by AJ Pearce
I absolutely adored Dear Mrs. Bird which was published in 2018. That book felt entire to itself so I had no idea that there would be a new novel featuring Emmy. This sequel was every bit as charming, engaging and emotional as the first. Add to all of those qualities humor and sadness and AJ Pearce has done it again!
Cheerfully Yours can be read as a standalone but I recommend both titles, in any order, simply for the joy of the reading experience. Unless you are a true cynic, these books will be enjoyed.
In Cheerfully Yours, WWII is still raging. Emmy continues to work for the woman’s magazine where she became Mrs. Bird’s assistant in the first novel. Here the magazine is under an editor who believes in his staff and their abilities. He invites Emmy, despite some checkered work history, to come with him to an important meeting at the Ministry of Information. The minsters want to encourage women to work in war industries and hopes that magazines like Emmy’s will be a way to reach them. Emmy is very excited to become a reporter.
Through a chance meeting, Emmy comes to know Anne. Anne has two children, has been widowed and is working in a factory. Emmy wants to tell Anne’s story. Through this and other story elements readers learn about the obstacles that women faced within the work force. Through her fictional characters, Ms. Pearce engagingly immerses readers in the subject.
Readers also will meet or become reacquainted with Emmy’s closest friend, Bunty. They will also watch as Emmy and Charles spend time together.
One authorial decision that I really enjoyed was her choice of capitalizing certain letters in phrases. These add an emphasis, often comic, to the text.
This is a novel with hope and heart. It is about many kinds of love (for family, friends, romantic attachments). Readers will feel better for spending time with the irrepressible Emmy and those around her. I recommend this one most highly.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.
From the publisher:
ENHANCE YOUR BOOK CLUB
1. Read more about nurseries and the role they played in World War II in Britain via the East End Women’s Museum at https://eastendwomensmuseum.org/blog/2018/8/7/women-babies-and-bombs-how-day-nurseries-contributed-to-working-womens-lives-during-wwii.
2. Watch War Comes to London, City Bound, or London 1942,
available from the British Council Film Archive at https://film.britishcouncil.org/resources/film-archive/war-comes-to-london, https://film.britishcouncil.org/resources/film-archive/city-bound, and https://film.britishcouncil.org/resources/film-archive/london-1942. What does the narration in these short films try to convey to the viewer? What does it imply about British culture and values at the time?
3. If you haven’t read it yet, discover Dear Mrs. Bird, the first novel in the Emmy Lake Chronicles.