Dear Mrs Bird
Listening Length: 9 hrs, 48minsLondon, 1940. Emmeline 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 suddenly seem achievable. But the job turns out to be working as a typist for the fierce and renowned advice columnist, Henrietta Bird. Emmy is disappointed, but gamely bucks up and buckles down.Mrs. Bird is very clear: letters containing any Unpleasantness must go straight in the bin. But when Emmy reads poignant notes from women who may have Gone Too Far with the wrong men, 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 smoldering pieces each morning, Emmy secretly begins to write back to the readers who have poured out their troubles.Prepare to fall head over heels for Emmy and her best friend, Bunty, who are gutsy and spirited, even in the face of a terrible blow. The irrepressible Emmy keeps writing letters in this hilarious and enormously moving tale of friendship, the kindness of strangers, and ordinary people in extraordinary times.

Dear Mrs Bird Details

TitleDear Mrs Bird
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 5th, 2018
PublisherPicador Books
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, War, World War II

Dear Mrs Bird Review

  • Angela M
    January 1, 1970
    With a blend of lightheartedness and a dose of the heartbreaking reality of wartime, A.J. Pierce gives recognition to the women at home during WWII in this story taking place during the London blitz. Emmeline Lake’s lofty ambition to be a war correspondent isn’t meant to be when she finds out the job she applied for as a junior secretary for The Evening Chronicle was actually for a weekly magazine called Woman’s Friend, working for Henrietta Bird. She’s a straight laced advice columnist who will With a blend of lightheartedness and a dose of the heartbreaking reality of wartime, A.J. Pierce gives recognition to the women at home during WWII in this story taking place during the London blitz. Emmeline Lake’s lofty ambition to be a war correspondent isn’t meant to be when she finds out the job she applied for as a junior secretary for The Evening Chronicle was actually for a weekly magazine called Woman’s Friend, working for Henrietta Bird. She’s a straight laced advice columnist who will not respond to any letter that mentions: “Marital relations, Premarital relations, Extramarital relations, Physical relations, Sexual relations in general (all issues, mentions, suggestions, or results of), Illegal activities, Political activities and opinions (excl. queries regarding church groups and services), The war (excl. queries, regarding rationing, voluntary services, clubs, and practicalities) .” That is until Emmy decides to take things upon herself because she genuinely feels sorry for and wants to help these women who write in asking for advice that Mrs. Bird won’t think about giving.This tribute to the the women remaining at home during wartime is not just reflected with Emmy who is also a volunteer with the Fire Brigade, answering calls each night as the bombings occur, but with those who lose loved ones, and those who write letters to Henrietta Bird seeking advice as they try to deal with their real problems. It also depicts what true friendship is about with Emmy and Bunty. It’s a quick read, funny and light at times, but sad and horrifying as we see the destruction and losses. A satisfying story I recommend. I received an advanced copy of this book from Scribner through NetGalley and Edelweiss.
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  • Fran
    January 1, 1970
    Emmeline Lake takes the bus home from work carrying her handbag, gas mask, and an onion (for stew). She dreams of becoming a war correspondent or a journalist covering political intrigue. Discovering a newspaper ad for part-time work at The London Evening Chronicle, she believes the world is her oyster. Wrong! Part-time work will fit in with Emmy's job three nights a week as a volunteer telephone operator for the Auxiliary Fire Service. It is 1940. London is being blitzed regularly by the Luftwa Emmeline Lake takes the bus home from work carrying her handbag, gas mask, and an onion (for stew). She dreams of becoming a war correspondent or a journalist covering political intrigue. Discovering a newspaper ad for part-time work at The London Evening Chronicle, she believes the world is her oyster. Wrong! Part-time work will fit in with Emmy's job three nights a week as a volunteer telephone operator for the Auxiliary Fire Service. It is 1940. London is being blitzed regularly by the Luftwaffe. Emmy is dumbfounded when she finds out the job of her dreams is nothing more than a junior typist job. She has been hired to type responses written in a column of Woman's Friend Magazine. Cantankerous Mrs. Bird picks and chooses which letters are worthy of a written response in her column "Henrietta Helps".Emmy has been hired to say nothing at all. Mrs. Bird maintains a list of "unacceptable" topics. Letters mentioning divorce, unhappiness and intimacy are among the unmentionables to be cut up and sent to the bin. But, war is hell on the home front,too! Emmy secretly decides to send kindly responses to women desperate enough to write in.The gallantry of the Fire Brigade cannot go unnoticed. One evening, a fire blazes out of control in a building now teetering on collapse. Members of the Fire Brigade enter the rubble, pulling out a frightened little girl and her brother. Just seconds before total collapse of the structure, a fireman is pulled out with something shielded in a blanket. The little girl's doll."Dear Mrs. Bird" is a novel that runs the gamut of feelings and emotions experienced by our narrator, Emmy, in this work of historical fiction. Make no mistake, author A.J. Pearce, in her debut novel, possesses the gift of transporting us to wartime London. We are concerned for the well being and safety of its residents. "Dear Mrs. Bird" by A.J. Pearce is a lovely, heartfelt read that I highly recommend.Thank you Scribner Publishing and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review "Dear Mrs. Bird".
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  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    A fizzy, frothy little novel that takes place in London during WWII. That is, it’s frivolous until it isn’t. With bombings occurring nightly there is bound to be sadness and tears. The main character, Emmeline, is a shoe-in for Honeysuckle Weeks as Samantha Stewart in Foyle’s War. She has spunk to spare. Emmy lands a job and behaves in ways that are less than ethical despite her intention to be helpful. Filled with Britishisms of the 1940’s, I could have Done Without the capitalizations which I A fizzy, frothy little novel that takes place in London during WWII. That is, it’s frivolous until it isn’t. With bombings occurring nightly there is bound to be sadness and tears. The main character, Emmeline, is a shoe-in for Honeysuckle Weeks as Samantha Stewart in Foyle’s War. She has spunk to spare. Emmy lands a job and behaves in ways that are less than ethical despite her intention to be helpful. Filled with Britishisms of the 1940’s, I could have Done Without the capitalizations which I found patronizing and rather annoying. Otherwise this is humorous and enjoyable summer reading
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  • Melisa
    January 1, 1970
    When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” - Fred RogersAll in all, this is a story about the helpers of World War 2 - amongst all the atrocities, there was a bit of light in those who came to the rescue of others. The author drew inspiration for the book after finding an advice column in a women’s magazine from 1939 (love this so much!). AJ Pearce has done some beautiful justice to th When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” - Fred RogersAll in all, this is a story about the helpers of World War 2 - amongst all the atrocities, there was a bit of light in those who came to the rescue of others. The author drew inspiration for the book after finding an advice column in a women’s magazine from 1939 (love this so much!). AJ Pearce has done some beautiful justice to the people who had to experience the atrocities of the terrible bombings in London and the emotions they must have faced and the questions they must have had. This is as delightful a book you will find that has a setting of a war. The characters are absolutely charming, you’ll be rooting for them all. And the language is brilliant - I absolutely loved the dialogue between the characters. Definitely recommend!A huge thank you to Picador Books for an advance copy. This book is currently available!
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    This story shows us the rolls of women in wartime Britain during the early 1940’s. A young Emmeline, who works a couple part time jobs, one at the fire station to answer calls after bombs from Hitler go off on the city. She gets a third job at a newspaper in hopes of it being as a wartime journalist, but she is disappointed when it is to help out a Mrs Bird who writes an advice column to people who send in letters.This is also a story of friendship, and you get a good feel for what everyday life This story shows us the rolls of women in wartime Britain during the early 1940’s. A young Emmeline, who works a couple part time jobs, one at the fire station to answer calls after bombs from Hitler go off on the city. She gets a third job at a newspaper in hopes of it being as a wartime journalist, but she is disappointed when it is to help out a Mrs Bird who writes an advice column to people who send in letters.This is also a story of friendship, and you get a good feel for what everyday life was like for the Brits in the city during WWll.This was just an ok read for me, I found myself starting to skim through several areas of the book.Thank you to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster for the eGalley!
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  • abby
    January 1, 1970
    "I had taken entirely the wrong job."Emmy Lake *thinks* she's interviewing for a war correspondent job. Finally, she will become the hard hitting journalist of her dreams. But as she daydreams through her job interview, she misses that she's really taking a typist position at a stodgy women's magazine. Far from being on the front lines, she'll be producing copy of Henrietta Helps, an advice column that does not offer much in the way of advice at all. Henrietta refuses to deal any reader problems "I had taken entirely the wrong job."Emmy Lake *thinks* she's interviewing for a war correspondent job. Finally, she will become the hard hitting journalist of her dreams. But as she daydreams through her job interview, she misses that she's really taking a typist position at a stodgy women's magazine. Far from being on the front lines, she'll be producing copy of Henrietta Helps, an advice column that does not offer much in the way of advice at all. Henrietta refuses to deal any reader problems she classes as "unpleasantness," which is just about anything apart from table settings and nylons. Feeling boxed in by restriction in a job she didn't mean to take and wanting to help the women who write in desperate for advice, Emmy starts impersonating Henrietta and responding to letters. It's a victim-less crime. Right?This book is charming a lot of fun. It's chick-lit meets the London Blitz. The only real detraction is the Strange Random Capitalization of words and phrases. Readers who enjoy fluffy books now and again will find a lot to love about Dear Mrs. Bird.Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this book.
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  • Cheri
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 Stars”We'll meet againDon't know whereDon't know whenBut I know we'll meet again some sunny dayKeep smiling throughJust like you always do'Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away“So will you please say helloTo the folks that I knowTell them I won't be longThey'll be happy to know That as you saw me goI was singing this song” --”We’ll Meet Again,” Vera Lynn, Songwriters: Hughie Charles / Ross ParkerOverflowing with charm and humour, Dear Mrs. Bird is a treat as sweet as that favour 4.5 Stars”We'll meet againDon't know whereDon't know whenBut I know we'll meet again some sunny dayKeep smiling throughJust like you always do'Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away“So will you please say helloTo the folks that I knowTell them I won't be longThey'll be happy to know That as you saw me goI was singing this song” --”We’ll Meet Again,” Vera Lynn, Songwriters: Hughie Charles / Ross ParkerOverflowing with charm and humour, Dear Mrs. Bird is a treat as sweet as that favourite one your mother made specially for you, just the memory of it makes you smile. I laughed out loud, I cried, I fell in love with Emmeline Lake and her best friend, Bunty, and all of the people inside these pages.Still, it’s not at all light and fluffy, as this begins in London in December of 1940, and there are bombings. People’s nerves are frayed more than a bit, but it seems Emmeline really wants to set the tone for all about her. Air raids abound, and buildings about are crumbling, but she keeps her focus on the positive. Emmeline, Emmy is so determined to keep calm and carry on despite the war that’s going on, and so when she sees the newspaper advertisement on a day that she considers a cheerful day, despite the Luftwaffe’s bothersome presence creating delays for everyone and making people late for work, she just about bursts from the excitement she feels. She wants nothing more than to become a journalist, a Lady War Correspondent, she’s been dreaming of this for the last ten years of her life – which is almost half her life at her wizened age of twenty-two. Emmy is offered the job she applied for, but it isn’t quite what she thought it would be. Instead of leading to a job as a Lady War Correspondent, she will be screening letters from readers of Woman’s Friend magazine, weeding out anything … unacceptable. Included in “unacceptable” topics - anything hinting at s-e-x, or socially inappropriate behavior, premarital, extramarital, marital “relations,” divorce or other unpleasant topics. She is to destroy any containing any “unpleasantness,” per Mrs. Bird’s rather firm directions. But she’s also been told to do what she can, as well as she can, and she can’t bear to let all of these letters go unanswered. It’s only one to start with, and she feels better knowing that the writer will feel heard.I loved the colloquial expressions from another era, I loved the off-hand manner in which Emmy approaches things such as having to carry a gas mask along with her handbag, I loved her heartfelt desire to reach out to these women so they would know that someone out there cared. I loved Emmy for having the best intentions. I loved that there was a deeper, darker story underneath the light and sweeter exterior. I loved reading about the changing issues of the day through these letters, seeing women reaching beyond the lives they thought they were destined to live.Most of all, I loved the perfectly imperfect Emmy. The idea, inspiration, for this novel came from a 1939 women’s magazine that the author, A.J. Pearce, came across. Inside was a peek into women’s lives in another era, another way of life. Reading the letters on the “Problem Page” which ranged from what to do if you have freckles to how to deal with rude people in public. An idea was born, and a very entertaining debut novel is the result.Pub Date: 03 JUL 2018Many thanks for the ARC provided by Scribner
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  • Holly B
    January 1, 1970
    A charming story about Emmeline Lake who accidentally takes the wrong job. I think Emmy's enthusiasm for becoming a reputable World War II correspondent clouded her understanding of the job description at the London Evening Chronicle.  I loved her optimism and how upbeat she felt even after realizing she was only hired as a typist for a woman's advice column.Her uptight boss, Mrs. Bird was anything but an endearing lady.  She was overbearing and wanted Emmy to trash all letters containing what A charming story about Emmeline Lake who accidentally takes the wrong job. I think Emmy's enthusiasm for becoming a reputable World War II correspondent clouded her understanding of the job description at the London Evening Chronicle.  I loved her optimism and how upbeat she felt even after realizing she was only hired as a typist for a woman's advice column.Her uptight boss, Mrs. Bird was anything but an endearing lady.  She was overbearing and wanted Emmy to trash all letters containing what she perceived as "unpleasant" which turned out to be just the kind of problems that many were writing to her about.Emmy starts "secretly" corresponding to some of the letters flagged unpleasant by her boss and may have put herself in a bit of a pickle.  So many laugh out loud moments in this book, even with the back drop of bombed out buildings and German raids. Emmy's contagious optimism and good heart had me cheering for her to the end.You will enjoy this one, if you love heart warming stories full of  humor and friendship. I absolutely fell in love with Emmy.Thanks to NG for my ARC.
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  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    January 1, 1970
    4 utterly charming stars to Dear Mrs. Bird! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ I never tire of World War II fiction. I say it in many of my reviews, but for posterity, my late grandparents were young people in the 1940s. Both grandfathers fought in WWII, and I feel like I can visit this time with them through books. So how does Dear Mrs. Bird eke out a name for herself in a sea of WWII reads? The answer: with humor and finding joy even amid the most turbulent times. It is 1940 in London, and adorable and lovable character 4 utterly charming stars to Dear Mrs. Bird! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ I never tire of World War II fiction. I say it in many of my reviews, but for posterity, my late grandparents were young people in the 1940s. Both grandfathers fought in WWII, and I feel like I can visit this time with them through books. So how does Dear Mrs. Bird eke out a name for herself in a sea of WWII reads? The answer: with humor and finding joy even amid the most turbulent times. It is 1940 in London, and adorable and lovable character Emmy Lake is seeking the job of her dreams, war correspondent. She has her hands full as a volunteer telephone operator with the Auxiliary Fire Services and her unfulfilling current job. She finds an advertisement in a magazine that may be the ticket to her next career. Emmy takes the job knowing little about it and finds herself a typist to an advice columnist, Mrs. Bird. Emmy needs the job, so she perseveres. Mrs. Bird is a strict enforcer of her rules, and the primary one is that no unpleasant letters will be addressed in the column; however, Emma finds this impossible to follow. Her heart opens up when she reads the words of these women, and she feels their loneliness, longing, and pain. With nightly bombings and a war at happening all around her, Emmy writes these women back on her own. As if you could not tell already, Emmy is a character to adore, as is her endearing best friend, Bunty. Dear Mrs. Bird is about true friendship, warmth, and generosity, in the most frightful and horrendous of times. It is a charming and uplifting read. Thank you to Scribner for the ARC. Dear Mrs. Bird is now available! My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    Emmeline Lake and her friend, Bunty, live in London. It is 1940 and the Germans are making rather a nuisance of themselves, but neither are downhearted. In fact, Emmy has big dreams of being a Lady War Correspondent and, when she sees an advert for part-time work at the London Evening Chronicle, she writes off with high hopes. However, before long, she realises that her Enthusiasm (there are a lot of Capital Letters in this book) has meant that she has rushed in without thinking. Rather than fin Emmeline Lake and her friend, Bunty, live in London. It is 1940 and the Germans are making rather a nuisance of themselves, but neither are downhearted. In fact, Emmy has big dreams of being a Lady War Correspondent and, when she sees an advert for part-time work at the London Evening Chronicle, she writes off with high hopes. However, before long, she realises that her Enthusiasm (there are a lot of Capital Letters in this book) has meant that she has rushed in without thinking. Rather than finding herself on the first rung of the ladder towards journalism, she is stuck typing up letters for agony aunt, Mrs Bird – who runs the ‘Henrietta Helps,’ column for “Woman’s Friend,” a magazine, which shares nothing with the London Evening Chronicle, other than offices in the same building.To be honest, when the first question at her interview was, “are you easily scared?” Emmy should have been fore-warned about her new employer. Apart from shouting a lot, Mrs Bird does very little. She does, however, insist that letters which refer to any kind of Unpleasantness, are thrown in the bin. Such unacceptable topics include marital relations, pre-marital relations, extra-marital relations, physical relations, politics or illegal activities. Before long, Emmy, bemoaning the fact that the agony column is not really helping anyone, begins to answer the letters herself…This debut novel is funny, moving, charming and paints a wonderfully evocative portrait of wartime London. As well as telling a story with great humour, the author also shows how the war caused all kinds of social, and personal, upheaval. Although Mrs Bird’s advice was that everyone should Buck Up and Get On With Things, these unprecedented events did mean that life was, largely, thrown into disarray for most of the inhabitants of the country. She also shows the bravery of those on the Home Front, who faced the bombings, upheaval and shortages with fortitude and a complete inability to accept that things would not work out in the end. I adored this novel and received a review copy from the publisher, via NetGalley, for which many thanks are due.
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  • Zoe
    January 1, 1970
    Spirited, poignant, and moving!Dear Mrs. Bird is an intriguing tale that takes you back to the streets of London during WWII and into the life of Emmeline Lake a cheery, optimistic, young woman who after finding herself inadvertently working on the advice column for Woman's Friend magazine takes it upon herself to begin secretly doling out guidance to those on the home front seeking advice for "inappropriate topics".The prose is comical and light. The characters are plucky, sympathetic, and real Spirited, poignant, and moving!Dear Mrs. Bird is an intriguing tale that takes you back to the streets of London during WWII and into the life of Emmeline Lake a cheery, optimistic, young woman who after finding herself inadvertently working on the advice column for Woman's Friend magazine takes it upon herself to begin secretly doling out guidance to those on the home front seeking advice for "inappropriate topics".The prose is comical and light. The characters are plucky, sympathetic, and real. And the plot is an engaging, perfectly paced tale about life, loss, self-discovery, friendship, tragedy, heartbreak, uncertainty, hilarious misunderstandings, good intentions, meddling, and the realities of war. Overall, Dear Mrs. Bird is a delightfully heartwarming, wonderful debut for Pearce that does an exceptional job of highlighting the incredible impact war had on the personal lives of those it touched both at home and away and the significant roles and contribution of women during those dark times.Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.All my reviews can be found on my blog at https://whatsbetterthanbooks.com
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  • Bianca
    January 1, 1970
    I really expected and wanted to love this novel, as its main character is a young woman doing her bit for the war effort, during the WWII.Unfortunately, I found it predictable, overwritten, over-explained, and, generally speaking, I found our heroine, Emmeline Lake, overbearing and too earnest. Dear Mrs Bird should have been right up my alley and I was disappointed it wasn't the good lighter novel I was so desperate to find. I got bored and skimmed a lot.I will say this, Dear Mrs Bird could easi I really expected and wanted to love this novel, as its main character is a young woman doing her bit for the war effort, during the WWII.Unfortunately, I found it predictable, overwritten, over-explained, and, generally speaking, I found our heroine, Emmeline Lake, overbearing and too earnest. Dear Mrs Bird should have been right up my alley and I was disappointed it wasn't the good lighter novel I was so desperate to find. I got bored and skimmed a lot.I will say this, Dear Mrs Bird could easily be made into a BBC series, although come to think of it, there are plenty of similar stories that made it to the screen.
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  • Louise Wilson
    January 1, 1970
    It's 1940's London. Emmeline Lake is doing her bit for the war office, volunteering as a telephone operator with the Auxiliary Fire Services.When Emmy (Emmeline), saw an advertisement for a job at the London Evening Chronicle, her dream of becoming a Lady War Correspondent suddenly becomes achievable. But the job is for a typist for the fierce advice columnist, Henrietta Bird. Mrs Birds rules are very clear: letters containing any unpleasantness must go straight in the bin.Not the job she was ho It's 1940's London. Emmeline Lake is doing her bit for the war office, volunteering as a telephone operator with the Auxiliary Fire Services.When Emmy (Emmeline), saw an advertisement for a job at the London Evening Chronicle, her dream of becoming a Lady War Correspondent suddenly becomes achievable. But the job is for a typist for the fierce advice columnist, Henrietta Bird. Mrs Birds rules are very clear: letters containing any unpleasantness must go straight in the bin.Not the job she was hoping for in the Evening Chronicle, but typing up replies to Mrs Birds "Hendrietta Helps" column in the "Woman's Friend" magazine. Mrs Bird does is a hard taskmaster. She does not like talking when she should be working and she barks out her orders. It's not long before Emmy starts replying to the letters that are meant for the bin.This is a beautifully written debut novel that has a bit of humour added but is also quite sad at times as well. Not a book I would normally pick up, but when I seen so many good reviews about it. I'm glad I did. It's funny, moving and charming. It shows the bravery of the people on the Home Front. I will definitely be looking out for more from this author in the future.
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  • Fictionophile
    January 1, 1970
    Set during the London Blitz in 1940-41, you'd expect a dark and dour novel but this couldn't be farther from the truth.  It was a happy/sad book that highlighted the indomitable and resilient spirit of Londoners during the time, yet cast a keen eye on the devastation of the war.The story is told from the perspective of a young woman named Emmeline Lake, whose fondest wish is to become a journalist.  In particular, a Lady War Correspondent.  Emmy lives in Pimlico and shares a flat with her best f Set during the London Blitz in 1940-41, you'd expect a dark and dour novel but this couldn't be farther from the truth.  It was a happy/sad book that highlighted the indomitable and resilient spirit of Londoners during the time, yet cast a keen eye on the devastation of the war.The story is told from the perspective of a young woman named Emmeline Lake, whose fondest wish is to become a journalist.  In particular, a Lady War Correspondent.  Emmy lives in Pimlico and shares a flat with her best friend in the world, Bunty.Emmy is famed for her 'plucky' outlook. She works answering phones for the Fire Brigade. This is no easy task as the Luftwaffe's bombing of London during the Blitz ensured that there were myriad fires, accidents, and injuries every single day.When she gets an interview with the London Evening Chronicle, she is over the moon with anticipation. However, she finds out that the job is not with the newspaper, but rather it is with the magazine "Woman's Friend" which has its offices in the same building.  Still working her post at the Fire Brigade, Emmy begins working as a typist for "The Women's Friend" in January of 1941.Her job is to screen the mail received by agony aunt Mrs. Henrietta Bird and choose those that Mrs. Bird is likely to answer.  These are few and far between as Mrs. Bird will not reply to letters about adultery, politics, divorce, intimacy, and any other topic she saw as weak.  Even the replies that Mrs. Bird does write are very brusque and unsympathetic."A step too far - A catalogue of deceit"Feeling sorry for the countless letters that didn't pass muster by Mrs. Bird, Emmy begins to answer them herself.  Her heart breaks for the desperate predicaments of the letter writers.  Her big mistake is that she writes her replies on "Women's Friend" stationery and signs them "Mrs. Henrietta Bird"."The moon was lighting up London for the Luftwaffe and they were taking full advantage of it."When Emmy's friend Bunty gets engaged to one of the Fire Brigade firemen, the girls are joyous.  It is so nice to have something 'good' to look forward to.The Blitz leaves no one unscathed. Emmeline lives her life with a mixture of pluckiness, bravery, guilt, concern, and resilience that is a tonic to read about.  Tired, so tired, Emmy bravely continues on with her two jobs. "I willed the lift to get stuck so I could sit on the floor and nod off.""Dear Mrs. Bird" was a fast read. Though I don't recommend you read it in public, lest you embarrass yourself either laughing or crying. It reflected an accurate and well researched portrayal of what life was like living in London during the Blitz.  The constant bombing and devastation, the rationing, the losses.... AND the stoicism of the people who valiantly tried to maintain a positive outlook while there was little to be positive about.The story was written with a kind of innocence. Emmy was very young, so she had a young person's righteous and innocent world view. Her experiences were daunting, yet she remained true to herself and the people she loved.Yes, along with some laughter, there were many tears shed IN the novel, and, I might add, ON the novel (there were parts where I blubbered like a fool). Written with warmth, empathy and humor, A.J. Pearce's debut is a resounding success. I hope you'll read it for yourself and see.  Highly recommended.
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  • Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    *https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com3.5 stars1940’s London during the uncertain and dangerous times of the Blitz is carefully brought to life by debut author AJ Pearce. At the heart and soul Dear Mrs Bird is Emmeline Lake, a young woman who gently reminds the reader of the daily acts of heroism, the stoicism, the friendships and the bravery of the British during the turbulent times of the Luftwaffe assault.For Emmeline (Emmy) Lake, the central protagonist of Dear Mrs Bird, becoming a female wa *https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com3.5 stars1940’s London during the uncertain and dangerous times of the Blitz is carefully brought to life by debut author AJ Pearce. At the heart and soul Dear Mrs Bird is Emmeline Lake, a young woman who gently reminds the reader of the daily acts of heroism, the stoicism, the friendships and the bravery of the British during the turbulent times of the Luftwaffe assault.For Emmeline (Emmy) Lake, the central protagonist of Dear Mrs Bird, becoming a female war correspondent is all she wishes for. Emmeline’s dreams become a reality when she answers a job advertisement for a London newspaper. However, Emmeline’s hopes are soon quashed when she is given the job of typing letters for resident agony aunt Henrietta Bird, for a women’s lifestyle magazine called ‘Woman’s Friend’. Emmy soon becomes frustrated with her new role. Despite strict instructions from the formidable Mrs Bird to eke out any letters of an unsavoury nature, Emmy crosses the line and begins to answer these letters and in the process she finds she is secretly impersonating Mrs Bird. This misunderstood act of kindness backfires and Emmy must deal with the fallout, along with tests to her friendship and her will to live in a time of great upheaval.World War II based books never fail to draw me in and initially this is what first attracted me to request Dear Mrs Bird to read and review. AJ Pearce’s first novel is a gentle ode to World War II London, the citizens of the Britain’s capital and most of all, it is a rousing rendition to the life and times of this period in history. Pearce has clearly researched the era in which she is representing thoroughly and I was impressed with the finer details, as well as the recreation of this dangerous time. Although my initial impression of this novel was one of lightness, there are moments of darkness and despair that comes hand in hand with the book’s main subject matter, war.What struck me most about this book and the enjoyment I gleaned from Dear Mrs Bird, was the agony aunt angle utilised to drive the narrative. When I stumbled on the Author’s Note at the close of this novel, I was drawn to the inspiration for Dear Mrs Bird. The author came across a women’s magazine from 1939 and amongst recipes of the time and fashions, was a problem page. This problem page and the many letters the author read following her discovery, helped Dear Mrs Bird take shape. The result is a novel that revolves around a fascinating aspect of the war. These are the forgotten fragments of the war, the happenings on the home front, with particular reference to women, that has largely been hidden. Books such as Dear Mrs Bird serve to put these aspects of war in the spotlight.Dear Mrs Bird also allowed me to consider the role of women in war time more carefully. Through the main character of Emmeline Lake, we learn a little more about life for women who stepped up in the war. For the central protagonist Emmy, life in war time is about taking charge and seizing the day. She holds down her position on the women’s magazine ‘Woman’s Friend’ by day, while at night, Emmy answers important calls for the fire service. It is these selfless and ordinary acts that many women and citizens of London took up in the face of war. Pearce helps us to understand the overwhelming feeling that many women and those left behind felt they had to do something for the war effort on the home front.The lead of Dear Mrs Bird, Emmy Lake, is a delightful young woman. Any reader that picks up this novel will find it hard not to laugh, cry and love with Emmy. Alongside Emmy sits a cast of authentic characters, from Emmy’s loveable best friend Bunny, to her boss, love interest and of course the enigmatic Mrs Bird. Pearce fills her first novel with a lively bunch of characters. The final bind they all find themselves thrust into highlights the kindness, surprising moments, friendship and heroism that defined this era.Drawing you into the portal of war time London, Dear Mrs Bird is a tale told with warmth and a genuine understanding of a turbulent time in our history books. The charming character base and the energy of the agony aunt storyline carefully balances moments of hope in the face of war.*I wish to thank Pan Macmillan for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.
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  • Cindy Burnett
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsDear Mrs. Bird is a Gem of a Book. A.J. Pearce uses a clever writing style and capitalizes the protagonist Emmy Lake’s expressions that are Important or Exciting which makes for an entertaining and enjoyable read. As the book begins in 1940 London, Emmy shows up for a newspaper interview thinking the position is for a lady war correspondent when instead the position is to sort through letters written to a Dear Abby type named Mrs. Bird. Unhappy with Mrs. Bird’s position on many of the l 4.5 starsDear Mrs. Bird is a Gem of a Book. A.J. Pearce uses a clever writing style and capitalizes the protagonist Emmy Lake’s expressions that are Important or Exciting which makes for an entertaining and enjoyable read. As the book begins in 1940 London, Emmy shows up for a newspaper interview thinking the position is for a lady war correspondent when instead the position is to sort through letters written to a Dear Abby type named Mrs. Bird. Unhappy with Mrs. Bird’s position on many of the letters she receives (and Mrs. Bird’s refusal to answer any that she deems unpleasant), Emmy decides to secretly answer some of the truly desperate letters, and the tale unfolds from there.Based on the book’s blurb, I was expecting a light-hearted read when in fact the story is thought-provoking, occasionally heart-wrenching, and simply beautiful. Pearce’s descriptions of blitzed and war torn London are so vivid that at times I felt I was right there with Emmy and her friends. The plot is Creative and Original, and I am so glad I read Dear Mrs. Bird. I highly recommend it and look forward to reading more from A.J. Pearce. I received the book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
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  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    5 incredibly enthusiastic stars for Dear Mrs. Bird. I fell in love with Emmy, Bunty, and all the other characters in this story and when I realized I'd turned the last page, I was truly disappointed to be leaving their lives. I went into this book thinking it would be light and silly, and parts of it definitely were. But what I didn't expect (and was delighted to find!) were the layers of depth beneath the top floofy veneer.Emmy, like other young women in London of 1940, is Doing Her Bit for the 5 incredibly enthusiastic stars for Dear Mrs. Bird. I fell in love with Emmy, Bunty, and all the other characters in this story and when I realized I'd turned the last page, I was truly disappointed to be leaving their lives. I went into this book thinking it would be light and silly, and parts of it definitely were. But what I didn't expect (and was delighted to find!) were the layers of depth beneath the top floofy veneer.Emmy, like other young women in London of 1940, is Doing Her Bit for the war effort by juggling a job, volunteering as a telephone operator with the Auxiliary Fire Services, and, you know, dodging bombs in nightly raids on the city by Germans. Filled with daring and adventure she responds to an ad at one of the local newspapers thinking it will be the first step on the path to her dream of becoming a Lady War Correspondent. She lands the job only to discover that instead of writing hard-hitting news articles, the position is assisting Mrs. Bird, a rather grumpy advice columnist who doesn't believe in giving advice for any topics on a rather lengthy list of Unpleasant Things. As Emmy reads through the letters from women in the mailbag to find the few that Mrs. Bird will answer, she realizes some of these women have serious problems, often terribly exacerbated by the living in wartime conditions. Heart broken by some of these letters, Emmy takes things into her own hands and starts to secretly reply to some of the letters.A.J. Pearce has written a story that fully immerses you in the time period without reading like a history book and without being as dreary and depressing as something like Kate Atkinson's Life After Life. Each of the characters has a true personality, and the story is very compelling -- I had trouble putting this book down because I wanted to keep reading. My only complaint is that there isn't a sequel that I can dive into right now -- I want more of Emmy and her pluck.Badass Female Character score: All. The. Stars. -- Emmy is strong and capable, and all the other female characters presented in this story are doing their darnedest to Keep Calm and Carry On no matter how hard the circumstances make it to do just that.Thank you to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster Canada, and the author for providing me with a free DRC of this lovely book.
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  • Rebecca Foster
    January 1, 1970
    (3.5) If you loved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I have just the book for you: another feel-good World War II-set novel with characters you’ll love and cheer for. London, December 1940: Twenty-two-year-old Emmeline Lake dreams of being a Lady War Correspondent, but for now she’ll start by typing up the letters submitted to Henrietta Bird’s advice column in Woman’s Friend. All too quickly, though, the job starts to feel too small for Emmy. Mrs. Bird refuses to print letters o (3.5) If you loved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I have just the book for you: another feel-good World War II-set novel with characters you’ll love and cheer for. London, December 1940: Twenty-two-year-old Emmeline Lake dreams of being a Lady War Correspondent, but for now she’ll start by typing up the letters submitted to Henrietta Bird’s advice column in Woman’s Friend. All too quickly, though, the job starts to feel too small for Emmy. Mrs. Bird refuses to print letters on any Unpleasant subjects, which could be anything from an inappropriate crush to anxiety. She thinks her cowardly readers bring their troubles on themselves and need to just buck up instead of looking to other people for help. (Gosh, she’d make a great U.S. Republican!) But Emmy can’t bear to throw hurting people’s missives away. Perhaps she could send them some advice of her own?Emmy shares a flat with her best friend Bunty, and they each have a fiancé who is part of the war effort. As a volunteer for the Fire Brigade, Emmy sees the effects of Luftwaffe bombings up close. But it’s only after heartache hits home for both of these young women that they really understand how much is at stake in the war. The novel got a little melodramatic for me in its last quarter, but it’s overall a charming “Keep Calm and Carry On” and Stick It to Hitler-style story that never strays far from jollity for too long.Other readalikes: My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff and The Night Watch by Sarah WatersSome favorite lines:“I told myself we could all get blown up by tomorrow so we might just as well enjoy ourselves.”“Granny didn’t spend half her life chaining herself to railings for today’s woman to moon around waiting for some chap to look after her.”
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  • ❀⊱Rory⊰❀
    January 1, 1970
    4 Stars. This one is charming.Full review to follow on March 22, 2018, two weeks before publication.Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC.
  • Antoinette
    January 1, 1970
    I really loved meeting Emmeline (Emmy) Lake and getting to know her. Her dream is to become a war correspondent, so when a job is posted for the London Evening Chronicle, she applies. The job is not quite what she had in mind. She is working for Mrs. Bird, the advice columnist for the magazine Women's Friend.The time is 1940. This is London and everyone does their part for the war effort. Emmy is no exception- she volunteers as a telephone operator with the Auxiliary Fire Services.This books giv I really loved meeting Emmeline (Emmy) Lake and getting to know her. Her dream is to become a war correspondent, so when a job is posted for the London Evening Chronicle, she applies. The job is not quite what she had in mind. She is working for Mrs. Bird, the advice columnist for the magazine Women's Friend.The time is 1940. This is London and everyone does their part for the war effort. Emmy is no exception- she volunteers as a telephone operator with the Auxiliary Fire Services.This books gives us a glimpse as to what was going on at home while the war was raging on the continent. Through Emmy and her best friend Bunty and though the letters, our eyes are opened to the feelings of those at home. This book was an absolute delight- Emmy is spunky, determined, caring and oh so lovable- I am so glad to have made her acquaintance!ARC from Netgalley. Many thanks to publisher and author.
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  • Cathy
    January 1, 1970
    Dear Mrs. Bird opens in a jolly, lively style full of ‘chin up’ and ‘stiff upper lip’ spirit – a spirit of which the domineering (and let’s be honest, quite frightful) Mrs. Henrietta Bird would be proud. As far as Mrs. Bird is concerned, any problem can be resolved by showing the right amount of grit and by not giving in. However, beneath the spirit of ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’, the book demonstrates, through the letters sent to Woman’s Friend magazine, the impact of war on people’s personal live Dear Mrs. Bird opens in a jolly, lively style full of ‘chin up’ and ‘stiff upper lip’ spirit – a spirit of which the domineering (and let’s be honest, quite frightful) Mrs. Henrietta Bird would be proud. As far as Mrs. Bird is concerned, any problem can be resolved by showing the right amount of grit and by not giving in. However, beneath the spirit of ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’, the book demonstrates, through the letters sent to Woman’s Friend magazine, the impact of war on people’s personal lives. ‘Women whose worlds had been turned upside down by war, who missed their husbands, or got lonely and fell in love with the wrong man Or who were just young and naive and had their heads turned in a trying time.’ Not just the constant air raids and the rationing but the displacement, separation and loneliness, life plans are changed – engagements, marriages, even conceptions delayed or brought forward - because who knows what tomorrow will bring or if there will even be one? Emmy’s friendship with Bunty is what helps her get through the days – that and the occasional luxury of a Garibaldi biscuit, a fig roll or a bath in more than an inch of lukewarm water. But as events unfold, that friendship will be tested. The reader is transported to a time when people still wrote letters and used them to express their feelings. As Emmy notes, ‘I could see people were ever so frank when they wrote in, which I thought was quite brave.’ The importance of letters to those serving away from home comes across clearly, providing those receiving them with details of ‘normal life’ to which they can cling; a reminder of what they are fighting for.The resilience shown by Emmy, her friends and work colleagues reminds us of the courage and fortitude of the people of London during the blitz. ‘Mother always worried about how we kept going. I had no idea. We just did.’ Oh, and the often underappreciated role of tea in sustaining the war effort. Humour as well plays a key role in maintaining morale and there are some very funny bits in the book, such as Bunty’s and Emmy’s plan to use the hideous globe-shaped drinks cabinet bequeathed to them by Bunty’s grandmother as an offensive weapon. ‘Bunty and I had decided that if the Germans invaded London and broke in, we would push it down the stairs at them. The full extent of the British Empire was featured in a rather confident orange and we thought that would make them wonderfully cross.’ Dear Mrs. Bird also acts as a reminder of the important role played by women in World War 2 – manning fire station telephones (like Emmy), acting as dispatch riders and couriers, serving in the Women’s Voluntary Service, Red Cross, Land Army and so much more. And that constant danger wasn’t only faced by those serving on the front line but by men who served in the Fire Service and Bomb Disposal on the home front. As the book progresses, the tone changes and darkness comes, showing the true costs of war, the horrors of the blitz (‘noise was coming from everywhere at once, as if we were being eaten by the very sound itself’) and the fact that sometimes ‘carrying on’ just isn’t enough. ‘Stiff upper lips and getting on with things were all very well, but sometimes there was nothing to do but admit that things were quite simply awful. War was foul and appalling and unfair.’This makes it sound like Dear Mrs. Bird is a depressing book; far from it. It is funny, charming and heart-warming. The narrative voice sets the tone of the book delightfully: ‘The sun had pulled its socks up and was making a good effort in the almost cloudless winter sky’. However, I liked that the author wasn’t afraid to feature darker moments amongst the light-hearted elements (because, of course, the cloudless winter sky just mentioned would be a gift to the Luftwaffe bombers.) I received an advance reader copy courtesy of NetGalley and publishers, Picador, in return for an honest and unbiased review.
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  • Tania
    January 1, 1970
    This was a very sweet story set in WWII. Initially I thought this was too sweet for my taste, but because the author did such a brilliant job with creating a sense of time and place I stuck with it. I am very glad I did, as the characters were warm and funny and in the end I understood that what I saw as sweetness was how the British nation survived the daily attacks, fear and loss. So although not my normal genre I loved learning more about this part of the war effort. Would make a wonderful mo This was a very sweet story set in WWII. Initially I thought this was too sweet for my taste, but because the author did such a brilliant job with creating a sense of time and place I stuck with it. I am very glad I did, as the characters were warm and funny and in the end I understood that what I saw as sweetness was how the British nation survived the daily attacks, fear and loss. So although not my normal genre I loved learning more about this part of the war effort. Would make a wonderful movie.The Story: Dear Mrs Bird is set in wartime London in 1941. The plot follows protagonist Emmeline Lake who, amid the falling bombs, dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent. However, instead finds herself employed as a typist for the formidable Henrietta Bird, the renowned agony aunt of Woman’s Day magazine. Mrs Bird is so resolutely against any form of Unpleasantness that she dismisses letters from the lovelorn, grief-stricken or morally conflicted in favour of those who feel their ankles are unsightly or have had trouble untangling a length of wool. But Emmy can’t bear to think of women with genuine fears and worries going unanswered, and soon decides the only thing for it is to write back secretly...
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  • Trevor
    January 1, 1970
    2 underwhelming stars I picked up this book based solely on the fact that the author wrote it after she came across some magazine advice articles from 1939. Thinking what a wonderful idea it was, I knew I had to immediately read it. I tore through this in a few sittings, but unfortunately it wasn't because I enjoyed it. I had high hopes that something, anything had to happen, but alas, I was wrong. The part I was most excited for was discussed for the most part & although it did show a few o 2 underwhelming stars I picked up this book based solely on the fact that the author wrote it after she came across some magazine advice articles from 1939. Thinking what a wonderful idea it was, I knew I had to immediately read it. I tore through this in a few sittings, but unfortunately it wasn't because I enjoyed it. I had high hopes that something, anything had to happen, but alas, I was wrong. The part I was most excited for was discussed for the most part & although it did show a few of the letters/Emmy's responses, it always felt like a quick, surface glance. There were no intimate details of Emmy trying to search for an appropriate reply, if the letters got under her skin & made her think about the authors long after, following up with them (okay I realize I'm pushing it now, but still). This part was always at a distance, & it almost felt like an afterthought inserted between her personal life to remind the reader that the letters were still on her mind. I feel that this is more of the milder side of WWII historical fiction, where descriptions of the war are explained to an extent, but no graphic details are given. In a way, I have mixed feelings here because I always like my historical to be historical. No, I'm not asking for a textbook or to interweave spitball facts through character's narratives. I just wish more of the emotions were expressed through letters or shown through other events because aside from a couple major ones, we get discussions of things happening but nothing is really felt. Again, this is just me being picky. It's a "fluffier" read, but I'm certain other readers will have no problems enjoying this despise my personal gripes. And I'm sorry, but what is it with that awful capitalization? Pearce decides to try a clever writing style & capitalizes Emmy's emotions/what I'm assuming to be 1940s lingo? I just found it really distracting & trying way too hard to make something original out of a trite novel. Emmy did get on my nerves a few times. She was naïve & selfishly stubborn, especially when she put her own feelings ahead of her best friend. She got a light sentence for what she did, which shouldn't have surprised me because pretty much all of these books have happy endings, but I expected more hurdles before everyone forgave her. It was a "good-feel" read, but definitely one without any substance which was such a letdown. The only part I did like was towards the end, when we are finally starting to see the facades of so many women start to crumble down, & we truly see what the price of bravery has cost us. I found this an inspiring message- this is what I wanted to see throughout the book- because it is okay to be afraid! Pearce could have taken this a step further & banded like-minded women together, through Emmy's/Mrs. Bird's column & they could have acknowledged that fear & used it to help the troops & in turn, help themselves & their families. Now that would have been something original.I'm in the minority in this one. There are times when this is charming; I just prefer my reads to be memorable & meaningful, neither of which I can associate with this book. But it's a nice summer read filled with friendship, romance & mistakes. Recommended if you're big on WWII historical fic.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Words Cannot Do Justice . . . all I can say is that this is a Must Read of the Highest Order. My sister discovered this book in the Heathrow Airport bookshop as we were leaving Jolly Old England after a Madcap Two Week Holiday, and read it on the flight, alternately laughing and crying, then immediately passed it to me. It is Our New Favorite, and is the book I will be evangelizing this year to my friends and giving out as a Christmas gift. Shades of two Old Favorites: Where'd You Go, Bernadette Words Cannot Do Justice . . . all I can say is that this is a Must Read of the Highest Order. My sister discovered this book in the Heathrow Airport bookshop as we were leaving Jolly Old England after a Madcap Two Week Holiday, and read it on the flight, alternately laughing and crying, then immediately passed it to me. It is Our New Favorite, and is the book I will be evangelizing this year to my friends and giving out as a Christmas gift. Shades of two Old Favorites: Where'd You Go, Bernadette? and Blackout/All Clear, but that really is All I Can Say.
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  • MaryBeth's Bookshelf
    January 1, 1970
    Emmeline Lake wants nothing more than to be useful and help with the war efforts in London 1940. She already works as a volunteer operator for the fire department when she lands a job at the London Evening Chronicle. She imagines she will be writing stories that informs the public about the war efforts, however, she quickly finds out that she will be the secretary of Mrs. Bird, the advice columnist. Mrs. Bird has a *long* list of unacceptable topics that she will not respond to and Emmy can't he Emmeline Lake wants nothing more than to be useful and help with the war efforts in London 1940. She already works as a volunteer operator for the fire department when she lands a job at the London Evening Chronicle. She imagines she will be writing stories that informs the public about the war efforts, however, she quickly finds out that she will be the secretary of Mrs. Bird, the advice columnist. Mrs. Bird has a *long* list of unacceptable topics that she will not respond to and Emmy can't help but reach out to a few of the writers with her own advice; signing Mrs. Bird's name to the letters. I couldn't help but fall in love with Emmy and her friends Bunty, Will, Roy, and Katherine. A.J. Pearce's debut novel is a delight. I laughed and cried for these characters, who began to feel like old friends.
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  • Laura Kemp
    January 1, 1970
    Dear Mrs Bird is simply gorgeous. It’s a war time romp of mishaps, comedy, fun and tragedy, spun deliciously as if it was made for a series. It’s perfect pick-you-up reading with compassion at its heart. A joy to read. I’d love to see it turned into a TV drama too.
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  • Anmiryam
    January 1, 1970
    As you might expect, this was sweet, charming, more than a bit twee and I consumed the whole thing in a plane ride and a bit. I always read novels like this, which confirms my status as a less than literary reader. I bet, however, you have dirty little secrets of a less than highbrow life. Do you watch The Bachelor? Do you binge on HGTV? I'm sure not everything you read is on a par with Ali Smith (who is awesome). So there it is, you watch silly TV or aimlessly troll the web for videos of cats w As you might expect, this was sweet, charming, more than a bit twee and I consumed the whole thing in a plane ride and a bit. I always read novels like this, which confirms my status as a less than literary reader. I bet, however, you have dirty little secrets of a less than highbrow life. Do you watch The Bachelor? Do you binge on HGTV? I'm sure not everything you read is on a par with Ali Smith (who is awesome). So there it is, you watch silly TV or aimlessly troll the web for videos of cats while I read twee English novels set during the blitz. All I can say, Pearce's novel is far, far better than the Bachelor -- if for no other reason than the Bachelors on the show are static chatacters, but the heroine of Pearce's debut, Emmeline, evolves, developing a greater sense of empathy as her noble misdeeds lead to misunderstandings, new chances at love, and a thawing of the illusion of English stoicism. If you like this sort of read, you will enjoy DEAR MRS. BIRD. If you don't you won't, but I am quite sure I know there are a lot of readers who will leave you to watch bad reality TV alone while they spend a few twee, nostalgic hours with Emmy and her best friend, Bunty.
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  • Rona
    January 1, 1970
    Oh this is a truly lovely book. The sort of book you want to cuddle. It made me laugh and cry and laugh again. The characters were beautifully drawn and very relateable, the story was wonderfully original and the setting was brilliantly constructed. It is set at the start of WWII and follows the fortunes of Emmy, a young woman, who starts a job as an assistant to an agony aunt in a failing magazine. Through readers letters and Emmy's own experiences, you really get a feel for what life was like, Oh this is a truly lovely book. The sort of book you want to cuddle. It made me laugh and cry and laugh again. The characters were beautifully drawn and very relateable, the story was wonderfully original and the setting was brilliantly constructed. It is set at the start of WWII and follows the fortunes of Emmy, a young woman, who starts a job as an assistant to an agony aunt in a failing magazine. Through readers letters and Emmy's own experiences, you really get a feel for what life was like, the pain of separation, the terror of the bombing and the need To Keep Your Chin Up and Crack On, regardless. Having said that, this is, on the whole a cheerful book, with a heart-warming theme. The author has such a talent for describing awkward moments with an understated charm, it made me laugh out loud. I loved her use of language and the way she capitalised the sayings of the time. Utterly delightful.My thanks to Net Galley, Pan MacMillan and the author for an ARC copy in return for an honest review.
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  • Karen Whittard
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely loved this quirky, fun read. In this book we meet Emmeline who quits her job as a waitress to become a lady war correspondence. But when she applies for a job and gets it. Things are not quite what they seem. She has unwittingly taken a job to be a helper to a contacetous Mrs Bird. Who writes a self help column. But Mrs bird refuses to answer any letters relating to lots of subjects that she finds risqué. Deciding to take matters into her own hands Emmeline starts writing back to al I absolutely loved this quirky, fun read. In this book we meet Emmeline who quits her job as a waitress to become a lady war correspondence. But when she applies for a job and gets it. Things are not quite what they seem. She has unwittingly taken a job to be a helper to a contacetous Mrs Bird. Who writes a self help column. But Mrs bird refuses to answer any letters relating to lots of subjects that she finds risqué. Deciding to take matters into her own hands Emmeline starts writing back to all the letters. Soon the magazine is booming like never before. But Emmeline love life is just getting more and more complicated. This feel good read should be on everyone’s to read list and I am sure that it will be spoken about everywhere when it is released in 2018. I loved it.
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  • Jess
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely enjoyed this one. I couldn't put it down and even when I had to, I was still thinking about the story. I will be recommending this one often!
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