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The Resource Dear Mrs. Bird : a novel, A J Pearce

Dear Mrs. Bird : a novel, A J Pearce

Label
Dear Mrs. Bird : a novel
Title
Dear Mrs. Bird
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
A J Pearce
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"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"--
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
  • Librarians' Choice (Australia), 2018.
  • LibraryReads Favorites, 2018.
  • Loan Stars Favourites, 2018.
Review
  • When Pearce happened upon a 1939 British women’s magazine, the idea for her first novel was born. Pearce glimpsed a time when “women faced unimaginably difficult situations” and often had nowhere to turn besides writing a letter to the “Problems Page.” From those voices of the past arose heroine Emmeline Lake, a plucky young woman trying to do her part for the war effort. When Emmy hastily takes a job at Woman’s Friend, a magazine on its last legs, her journalistic dreams seem dashed. Instead of gathering stories from the front line, she’s under the thumb of conservative Mrs. Bird, who refuses to answer letters with any “Unpleasantness.” Deciding to take matters into her own hands, Emmy secretly replies to readers looking for guidance. But when her life changes forever after a German air raid, Emmy must end the ruse and face reality. 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. -- Norstedt, Melissa (Reviewed 6/1/2018) (Booklist, vol 114, number 19, p46)
  • In 1940s London, Emmy takes a job as a typist that evolves into answering rejected letters sent to an advice columnist. -- Judy Hartman, Mechanicsville Public Library, Mechanicsville, IA. (LibraryReads, July 2018)
  • Pearce’s clever debut follows a plucky Londoner during the Blitz who dreams about becoming a war correspondent. When 22-year-old Emmeline Lake sees an ad for a “Junior” from the London Evening Chronicle’s publisher in 1940, she believes this will be the start of her journalism career. Alas, the job entails assisting Henrietta Bird, the advice columnist in Women’s Friend, a magazine dying off from fustiness. Henrietta is a literary Violet Crawley who won’t answer letters involving any unpleasantness, which eliminates most everything pertinent. Emmy, however, fails to destroy unsuitable letters as instructed, instead answering them privately under Mrs. Bird’s forged signature. Meanwhile, she and her best friend, Bunty, demonstrate resolve as bombs rain down night after night and Emmy’s fiancé informs her, via overseas telegram, that he is leaving her for a nurse. 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. (July) --Staff (Reviewed 05/28/2018) (Publishers Weekly, vol 265, issue 22, p)
  • In 1940s London, 22-year-old Emmy applies for a job at what she assumes will be the London Evening Chronicle, which would fulfill her lifelong dream to be a journalist. With her fiancé Edmund away at war, Emmy does her part at home, volunteering evenings at the firehouse call center during air raids. To her initial dismay, her position is a junior typist at Women's Friend magazine, with her primary role being to compose responses for Mrs. Bird's Problem Page, much like a modern-day Dear Abby. Overbearing and rude, Mrs. Bird refuses letters deemed unpleasant, allowing Emmy to answer only the most mundane queries with unhelpful replies. After an upsetting telegram from Edmund, Emmy boldly begins answering the poor women whose real problems Mrs. Bird would ignore, keeping it secret from even her best friend Bunty. Emmy bravely keeps a positive outlook, but when tragedy strikes too close to home, she is filled with guilt and loss. VERDICT Fans of Jojo Moyes will enjoy Pearce's debut, with its plucky female characters and fresh portrait of women's lives in wartime Britain. --Laura Jones (Reviewed 04/15/2018) (Library Journal, vol 143, issue 7, p66)
  • Keep calm and carry on? That motto could have been written for—or even by—chirpy English World War II-era journalist-wannabe Emmeline Lake, whose remedy for conflict, both worldwide and domestic, is to do what she can, as well as she can. Innocence and perky optimism are tempered by less sunny feelings over the course of British novelist Pearce's debut, which opens with a relatively upbeat evocation of World War II London as experienced by 22-year-old legal secretary Emmy. Fond of larky contemporary expressions and capital letters—"I gave what I hoped was a plucky Everything Is Absolutely Tip Top smile"—Emmy yearns to be a Lady War Correspondent and finds a new job at Woman's Friend magazine. But her duties turn out to include destroying problem-page letters on unacceptable topics ("Premarital relations, Extramarital relations, Physical relations," etc.) on behalf of her boss, battle-axe agony aunt Mrs. Henrietta Bird. Warmhearted Emmy can't bear to leave these needy women's letters unanswered and begins replying to them in secret, forging Mrs. Bird's signature. Matters turn more serious after Emmy has an argument with her best friend Bunty's fiance, William, over his risky work as a fireman. Vividly evocative of wartime life, with its descriptions of bombed streets, frantic fire stations, and the desperate gaiety and fortitude of ordinary souls enduring nightly terror, Pearce's novel lays a light, charming surface over a graver underbelly. With its focus on the challenges and expectations placed on those left behind, it also asks: Who is supporting the women in a world turned upside down by war? Although the jauntiness and feel-good tone can grate on occasion, especially during the farcical wrap-up, this is a readable, well-intentioned, very English tribute to the women of the homefront. (Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2018)
Assigning source
Provided by publisher
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10638204
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Pearce, A. J.
Dewey number
823/.92
Index
index present
LC call number
PR6116.E675
LC item number
D33 2018
Literary form
fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Advice columnists
  • Female friendship
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • London (England)
Target audience
adult
Label
Dear Mrs. Bird : a novel, A J Pearce
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
281 pages
Isbn
9781501170065
Lccn
2018010911
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • on1011680712
  • (OCoLC)1011680712
Label
Dear Mrs. Bird : a novel, A J Pearce
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
281 pages
Isbn
9781501170065
Lccn
2018010911
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • on1011680712
  • (OCoLC)1011680712

Library Locations

    • James City County LibraryBorrow it
      7770 Croaker Road, Williamsburg, VA, 23188, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
    • Williamsburg LibraryBorrow it
      515 Scotland Street, Williamsburg, VA, 23185, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
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