Dear Mrs Bird by A. J. Pearce @ajpearcewrites @picadorbooks #DearMrsBird #BookReview

img_8588Picador Books April 2018

London 1941

Emmerline Lake and her best friend Bunty are trying to stay cheerful despite the Luftwaffe making life thoroughly annoying for everyone.  Emmy dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent and when she spots a job advertisement in the newspaper she seizes her chance – but after a rather unfortunate misunderstanding, she finds herself typing letters for the formidable Henrietta Bird, the renowned agony aunt of Woman’s Friend magazine.

Mrs Bird is very clear; letters containing any form of Unpleasantness must go straight into the bin.  But as Emmy reads the desperate please from women who may have Gone Too Far with the wrong man, or can’t bear to let their children be evacuated, she decides  the only thing for it is to secretly write back…

Irresistibly funny and enormously moving, Dear Mrs Bird is a love letter to the enduring power of friendship, the kindness of strangers and the courage of ordinary people in extraordinary times.

My Thoughts

This book had been on my radar a while prior to me actually buying it.  I do enjoy Historical Fiction especially that set during World War 2.  Equally as a teenager the problem pages were a popular feature in my magazines of choice – Jackie, Just 17 etc and provided a wealth of information and at times amusement to my teenage self!

Dear Mrs Bird is the story of Emmy an enthusiastic young woman trying to remain positive and make a contribution to the war time effort.  While the main premise centres around Emmy’s exploits within the offices of Women’s Friend, specifically her stealthy letter writing under the guise of the formidable Mrs Bird, this book offers so much more than this.  The letters are enlightening in terms of the experiences and concerns of women in 1940s England, equally enlightening is Emmy’s stance as a young woman who encapsulates (I think) a typical woman of the time.  With strong moral foundations Mrs Bird and Emmy share some beliefs, although Emmy is more liberal in her views generally.

Within the story we meet Emmy’s best friend Bunty.  Both women are dating and again the story explores the challenges of relationships during the war.  The author captures well some of the horrors of living during the blitz and being out, possibly returning home during the air raid strike.  This aspect was something I hadn’t considered and I was struck with the notion of how life goes on.  The author plays on the stoic nature of the British, the ‘keep calm and carry on’, the desire to not show defeat.  And while this alongside the absence of Unpleasantness embodies the approach of Mrs Bird, Emmy shows a softer side, an appreciation of how hard life can be, with explosions every night, the loss and fear a part of everyday life.  Told in an entertaining way, in the first person narrative the author uses language and dialogue of the time, which keeps the book light and entertaining while dealing with some very sad issues.

This was a very pleasant read, it was ‘nice’ in the way I expected it to be but to be fair it was also so much more than that in terms of a terrific insight into the experiences of women on the homefront during World War 2.  Recommended by me.

Will you be reading this book?  Or have you already read it?

Thanks as always for stopping by and reading.


3 thoughts on “Dear Mrs Bird by A. J. Pearce @ajpearcewrites @picadorbooks #DearMrsBird #BookReview

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