Yours Cheerfully

Dear Reader,

Emmeline Lake is back! – In my opinion, the very best news for a Monday morning 🙂

Plucky as ever and full of ambition, this time she’s set to show the Ministry what for in her latest adventure!

I was first introduced to Emmy a couple of years ago when my Gran slid a Times article on Dear Mrs Bird across her dining room table to me. Included in the article was a section of the first chapter of the book, in which Emmy is heading home on the bus:

When I first saw the advertisement in the newspaper I thought I might actually burst. I’d had rather a cheerful day so far despite the Luftwaffe annoying everyone by making us all late for work, and then I’d managed to get hold of an onion, which was very good news for a stew. But when I saw the announcement, I could not have been more cock-a-hoop… It was the best job I had ever seen in my life. If there was anything I wanted most in the world (other than for the war to end and Hitler to die quite a grisly death), it was to be a journalist. Or to be precise, what people in the know referred to as a Lady War Correspondent.

My Gran said, ‘I think you’ll like this one’ – and of course, she was right. I was hooked from page one (how can you not be?). My Gran promptly bought a copy of the book (which she also loved) and after reading, lent it to me. Emmy, with her unbeatable and utterly endearing pluck, have stayed with me ever since.

You can only imagine my excitement to discover that she was back in AJ Pearce’s wonderful new sequel Yours Cheerfully.

Yours Cheerfully by AJ Pearce

The worst of the London Blitz is over, but it’s September 1941 and the war is still very much in full flow.

Emmeline Lake is settling back into her job at Woman’s Friend Magazine, under strict guidance from Mr Collins after her recent escapades. With Mrs Bird gone and Mr Collins increasing faith in her, Emmy begins to get her confidence back and is determined to prove her worth.

The Ministry for War is asking all woman’s magazines to step up to the challenge and take an active stance in the recruitment of women for the War Effort. Everyone is needed and now Emmy must do her bit in her newly appointed role. Only, the letters from the readers tell another side to the recruitment story…

Emmy finds herself asking how the Ministry can be demanding all women to take part in vital War Work and yet turning a blind eye to the support that mothers and widows need to be able to play their part? Bold as ever, Emmy takes on the chance to find out, and to try to bridge the gap between the galvanising recruitment stance and the harsh reality of lacking childcare and pensions.

But can Emmy please the big-wigs of the Ministry and the Factories, as well as supporting her friends and readers? All while keeping face for Woman’s Friend?

Once again Emmy finds herself in some very hot water…!

A heart warming celebration of friendship, wartime women, and the strength that comes from pulling together. Perfect for fans of The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society and Sarah-Jane Stratford.

An absolutely smashing sequel – one of those books I’m torn between reading feverishly to know what happens next, while also stalling because I don’t want it to end!

A sequel can be a hard line to strike. Especially if the first book is as good as Dear Mrs Bird was – the bar is already set so high. I can confidently say that Pearce not only reached that bar but sailed gracefully right over it.

There is so much I love about these books – Emmy’s bold and plucky nature, the wonderful cast of characters, the spirit of Wartime Britain, the freshness of the writing and the sparkling humour (a true chuckle out loud kind of read). All this coupled with Pearce’s ability to poignantly convey the reality of Wartime living – the horrific experiences of the war, narrowing down on individual experiences and using all her characters to embellish this picture (so a few tears as well). The feel-good side of her stories are magnified by the darker backdrop and make for a really inspiring read.

Dear Mrs Bird and Yours Cheerfully are two books I cannot recommend enough – and their uplifting spirit in the face of adversity is particularly relevant. I very much hope there will be another…!!

Thank you to my Gran for introducing me to Emmy, I can’t wait to buy her a copy when Yours Cheerfully is published on Thursday 🙂

Thank you also to Net Galley, Pan Macmillan and the author AJ Pearce for my advanced reading copy in exchange for my honest review.

‘Yours Cheerfully,’ 😉

Meg xx

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