By A.J. Pearce
Everyone has been wondering if ‘Yours Cheerfully’ would or even could live up to expectations, after such a fabulous debut – Dear Mrs Bird. I say it absolutely does. Friendships, challenges to overcome, it’s a busy, team at the office.
Find out more in the blurb and my full review. I thank Camilla Elworthy at Pan MacMillan for gifting me a physical proof copy.
The Times Top Ten Bestseller
From the internationally bestselling author of Dear Mrs Bird comes Yours Cheerfully, the charming and hilarious tonic we’ve all been waiting for!
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.
Yours Cheerfully is heartwarming sequel to the hugely popular “Dear Mrs Bird” and takes readers back to the magazine and editorial work of “Women’s Friend”. Mrs Henrietta Bird has left, leaving Mrs Mahoney, Mr Collins, Kathleen and Emmie to work out what to do. I like that there is a bit of background to Mrs Bird by way of her staff’s opinions of her personality. It will refresh memories of that first book and will also maybe pique people’s interest in picking up “Dear Mrs Bird”, if they pick this one up first. I must say that I love the setting and premise. It brings a different perspective to this era.
Trying to find a predecessor proves to be challenging as people shy away from writing the column, but Emmeline Lake (Emmy) steps up to take the mantle and it becomes “Yours Cheerfully”. As the magazine progresses, it is great to see the enthusiasm and ideas growing in the team. I love that from what seems like a small idea, grows and there’s an energy about it. This, I relate to, along with the pace of making things happen. It also adds excitement to the book.
The cosyness of the magazine, that also gives both a community and worldy and friendship feel to it, as well as some romance, is however, surrounded by the cold, hard truths of the blitz. There is however much to smile and be cheerful about and much that will give a more than satisfied feeling inside!
There are letters that the editor recieves, here and there in the book, which gives insight into people outside the magazine and also what this section of the magazine is all about. It also takes up the challenge and important, yet exciting opportunity to assist in the war effort and readers can also see the optimism build and there’s a certain amount of resilience and getting on with the job attitude, as well as kindness shown, that really speaks of a different era, a different generation, that brings something heartwarming at work, in friendship and in pulling together to help at a difficult time. There’s also some romance that’ll make people smile, in the offering too, as well as some humour.
So, was the long-awaited follow-up to “Dear Mrs Bird” worth the wait? Absolutely and I highly recommend sitting back with copy and allow yourself to sink into this wonderful book of delightful escapism and allow yourself to travel to a time when letters and telegrams were much more a thing. It’s all cosily wrapped up with a dose of realism inside.