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Monday, 14 May 2012

Louisa Young - My Dear I Wanted to Tell You

review by Babs Simpson on show live 17th May 2012
I know Maggie reviewed this book a few weeks ago, but it is such an exceptional story that I wanted to do it too!
Shortlisted for the Costa Prize last year, it is a powerful, intensely moving and brilliant novel. It is set before and during the First World War - a period I'm ashamed to admit I try to avoid because it was so terrible - and tells of the lives of Riley Purefoy, a boy from a poor background, who meets a wealthy family, the Waveneys, their daughter Nadine, as well as their friends Peter and Julia Locke and the wonderful Rose.
Riley is a talented artist but his background precludes him taking it further. Nadine is discouraged by her mother from both closer friendship with Riley and her desire to go to Art School - not at all appropriate for a girl from such a family.
The war begins, Riley joins the Army and is soon in the thick of it. Louisa Young's writing is very clever - in a very few, well-chosen words, she conveys the horrors, the agony, the stoicism shown by the men and, above all, and the futility of the battles.

The action moves between France and England, the battlefields, the homes and the hospitals where reconstructive surgery is in its infancy.
I cannot recommend this highly enough. Moving, tender, thought-provoking, wonderful, it will stay with you long after the last page hs been read.

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