago

My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You

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Only eighteen at the outbreak of the war, Nadine and Riley want to make promises to each other—but how can they when their future is out of their hands? Peter is nice enough but less than interesting and his wife Julia is a vapid and tedious character on whom far too much time is wasted.

Love is a major theme throughout with all the characters loving one another in different ways, spouses, siblings, friends, homosexual relationships, officer/private, parents, etc. Riley is adaptable and is taken in by a high class, artist, Sir Alfred, which provides the young couple access to one Clearly that couple were included to show a broader canvas of reactions to the war, but they didn't develop in any significant way or add much to the book. Louisa Young was also careful to show the reader how the war continued to affect her characters after their traumatic experiences and this aspect of the story, I believe, is continued in the author's sequel to this novel: The Heroes' Welcome which is due to be released very soon.Louisa Young does a wonderful job of making the characters immediately real and the reader is very quickly engaged in the story. I didn’t anticipate this war story to be so heavy on the romance, and at times I wasn’t too sure of Riley and Nadine’s love, feeling it was never fully developed before he heads off to war.

I didn't really feel caught up in it until the second half, when it settles down and became (for me) far more involving and moving. The title, the cover, and the summary all drew me in promising an epic love story about enduring love in times of harshness of war, but I was left feeling unfulfilled in the “epic romance” department. Therefore, some of the (very) minor characters were no more than a blur to me, and when later references were made, I had no clue who they were. There is something in this book for just about everyone and I believe it will appeal to a huge audience.

The storyline hopped between London and France during WWI, a period in history that I have never taken much time to learn about. To recover he is sent to the Queen's Hospital in Sidcup where Rose Locke is his nurse, under the pioneering (and non-fictional) plastic surgeon, Major Harold Gillies. Her battle with the enemy lines on her forehead distracts her almost entirely from her husband's slow breakdown.

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