Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce
Emmeline Lake is doing her part for the war effort working the phones at the Auxiliary Fire Services but she wants to do more. Her dream is to become a war correspondent so when she sees the advertisement for a job at the London Evening Chronicle she leaps at the opportunity without asking too many questions during the interview. On her first day of work she is stunned to learn that she will be typing up the correspondence for Mrs. Henrietta Bird the advice columnist for a women’s magazine. Mrs. Bird is a woman of a prior age who refuses to read, much less answer, any letter containing even a hint of unpleasantness. It seems that everything is unpleasant to Mrs. Bird. Reading the “unpleasant” letters Emmy learns about women who are hurting and reaching out to a stranger for advice and being met with silence. She can’t bear it and starts answering as Mrs. Bird. How long will it be before she is found out?
Emmy is a delight and her gentle meddling reminded me very much of Austen’s Emma even though matchmaking was not the focus of her advice. She is a very caring woman but living in the Blitz she does experience tragedy and we experience the roller coaster of emotions with her over the course of her story. The characters are well drawn and you feel like you’re right beside Emmy walking through war torn London.
A heart-warming view of wartime London with a focus on the people left behind, especially women, who are trying to keep their chin up but sometimes falter and how that is really quite okay.