The Heroes' Welcome is the incandescent sequel to the best-selling R&J pick My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You. Its evocation of a time deeply wounded by the pain of WWI will capture and beguile listeners fresh to Louisa Young's wonderful writing, and those previously enthralled by the stories of Nadine and Riley, Rose, Peter, and Julia.
It's 1919, and Britain is realising that it is no longer at war. Now, Nadine and Riley, Rose, and Peter and Julia, must try to regain a sense of normality. But long shadows cast by the war dim the potential joys of peacetime, and matters of the heart prove arduous and bewildering.
Normality doesn't seem to exist the way it did, and there is no ‘going back' to anything. What must give, for happiness to stand a chance? For those who fought, those who healed, and those left behind, 1919 is a year freighted with perilous beginnings, unavoidable realities, and gleams of indestructible hope.
©2014 Louisa Young (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
Praise for My Dear I Wanted to Tell You:
"This novel is a triumph" (Elizabeth Jane Howard)
"Every once in a while comes a novel that generates its own success, simply by being loved." (The Times)
"Birdsong for the new millennium" (Tatler)
"Powerful, sometimes shocking, boldly conceived, it fixes on war's lingering trauma to show how people adapt - or not - and is irradiated by anger and pity" (The Sunday Times)
"[A] tender, elegiac novel. Others have been here before, of course, from Sebastian Faulks to Pat Barker, but Young belongs in their company" (Mail on Sunday)
Avid reader of history, biography, and true crime.
This book was a big disappointment, falling far short of 'My Dear ...'. It's not possible to write a critique without spoilers, so I will just say that I found some of the things done by some of the characters totally unbelievable. I would have liked more on how the saintly Nadine coped with a husband with a facial deformity, more on Riley's sister's reaction, more on how Riley developed relationships with the children who came into his life. And what of Nadine's Rome connections? Is there a third volume in the offing? These weaknesses overshadowed the aspects of the book which were well done, notably the way Young brings to light the trauma experienced by soldiers and their loved ones - trauma which did not stop after the men returned home. Dan Stevens is, again, simply superb.
"Not as good as the first volume"
This book feels like the middle book of a trilogy. It is not as good as the first volume and the story line is rather thin. You feel there is another book coming and if that is the case I would definitely continue with the story. The main theme is shell shock which is interesting, but lacks the emotional intensity of the first volume and is just not quite so interesting about WWI medical practices.
Probably the discussions of the effect of shell shock on the mind.
I have listened to My Dear I Wanted to Tell You among others and really you cannot fault Dan Stevens as a reader. He is excellent.
The emotion was nothing like as intense as in the first volume, but there are some powerful passages.
One sort of wondered when the story was going to start - it's a bit unstructured.
"Deeply, deeply moving. Incredible insight."
I have not read the print version, I cannot imagine how it could best this excellent audio.
The prequel was also wonderful and gave an atmospheric lead into this book.
Dan Steven's is superb in both books ( had me in tears on a sunny summers day!!)
The culmination of Julia's plight
I will listen to both books again. Wonderful audio!!
"A good sequel"
A good sequel to 'My dear I wanted to tell you'. A very moving story, beautifully written, a must read if you've enjoyed the first book. Beautifully narrated by Dan stevens who always does a great job with every book he reads.
It took awhile to get into gear, a painful (necessary) review and then it built and rose a searing block of grief and misunderstanding and loss and more grief and resolution, lovely therapeutic listening.
"A spectacular follow up"
The story explores the impact on the war to all the previous characters. It is moving and heartbreaking, naturally everyone is battling with their own nightmares, injuries both physical and mental. Everything has changed while day to day life remains much the same, there are struggles to adapt to any sort of normality. Relationships evolve, change are born and nobody is left undamaged or changed.
A death, I do not want to say more for fear of giving away too much. Riley the most damaged of all the characters has to become the strong lynch pin that keeps them all together whilst coming to terms with his own terrible injury and the permanen tchange to his life.
Dan Stevens made this story for me, his narration is perfect, sensitive. The tone, voices and characterisation brings the story to life.
"A must read if you've read her first book"
Absolutely top of the list. Dan Stevens, who narrated the first book too, does a magnificent job of bringing this beautiful, sensitive second book to life.
They are all notable in their own ways.
Perfect. Wonderful tone of voice and his characterisation was impeccable.
Most definitely. It made me cry and its a book that haunts you long after you've finished it.
Whole heartedly recommend both this and My Dear.......
This is a sequel to Louisa Young’s "My dear, I wanted to tell you” which I read a few years ago. I must say that despite the hype I did not enjoy book 1 and got this to see if I would see things more clearly. I adored this book and having read it can relate to and appreciate book 1 more.
Having read both I would suggest a new reader reads them in sequence. I doubt the reader would get full understanding of book 2 without having read book 1.
While book 1 dealt with the characters as they went through the 'Great War’, book 2 deals with how they negotiate the peace afterwards. This novel moves from 1919 to ten years later.
We see up close and personal how the ‘peace’ is a very fluid thing and while some outwardly achieve it others never do.
While during the war the conflict was external the ‘peace’ moves it internally. The cost of the war goes on in the lives and hearts of those who survived it.
Riley has huge facial injury and while he carries the horrors of war externally, within him he manages to live in and absorb the peace.
His superior Peter is outwardly intact in body but internally bereft with huge emotional and psychological damage.
The ‘peace’ after the intensity of the war is longed for by all the characters yet each one has been scarred.
The story shows their attempts again heroic for some and fruitless for others to come to terms with it all and move forward.
While this book explores the negative effects of war in its aftermath it also shows a changing world where women can achieve something more than going back to mundane lives with no prospects as we can see with Rose’s life path.
The language is beautiful and captures the characters desire and overwhelming wish to love and be loved yet feel that they do not have a right to such love, having survived while others perished. I loved how the story went forward and the ending was very poignant.
The narrative by Dan Stevens was wonderful and I would highly recommend it.
A wonderful read. This book, and it's prequel, My dear I Wanted to Tell You, are a poignant tale of love, loss and survival during the First World War period. Brilliantly written and beautifully read by Dan Stevens.
"exquisitely written and beautifully read"
so delighted to find this sequel to My Dear I wanted to tell you. Beautifully read by Dan Stevens and his characterisations are superb Louisa Young's insights into the thoughts of her characters are wonderfully scripted and you become so embroiled in each person's persona.
The end was very satisfying and completed the stories well. However Louisa if you want to write another follow up please do!
Absolutely and carried it around with me all the time.
Everything: the brilliant narrator (handsome Dan Stevens from Downton Abbey), the quality of the writing, the in-depth, well-developed characters, the overall story.
All the characters are so real, complex and well crafted, it's hard to believe they've been conjured up in Louisa Young's imagination. You fall for all of them. I suppose if pushed I'd have to choose Riley because he is woven into the very centre of the story, although I love Rose, too.
Dan Stevens is outstanding as a narrator. He brings real personality to the characters and even if he just read out a single sentence without telling you directly who is speaking, you'd know from the way he uses his voice.
Yes, definitely. I found it hard to drag myself away from it.
Read My Dear I Wanted To Tell You, the prequel, before reading this book. It's essential. And you won't regret it.
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