AJ Pearce’s debut novel Dear Mrs. Bird is a touching look into the lives of several twenty-somethings living in London amidst the blitz of 1940. The protagonist Emmy Lake has always wanted to enter the exciting world of journalism, and with the war on, she sees herself reporting in the most dangerous of locations. But the job she interviews for and accepts is far from dangerous and far from what she expected.
Emmy’s new position entails combing through the mail of a cantankerous advice columnist who has very strict rules as to what types of letters to which she will respond. Emmy empathizes with the women who write into the magazine and may take matters into her own hands. Pearce adds healthy doses of romance, heartbreak, and tragedy as Emmy and her friends make their way through war-time London.
Pearce’s writing is a welcome trip back in time, and is good for an interesting turn of phrase and many well-chosen British idioms. While reading the character of Emmy Lake, one can picture Honeysuckle Weeks in her role as Sam Stewart in Foyle’s War. She is full of pluck and gumption in her job with Mrs. Bird as well as her time taking calls for the local fire brigade.
While the novel might be predictable at times, the character of Emmy is too good to not keep reading. At its heart, Dear Mrs. Bird is wonderful little book that posits work, romance, friendship, and a stiff upper lip during a time of great strife, and comes away a very enjoyable experience.
4 out of 5 stars
Comes out on July 3rd, 2018.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Scribner, and AJ Pearce for the advance copy for review.