Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Dear Mrs. Bird... A Review
Our heroine of the story, Emmeline, dreams of becoming a war correspondent someday, which leads her to answer a help wanted add for what she thinks is a major London newspaper. Not only answering the ad, but accepting the job without hearing one word about what it actually involved. What she finds out soon afterwards is that the job is not working for the newspaper, but for a subsidiary of the newspaper - Woman's Friend magazine and specifically for Henrietta Bird, the Ann Landers of Woman's Friend, who incidentally is not really a friend of any of the women who write in for help, because she doesn't like any letters with any "unpleasantness", which includes anything about Sex, War and Rock n' Roll (okay that last one didn't exactly exist back then, but you get my drift), and for which she orders Emmy to tear up and throw away any letters about "those topics". After reading so many letters, from so many women and girls looking for help and being categorically rejected by Mrs. Bird, Emmy decides to take matters in her own hand and starts answering them personally, under the guise of Mrs. Bird.
A nice cast of characters fill out the story and Emmy's life, including a BFF, a fiancé and quirky work mates, and paint a realistic picture of life in London during WWII with the tragedies, hopes & dreams, and the strength of the women left behind.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this sweet charming read to historical fiction fans. Emmy is a great character, so are her friends, and the story does a good job of immersing the reader in London during WWII. I enjoyed the premise of the story, where Emily decides she can't ignore those crushing letters that Mrs. Bird rejected. And there was a steady build up to see if Emmy was going to get caught answering those letters herself. My only wish for a little more would be in developing Emmy's love interest, but putting that aside I would say it was a good read.
Dear Mrs. Bird is the debut novel of AJ Pearce, who was inspired by reading advice columns from women's magazines from the 1930's. A strong 3 1/2 stars from this reader!