Today, I’m reviewing both Dear Mrs. Bird and Yours Cheerfully from A.J. Pearce’s Emmy Lake Chronicles. Stick around to find out which one I liked more than the other!
Dear Mrs. Bird Summary
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 smoldering 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.
Yours Cheerfully Summary
London, November 1941. Following the departure of the formidable Henrietta Bird from Woman’s Friend magazine, things are looking up for Emmeline Lake as she takes on the challenge of becoming a young wartime advice columnist. Her relationship with boyfriend Charles (now stationed back in the UK) is blossoming, while Emmy’s best friend Bunty, still reeling from the very worst of the Blitz, is bravely looking to the future. Together, the friends are determined to Make a Go of It.
When the Ministry of Information calls on Britain’s women’s magazines to help recruit desperately needed female workers to the war effort, Emmy is thrilled to be asked to step up and help. But when she and Bunty meet a young woman who shows them the very real challenges that women war workers face, Emmy must tackle a life-changing dilemma between doing her duty and standing by her friends.
When I found out I would be able to receive an ARC of Yours Cheerfully in exchange for an honest review, I decided that I’d read Dear Mrs. Bird first. Although it’s possible for Yours Cheerfully to stand alone, I definitely think reading them in order helped me enjoy the second one more. Although it goes over some of the big points of what happened in Mrs. Bird, I’m glad I read it first.
When I started Dear Mrs. Bird, I had a little bit of a hard time at first getting into the writing style. It’s different than what I’ve read in historical fiction before. The author chooses to capitalize some things, and that’s a style that put me off a little. For instance, Emmy might explain something as “having become Quite the Big Thing.” However, as I kept reading, I got more used to it and it didn’t bother me quite so much. Still, the grammarian in me had kind of a hard time!
The plot was really light to begin with, but it got deeper and less fluffy for sure. Still, even when the subject matter got heavy with war fallout, Emmy is so good-natured and talks in such a…sweet? way that it’s heavy without feeling too gloomy.
Overall, I found Dear Mrs. Bird light, yet it tackles difficult subject matter. The portrayal of friendship was so heartwarming, it was just a fun read. I gave it 4.5 stars overall.
Yours Cheerfully had the same feel to it, and the same style. The same capitalizations. I once again enjoyed Emmy’s spirit, but unfortunately I didn’t end up loving this one as much as Dear Mrs. Bird.
While the story focused a lot of women’s empowerment, which was fun to read, it didn’t get as serious as Mrs. Bird. It just stayed on the light side of things for me the whole time.
And because it stayed light, I have to admit I got a little bit bored. I felt invested in the story and liked it enough to keep going, but I was somewhat disappointed.
So for ratings, I gave Dear Mrs. Bird 4.5 stars and Yours Cheerfully 3. If you’re a historical fiction lover, definitely pick up Dear Mrs. Bird! But I’ll leave Yours Cheerfully up to you.