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Dear Mrs. Bird: A Novel (Hardcover)
August 2018 Indie Next List
“What initially seems like a breezy career girl story quickly turns into a gripping novel set in the WWII London blitzkrieg. During the nightly bombing runs, Emmeline volunteers at a nearby fire dispatch center. She dreams of becoming a journalist, but instead lands a day job screening advice-seeking letters for a weekly magazine, Woman’s Friend. All too soon, she and her friends become victims of the bombings and must deal with losses and new horrors each night. In Dear Mrs. Bird, AJ Pearce has given us a most memorable story about both the visible and hidden casualties of war. Recommended for all, including book clubs!”
— Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA
“A marvelous treat. Charming and delightful.” —Nina Stibbe, author of Love, Nina
An irresistible debut set in London during World War II about an adventurous young woman who becomes a secret advice columnist— a warm, funny, and enormously moving story for fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Lilac Girls.
London, 1940. Emmeline Lake is Doing Her Bit for the war effort, volunteering as a telephone operator with the Auxiliary Fire Services. When Emmy sees an advertisement for a job at the London Evening Chronicle, her dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent suddenly seem achievable. But the job turns out to be working as a typist for the fierce and renowned advice columnist, Henrietta Bird. Emmy is disappointed, but gamely bucks up and buckles down.
Mrs. Bird is very clear: letters containing any Unpleasantness must go straight in the bin. But when Emmy reads poignant notes from women who may have Gone Too Far with the wrong men, or who can’t bear to let their children be evacuated, she is unable to resist responding. As the German planes make their nightly raids, and London picks up the smoldering pieces each morning, Emmy secretly begins to write back to the readers who have poured out their troubles.
Prepare to fall head over heels for Emmy and her best friend, Bunty, who are gutsy and spirited, even in the face of a terrible blow. The irrepressible Emmy keeps writing letters in this hilarious and enormously moving tale of friendship, the kindness of strangers, and ordinary people in extraordinary times.
About the Author
AJ Pearce grew up in Hampshire, England. She studied at the University of Sussex and Northwestern University. A chance discovery of a 1939 women's magazine became the inspiration for her first novel, Dear Mrs. Bird. She lives in the south of England.
“Funny, fresh, and touching, Dear Mrs. Bird is a pitch-perfect pleasure. It’s a rare and wonderful thing to read a book that seems to live properly in its era.”
—Annie Barrows, New York Times bestselling co-author of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
“A marvelous treat. Charming and delightful.”
—Nina Stibbe, author of Love, Nina
“A joy from start to finish. Dear Mrs. Bird is as funny as it is heartwarming.”
—John Boyne, author of The Heart's Invisible Furies
"I relished every moment of Dear Mrs. Bird. What a joy! Hilarious, heartwarming, and unutterably charming."
—Jennifer Ryan, author of The Chilbury Ladies' Choir
“Charming and funny.”
—New York Post
“There is more to this very English novel than first meets the eye . . . a delightful read — funny and poignant . . . It is about the home front during war, yes, but even more it is about the strength of women, the importance of friendship and the toll of stoicism.
—Laurie Hertzel, Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Vividly evocative of wartime life… a very English tribute to the women of the homefront.” —Kirkus
“Fans of Jojo Moyes will enjoy Pearce’s debut, with its plucky female characters and fresh portrait of women’s lives in wartime Britain.”
"Set against a backdrop of war-torn London, this is a charming and heartfelt novel. Pearce brings to life a tale of true friendship, and how love will outlast even the most challenging times."
"The sweetest, most uplifting, lovely book about courage, friendship, love."
"Clever... The novel has a wonderfully droll tone, a reminder of the exuberance of youth even under dire circumstances. Headlined by its winning lead character, who always keeps carrying on, Pearce’s novel is a delight."
"Emmeline Lake, the heroine of Dear Mrs. Bird, is the most endearing character to emerge from the world of British fiction since Bridget Jones. She’s funny, she’s indefatigable, and she faces the worst of circumstances with the pluckiest of resolves. You cannot help but love her."—Kimmery Martin, author of The Queen of Hearts
"A winning wartime romp, as hilarious as it is moving . . . the novel's spirit is madly winning, and its foregrounding of wartime women seems spiffingly modern."
“Books that make you shake with laughter and sob with tears are rare. I gulped this one down but didn’t stop thinking about it for a long time.”
—Katie Fforde, author of A Secret Garden
“Utterly charming and helplessly funny.”
—Jenny Colgan, author of The Bookshop on the Corner