- Title and author: Dear Mrs. Bird by A. J. Pearce
- Publisher: Scribner
- Date of publication: July 3, 2018
- Pages: 288
- Genre: historical fiction
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 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.
MEET 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.
A delightful and witty piece of historical fiction which will have you both laughing and crying. Emmy is an aspiring girl war correspondent who leaves her job as a secretary at a law firm to work for a newspaper. Her dreams are dashed when she discovers that she is merely a typist for Mrs. Bird, an overbearing and imperious ladies columnist writer who brooks no “unpleasantness” in her column. As Emmy reads the letters sent into the paper, she feels impelled to respond to these heartfelt requests. But she hadn’t counted on the consequences her actions would eventually bring. Funny, poignant and touching, this novel will soon become one of your favourites.
If you enjoyed reading “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” then you will fall in love with “Dear Mrs. Bird”. I would love to see a sequel to this story.