Book Review: Dear Mrs Bird by A.J Pearce

What’s it about?

London, 1941. Emmeline 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 pleas 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 . . .

My thoughts

I’d seen some promotional tweets about this book so was delighted to have been sent one, upon request, from Camilla at Pan Macmillan/Picador.

Mrs Bird is quite the character and very marmite, you’ll either love her or…not! Agony Aunt of the 40s she’ll only deal with the ‘nicer’ letters and nothing which involves any impropriety which winds Emmy up and sets her on another path.

This is a great story about the roles women had to play during war time, the power of friendship in the face of adversity and trying to do the right thing, even if that ends up with you being in hot water!  Don’t misjudge the cover, as it is set during war time it’s not all sweetness and light!

I thought the writing was very good, apt for its time, and that the author was able to convey the required sense of place and era.  It’s so terribly British and stiff upper lipped but I’m not sure on the Capitalisation of Emmy’s Thoughts and Opinions.  In places, I quite liked it as it made sentences etc stand out but after a while it did grate a little.

Read if you enjoyed 89 Charing Cross Road and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.  For fans of the dying art of letter writing!

After finishing the book I went on to watch Their Finest on Netflix which is also set at the start of the Second World War.  Although it was a completely different story and format, it kind of brought Dear Mrs Bird more alive for me and I could visualise Emmy walking the bombed streets of London.

And then…whilst I was away recently in Suffolk, I visited Lavenham Guildhall, where one of their exhibitions was of WWII items.  Some photos are below, again, these reminded me of Dear Mrs Bird.  Testament that books and characters stay with you long after you finish the book!

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Author links: Website | Twitter

Small print for info
Source: ARC – many thanks!
No of pages: 320
Publisher: Picador

8 Comments

  1. 12th May 2018 / 10:39 am

    This sounds rather fun – I’ll keep an eye out for it. I’m a great fan of the Provincial Lady, and this looks as if it might be the same sort of tone.

    • Lindsay | Bookboodle
      Author
      12th May 2018 / 8:16 pm

      I’d heard of Provincial Lady so have just googled it to find out more. If you like this then I think you’ll like Dear Mrs Bird too 🙂
      #TalkoftheTown

  2. 12th May 2018 / 1:32 pm

    I have see this book about on Twitter too, but didn’t know what it was about. I’m not a fan of books set during wartime, but I love the sound of the agony aunt part.
    Amanda #ToTT.

    • Lindsay | Bookboodle
      Author
      12th May 2018 / 8:18 pm

      This one may not be the book for you then Amanda as wartime is heavily featured! You can’t win them all 🙂
      #TalkoftheTown

  3. 13th May 2018 / 6:58 am

    I’ve seen this title a lot in Twitter too, with very positive comments. It sounds like something I would enjoy too, as The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is one of my favourite reads. Very curious about The Finest too. Thanks for the tip!

    • Lindsay | Bookboodle
      Author
      13th May 2018 / 7:13 pm

      I loved Guernsey too and am desperate to see the new movie!

  4. 13th May 2018 / 8:27 am

    Must admit I was tempted with this one Lindsay. Sounds like I would really enjoy it! Love how real life kind of tied in with the story 🙂

    • Lindsay | Bookboodle
      Author
      13th May 2018 / 7:12 pm

      I think you’d enjoy it too Shaz! I can send you my proof if you’d like it 🙂

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