My Dear I Wanted to Tell You
Harper, May 31 2011, $25.99
Upper class Peter and Julia Locke have an ideal marriage. However, WWI has Peter becoming a commanding officer fighting on the continent. Working class Riley Purefoy is taken in by the affluent upper middle class Waverly family. He dreams of marriage to their daughter Nadine, but WWI has him on the continent in Locke’s unit. Combat at the front changes both of them.
On the home front, Julia struggles without a man around telling her what to do. Her cousin Rose thrives with her volunteer work at the VA hospital. Nadine finds the war freeing her of the yoke of class imprisonment as she becomes a nurse. When the men come home, pre war relationships cannot be reconstructed.
This engaging historical tale focuses on the impact of WWI on class status and boundaries in Great Britain. The four lead characters are fully developed so that the reader understands the transition from before to during and after the war. Although the deep look at times leads to a slow pace, readers will appreciate Louisa Young’s belief that one outcome of the war to end all wars is the breaking down of progenitor class barriers.