Dear Mrs Bird – AJ Pearce

‘The sweetest, most uplifting, lovely book about courage, friendship, love’ – Marian Keyes

A charming, irresistible debut novel set in London during World War II about an adventurous young woman who becomes a secret advice columnist—a warm, funny, and enormously moving story for fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Lilac Girls.

London 1940, bombs are falling. Emmy Lake is Doing Her Bit for the war effort, volunteering as a telephone operator with the Auxiliary Fire Services. When Emmy sees an advertisement for a job at the London Evening Chronicle, her dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent seem suddenly achievable. But the job turns out to be typist to the fierce and renowned advice columnist, Henrietta Bird. Emmy is disappointed, but gamely bucks up and buckles down.

Mrs Bird is very clear: Any letters containing Unpleasantness—must go straight in the bin. But when Emmy reads poignant letters from women who are lonely, may have Gone Too Far with the wrong men and found themselves in trouble, or who can’t bear to let their children be evacuated, she is unable to resist responding. As the German planes make their nightly raids, and London picks up the smouldering pieces each morning, Emmy secretly begins to write letters back to the women of all ages who have spilled out their troubles.

Prepare to fall head over heels with Emmy and her best friend, Bunty, who are spirited and gutsy, even in the face of events that bring a terrible blow. As the bombs continue to fall, the irrepressible Emmy keeps writing, and readers are transformed by AJ Pearce’s hilarious, heartwarming, and enormously moving tale of friendship, the kindness of strangers, and ordinary people in extraordinary times

About the Author:

AJ Pearce grew up in Hampshire and studied at the University of Sussex. A chance discovery of a 1939 women’s magazine became the inspiration for her ever-growing collection and her first novel Dear Mrs Bird. She now lives and writes in the south of England.

My Review:

Oh my… this is the sweetest book I’ve read in ages.  Dear Mrs Bird is absolutely CHARMING and I fell head over heels in love with Emmy Lake the main character.

The book description above gives you a great introduction to the book and all I can add is that the author brings the wonderfully chirpy Emmy Lake and her friends to life in a colourful, amusing and often emotional way.

Based during World War II, Emmy dreams of being a war correspondent for the London Evening Chronicle and when she sees what appears to be her dream job advertised she immediately applies and gets the job.  However upon her first day at work, it appears the job is not what she thought and she’s there to type up readers letters for her rather uptight and uncaring boss Mrs Bird.

Whilst the story line around Emmy and her job is light hearted and often amusing, the author brings London during The Blitz to life in terrifying realism, you can literally smell the smoke, hear the air raid sirens and feel the bombs as they try to destroy not only the buildings in London but the hope and optimism of all the people trying to survive in a truly awful time.

This is a wonderful, uplifting story of friendship, bravery, strength and hope and I thoroughly recommend it.

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