Review published on March 5, 2018.
Events surrounding the Second World War have featured prominently in art and film recently. Books have not been neglected, often with the theme of women who are left on the homefront fighting other issues whilst men are on the frontline.
In this debut novel, A.J. Pearce uses her journalistic knowledge to provide aspiring Lady War Correspondent Emmy Lake with the chance of a lifetime to work at the Evening Chronicle when she sees a job as a junior advertised. But, attending the interview, she discovers she’s to be employed at Women’s Friend magazine assisting Mrs Bird dealing with the problem page letters.
Mrs Bird hates ‘unpleasantness’ and frankly any serious problems most of the writers send in, preferring her no-nonsense approach and slightly gung-ho manner. Soon Emmy is writing her own replies, threatening her employment and her friendships.
She also volunteers at the Auxiliary Fire Service where colleagues are under bombardment and danger from Hitler’s Blitz bombs in London.
Although it appears lighthearted at the start, the novel pulls no punches in terms of the reality of war and the devastating effects it can have on those trapped under an attack.
While I didn’t picture Emmy in my mind, many of the other characters jumped off the page for me, especially Bunty, Mrs Bird and Mr Collins. It’s already receiving a lot of positive feedback from reviewers.
There is interest for many book clubs here and it makes a highly entertaining personal read.
Philipa Coughlan 3/4
Dear Mrs Bird by A.J. Pearce
Picador 9781509853892 hbk 5 Apr