Published by Picador Books
Released June 24th
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.
Like many others I adored reading Dear Mrs Bird. The wonderful characters and brilliant friendships that featured in this book came to life on the page, so when I heard that this new book by the author follows some of those characters into the next chapter of their lives I couldn’t wait to read a copy.
Following the departure of Mrs Bird, the start of the novel fills the reader in on the new structure of The Women’s Friend Magazine. Mr Collins (Guy) is now Editor, Mrs Mahoney takes on the Help Column and it is much to Emmy’s relief that she is given another go at working on the regular slot, of replying to the letters received from it’s readers and we are introduced and reintroduced to the rest of the team. Emmy and Charles have grown even closer and Bunty is still recovering from the traumatic events which befelled her in Dear Mrs Bird.
The authors style of writing had that warm feeling for the characters soon returned back to me and it was as if I was just reading on from the previous book.
In this new novel, the Ministry of Information calls on women’s magazines to help them recruit more female workers to the factories etc, as much needed help and supplies is needed to help the men out fighting. Mr Collins asks Emmy to accompany him to the first meeting and Emmy immediately knows this is something she can really get her teeth into and not only help, but prove to herself and others that she can be a real journalist. But when she meets a young women called Anne and the others at the Chandlers factory, Emmy is soon shown that recruitment isn’t really the main problem for many female workers.
Meanwhile we still get to read of the personnel lives of the characters as the author yet again does a marvellous job of portraying relationships at this time in history. The feel of the city, rationing and the wonderful vocabulary used make for a super read, and one which I very much enjoyed.
The book highlights the facts of what it was like for women to work in the second world war and uses it’s characters to really bring home the difficulties they faced. Once again the author really describes the emotions and fears people had at this time, particularly with family and loved ones and that ever present fear of if they will see them again.
As before we learn of some of the worries and problems women faced through their letters to the magazine but also follow the characters as they experience little rays of light at this dark time.
A warm and wonderful read.
Many thanks to Camilla Elworthy at Picador Books for sending me this proof copy. And a quick shout out to the beautiful sprayed edge version I’ve seen, which, if there are any left, will definitely be landing in by basket!