Thursday, October 7, 2021

Yours Cheerfully, a sequel to Dear Mrs. Bird

Title: Yours Cheerfully
Author: AJ Pearce
Publication: Scribner, hardcover, 2021
Genre: Historical fiction
Setting: WWII London
Description: Yours Cheerfully begins where Dear Mrs. Bird left off, with the staff of Women’s Friend reorganizing after the departure of Henrietta Bird, who clashed with our heroine, Emmy Lake. Emmy’s best friend and roommate Bunty is recovering from losing her fiancĂ© and the physical injuries she sustained in the bombing. Things are getting serious for Emmy and her dreamy boyfriend, Charles, while Emmy’s boss (who not so coincidentally is Charles’ older brother) gives her the assignment she has dreamed of as a journalist, not merely an advice columnist. Her first assignment leads her to a munitions factory where young women her age have taken on challenging war work with little support – and Emmy has her first big story, although it will complicate her life.

My Impression: It’s 1941 and Emmy continues to be a delightful heroine, so plucky she reminiscent of the head girls in the boarding school stories I like, but with an endearing capacity to make mistakes. When Britain’s Ministry of Information asks women’s magazines to promote factory work, Emmy is delighted with her new assignment but when she meets the women who are doing difficult factory work with little or no childcare available, she believes she should share the challenges they face, although that causes controversy. Emmy’s capacity for friendship is part of her charm. Although Emmy works, she is not working class, so these women have no expectation she will follow through on her determination to help them by publicizing their story but they don’t know how determined she is – even if organizing a protest conflicts with her very wedding day!
If I hadn’t thought I was the luckiest person alive already, now I knew I most certainly was. Here was a man who loved me and had asked me to marry him, but who knew that my best friend’s feelings would be uppermost in my mind. I wondered how many men would understand that. It might have sounded strange, but that he had thought to talk to Bunty mean more than anything to me. It was little more than seven months since she had been the one getting engaged. Sometimes it felt like no time at all. . . .

“Thank you,” I said. “But the fact Bunty has threatened you with murder has put my mind at rest. She wouldn’t do that unless she was taking you seriously.” I looked up at him and felt the happiest I had ever been.
Dear Mrs. Bird was my favorite book of 2019, and although I was eager to read this book, I wondered if the author could maintain the blend of humor and drama and tragedy. The appealing setting is not a surprise this time and the reader has expectations of the character but I thought it was a strong second book but a B grade, not an A.  I look forward to more from this author. No skipping, please! Go back and read Dear Mrs. Bird first.

This is my twenty-second book in the 2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader.
Source: Library


Davida Chazan (The Chocolate Lady) said...

I really enjoyed Yours Cheerfully, but I only just got Dear Mrs. Bird recently, so I'm reading them backwards!!!

Buried In Print said...

Great that it lived up to your expectations: I love a good sequel!

Lark said...

I loved Dear Mrs. Bird so I'm excited to read this sequel to it.

Tricia Murray said...

I was disappointed by this book. I didn't find it nearly as good as Dear Mrs. Bird. I found it too contrived. Hoping the next one returns to the level of Dear Mrs. Bird.

LyzzyBee said...

I need to get hold of this one as I liked Dear Mrs Bird very much. Sequels are never as good as the first book, but it sounds like not a bad attempt!