Posts Tagged ‘A. J. Pearce’

‘Yours Cheerfully’ by A. J. Pearce – The Title Says It All


‘Yours Cheerfully’ by A. J. Pearce    (2021) – 291 pages


In this world where there are so many unresolved problems, it is easy to be dismissive of a novel so relentlessly upbeat as ‘Yours Cheerfully’. However during devastating times such as World War II in England, perhaps remaining upbeat is the best strategy.

‘Dear Mrs. Bird’ was great fun, and now, yes, its sequel ‘Cheerfully Yours’ is more of the same.

This novel jauntily steamrolls over any and all difficulties whether they are obnoxious plant managers, wartime fatalities, arriving late for your own wedding, insufferably cute kids, or plot inconsistencies. The title ‘Cheerfully Yours’ is quite appropriate.

We are back with Emmy and Bunty and their friends and family in London during World War II. It is late summer of 1941. The terrible Blitz bombings have finally ended, but the country is fully engaged in defeating Hitler and Nazi Germany. Most of the able-bodied men are off fighting, so the government is trying to recruit women to work in the factories. The magazine where Emmy works as a writer, Woman’s Friend, wants to help with this industrial recruitment of women, so Emmy gets an assignment to interview the women who work in the munitions factory, Chandlers. Of course Emmy and even her friend Bunty become great friends with these women as well as their children including one cute, cute four-year kid named Ruby.

However neither the companies nor the government has made any provisions for childcare for these women. The companies were all gung ho about hiring women to work in the factories since they paid them less than the men doing the same work. Some days when no one was available to take care of a woman’s little children, she would bring them to work. The male managers would see the kids playing in the hallway, get upset, and fire the woman. When one of Emmy’s new-found friends is fired for bringing her children to work, Emmy is of course devastated.

To win the war, we’re asking, please,

Help us get our nurseries.”

Emmy’s boss at the Woman’s Friend magazine where she works as a writer is Mr. Collins who is about the same age as Emmy’s parents. Emmy’s boyfriend Charles Mayhew is Mr. Collins’ brother. Charles Mayhew is either much older than Emmy or there is a 20-year gap in the ages between the two brothers. I suppose back in the 1940s, it may not have been so unusual to have a 20-year gap between brothers’ ages. But then why do the brothers have different last names? A little explanation would have been helpful, but I suppose the explanation could have been in ‘Dear Mrs. Bird’, and I don’t remember it.

Meanwhile Emmy gets engaged to her boyfriend Charles, and she and her friends must plan a wedding quickly before Charles gets sent off to fight. And guess who is to be the littlest bridesmaid? You guessed it, Ruby.

It is all entirely predictable, but still fun as Emmy’s and A. J. Pearce’s cheerful and upbeat spirits carry the day during this devastating time.


Grade:     B+




‘Dear Mrs. Bird’ by A. J. Pearce – Advice to Londoners During The Blitz

‘Dear Mrs. Bird’ by A. J. Pearce (2018) – 276 pages

‘Dear Mrs. Bird’ tells the moving story of young 23 year-old Emmeline Lake (‘Emmy’) during the time of The Blitz in London in 1940. The Blitz was Germany and Hitler’s all-out air bombing campaign against England. The German bombing campaign started out to be the bombing of only strategic targets but the bomb dropping was inaccurate, and civilian areas accidentally were bombed. By 1940 the deranged madman Hitler had decided that the terror bombing of London civilians might be useful for his goal of getting England to surrender.

Emmy has two jobs. During the day she works as an assistant to Mrs. Bird who writes a women’s advice column for the Woman’s Friend Magazine. At night she works at the fire station taking calls for the Fire Brigade which must deal with the on-ground devastation of Germany’s bombs.

There are obviously times when ‘Dear Mrs. Bird’ is necessarily heartbreaking but with all the death and destruction around them, living well is even more precious for these young people like Emmy and her friend Bunty. We have the camaraderie, the dances, the boyfriends, the weddings. ‘Dear Mrs. Bird’ is a surprisingly high-spirited read.

The advice columnist Emmy works for during the day, Mrs. Bird, is definitely old school. She will allow nothing concerning “intimate relations” or any other “unpleasantness” in her column. Emmy is supposed to cut up and throw away any letters that contain any mention of these things. As Emmy reads these plaintive letters about the real problems these women are facing in their personal lives, she decides to write to these women herself giving advice, and she signs them “Mrs. Bird”.

I could see people were ever so frank when they wrote in, which I thought really quite brave. Some of them sounded in a real fix. … Things were difficult for everyone at the moment, and I did think it was poor of Mrs. Bird not to write back.”

Since Mrs. Bird doesn’t read the finished magazine, Emmy sneaks some of these letters and her replies into the magazine itself. Emmy also softens some of Mrs. Bird’s more brusque replies.

The papers and radio and even magazines like ours went on about pluck and bravery and spirit,” she says. “How often did anyone ever tell women they were doing a good job? That they didn’t have to be made of steel all the time? That it was all right to feel a bit down?”

I was fully on board with this novel, totally engaged. When I picked up the novel again after temporarily stopping reading it, I was again right away involved because this story really meant something to me. That is probably the best thing I can say about any novel.

‘Dear Mrs. Bird’ is an irresistible tremendously moving story, and I strongly recommend it.


Grade : A+


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