Hooray – Emmy Lake is back Doing Her Bit for the war effort, continuing with her advice column and getting more involved with writing articles for the Woman’s Friend weekly magazine, while also putting in some shifts at the fire station. I so enjoyed Dear Mrs Bird and was pleased to discover that there was to be more about young Emmy. It’s publication day today, so congratulations to the author AJ Pearce.
It was lovely to be back with Emmy and the staff at the Woman’s Friend magazine, though I was not sorry to see the back of Mrs Bird. Emmy is a fabulous character who really cares about the people who write in for advice and wants to help everyone – an impossible task really but admirable. She’s not quite doing the war correspondent work she hoped she would be but she is still Doing Her Bit. In this book, she is given more responsibility and is tasked with writing articles to encourage women to take up war work. As she gets to know these women though, she realises there is a big problem for women who want to work, indeed who need to work, but who need childcare. She is torn between writing the articles required by the Ministry and supporting her new friends.
I really enjoyed the style of the writing in this book. It is quite formal, fitting well with the style of the time, and yet it’s also warm with gentle humour. The use of capital letters to show when something is Really Rather Important made me smile. I don’t want to say too much for fear of rather spoiling things – careless talk and all that you know. However, I so enjoyed reading about the friendship and resilience of the women munitions workers and the way they supported each other in such difficult and worrying times.
I can see this book making a lovely film and in my mind, Emmy would have to be played by Lily James! The closing scenes in particular were so heart-warming and I could picture them so clearly. Yours Cheerfully is quirky and charming, a gentle and enjoyable foray into the past. I’m looking forward to catching up with Emmy again and the book certainly ended in a way which suggests there is more to come. Yours Cheerfully is Really, Rather Good!
My thanks to the publishers Picador for my review copy from Netgalley. Yours Cheerfully is out today in hardback and ebook formats. You should be able to get your copy from your usual book retailer or you will find buying options on the Pan Macmillan website here: Yours Cheerfully
From the back of the book
London, September, 1941.
Following the departure of the formidable Editor, 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 is blossoming, while Emmy’s best friend Bunty, is still reeling from the very worst of the Blitz, but 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.
Every bit as funny, touching and cheering as AJ Pearce’s debut, Dear Mrs Bird, Yours Cheerfully is a celebration of friendship, a testament to the strength of women and the importance of lifting each other up, even in the most challenging times.
About the Author
AJ Pearce is the author of the Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller DEAR MRS BIRD, which was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick and shortlisted for Debut of the Year at the 2019 British Book Awards. It has been translated into fifteen languages and optioned for development for TV.
Born in Hampshire, her favourite subjects at school were English and History, which now (finally!) seems to be making some sense.
Her new novel, YOURS CHEERFULLY is the sequel to Dear Mrs Bird.
AJ is currently researching her third novel.
Follow AJ on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: @ajpearcewrites.