Dear Mrs. Bird

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Aug 2018

Member Reviews

3.5 Stars. 

This is a charming novel set in London during the Blitz, which manages to be lighthearted while also not shying away from some of the heartbreaks and challenges of World War II. Emmeline dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent, but when she accidentally takes a job working as a typist at a woman’s magazine, under the supervision of the formidable Mrs. Bird, she decides to take matters into her own hands and make the best of it. 

This book is the epitome of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” attitude of this era, and is a touching story of friendship, resilience, and women during the war.
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I received an ARC of this from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This novel was a nice peek into the world of a woman struggling to do her part during the second world war in England. Emmy is an aspiring young woman who's ultimate dream is to be a war correspondent for the local newspaper.  When she sees an ad in the paper for a well reputed paper, she jumps on the opportunity and snags the job without first understanding what exactly her new job will be. Enter very stern, very traditional, no nonsense Henrietta Bird who currently responds to letters written to her for help on various subjects.  When Emmy realizes that the subject matter that Mrs. Bird responds to is extremely limited, she takes it upon herself to help. 
This is both a humourous and a hurt wrenching story about love, family, loss, and a small evolution of thought of women in the workplace, doing their part. It was a quick easy read and I really enjoyed it.
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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley. Thank you to the author, the publisher and to Netgalley. This book took me months to read, I read the first 1/3 of the book, then put it down for about a month, reading other books instead. I then picked it up again, read another 1/3 of the book, then put it down for about month... I finally picked it up again, and finished it. The book was good, but didn't really keep my attention. I didn't really feel much connection to the characters. Just not the best book for me.
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I actually quite enjoyed this story. It was very wholesome and sweet and uplifting during a point of time in history where things were dismal. It was nice to see a book that was, for the most part, positive and cheery.

I thought Emmeline was a very spunky heroine. She was strong-willed and bubbly and I liked her character very much.

The author also showed good writing skills by staying true to the mannerisms of that time. I also thought that the perspective chosen for this story was a very good one. It allowed the story to showcase some of the more emotional concerns women faced during this time period. There have been other books that have looked at the "woman back home" and her struggles, but in this story, we can really see how this war affected many women, and how their problems were both similar and different all at once. It also shows a shift from maintaining "proper" decorum to addressing the needs of women. I really appreciated that aspect of the story and the way characters became aware of this shift.

Of course, there were parts of the story that were clichéd but those are to be expected and I didn't really feel that it detracted from my enjoyment of the whole thing. Sometimes it's okay to not have everything be very different. The choice of narrator and the way the author talked about social issues was unique enough to make the story entertaining!

Overall, I quite liked this book. Despite its stereotypical events, I thought it had nice characters and an interesting perspective. For those reasons, I'm giving it a solid 3/5 stars!

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Emmeline Lake, Emmy, works for a solicitor by day and volunteers by answering phones for the fire brigade a few nights a week due to London being blitzed regularly by the Luftwaffe. This is not her dream job. She dreams of becoming a war correspondent or a journalist covering political intrigue. Discovering a newspaper ad for part-time work at The London Evening Chronicle, she immediately applies for this part-time job and is hired. Imagine her surprise when she finds out that the job she has gotten is nothing more than a junior typist job for Woman's Friend Magazine. She is to read letter sent in to Mrs. Bird, then type her responses for the column Henrietta Helps. The only problem is that the imposing Mrs. Bird has a list of unacceptable topics or words, so she answers very few letters. Because Emmy reads the letters and feels badly for those who will not get a reply, she secretly decides to send kindly responses to women desperate enough to write in and sign them Mrs. Bird. When the bombing of London hits too close to home for Emmy, she has to deal with her best friend's injuries and emotional problems. 

"Dear Mrs. Bird" is a historical fiction novel that elicits a lot of feelings and emotions. The reality of what happened in London during the blitz is heartbreaking. This book is a tribute to the women remaining at home in a country under siege. This is reflected with Emmy who is also a volunteer with the Fire Brigade, answering calls each night as the bombings occur, as well as with those who write letters to Henrietta Bird seeking advice as they try to deal with their real problems. At times it is funny and light, but also sad and horrifying as we see the destruction and losses. There were a few times that I was very frustrated with Emmy. She tended to be a bit overbearing and dishonest at various times in the story. Overall, I enjoyed this story and if you like WWII stories, historical fiction, women's stories, then I recommend you give this book a try. The publisher, Scribner, generously provided me with a copy of this book to read. The ratings, ideas and opinions are my own.
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Norma, Lindsay and I read Dear Mrs. Bird with our Traveling Friends and we all were immediately drawn into this charming, heart-breaking and heart-warming story. Things start off chirpy when we first meet ambitious, chipper, and optimistic Emmy and we were drawn into the hilarious misunderstandings, witty dialog, meddling characters and refreshing lighter tone to the story. 

A.J. Pearce does a great job giving a voice to the women at the home front though letters to an advice columnist. We see how women put on their smiley face and tried to find a new normal during the London Blitz. We admired Emmy’s compassion to reach out to help these women find that new normal. Soon reality catches up and things start to turn darker as they start to see death and destruction around them. The story takes on a darker tone and we didn’t except it take that turn so quickly and would of liked the pacing a bit better for that. 

The ending wraps up well and in even with the darker parts to the story it still remains an uplifting and charming story that really highlights the strength of these women!! We recommend!!

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster Canada and A.J. Pearce for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy of this book.

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I enjoyed this book. I loved that Emmeline wanted to “do her bit” and help others during the war. I found myself rooting for her every step of the way.
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Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I like that it focused less on the main character, Emmy, finding a love interest (because that trope is old) and more on her growth. I felt like the book ended suddenly in a way to neatly wrap things up, when I think it would have been better if it had taken some time, or followed the characters beyond the wrap up.
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3 stars.   Charming.  Witty.  Entertaining.

This was a light hearted romp in 1940’s London that centered around Emmeline (Emmy) Lake, a strong and determined young woman doing her part to help the war effort.   Emmy finds herself employed as the typist for an eccentric and outrageous advice columnist, Mrs. Bird.   While the job isn’t exactly what Emmy had hoped it would be, she puts forth her best effort and tries to help improve the columns dying fan base.

The novel gives interesting insight into a women’s side of the war effort.   Women’s determination to stay strong and continue living their lives, all the while the horrendous wartime atrocities lingering in their minds.  Their men gone to fight the brutal war with no end in sight, yet they continue on helping where they could while longing for their men to return home safely.  

This was an entertaining story with likeable characters and witty humour.   While I enjoyed the characters and their relationships, I didn’t feel completely invested in them or fully engrossed in their lives.  It was more of a light, surface glimpse into their story without a true connection.  The novel had a lot of sarcastic humour which had me chucking a few times, but for the most part, felt overdone.  I enjoyed the advice column letters scattered throughout the novel and wished the story had a stronger focus on the column itself.  

This was a Traveling Friends read.  

Thank you to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster Canada and AJ Pearce for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Dear Mrs. Bird is available now!
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A fun read with a surprise twist that I know my older adult customers will just love. I race through it to find out if Emmy would get caught and then kept reading to find out if Emmy and Bunty would reconcile. I hope to read more from AJ Pearce in the future
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DEAR MRS. BIRD by A.J. PEARCE was an absolutely wonderful, charming, fun, and for the most part an all around light-hearted read that immediately grabbed my attention and had me totally engaged right to the very end.  Although there were definitely some very emotional, moving and heartbreaking scenes though that pulled at my heartstrings.

A.J. PEARCE delivers an intriguing and well-written tale here with very interesting, real, and loveable characters.  The story was told from the perspective of Emmeline (Emmy) Lake and the setting takes you back to the streets of London during World War II.  Emmy Lake was such a delightful and fun-loving character and I thoroughly enjoyed how optimistic, caring, kind and positive she was during such a heartbreaking time.  

The storyline was extremely amusing at times and I thoroughly enjoyed the advice column aspects to it and everything that it entailed from the “inappropriate topics” to Mrs. Birds intense and no-nonsense character.   

After reading the Author’s Note in the end and learning how the idea of this story began and that many of the letters in DEAR MRS. BIRD were inspired by actual letters and articles from wartime magazines always brings in another added layer to the story for me.  So thought-provoking and touching!

Norma’s Stats:
Cover:  Somewhat intriguing, love the bright colors, the typeset and display of the title with the typewriter keys - very fitting!
Title:  Fits the story well and love how it also plays obscurely into the story.
Writing/Prose: amusing, light, and empathically written.
Plot:  Engaging, steady-paced, held my attention and extremely enjoyable.
Ending: Warming, touching, memorable and completely satisfying.
Overall: An excellent, uplifting, delightful, and heartwarming read! Would recommend!

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster Canada and A.J. Pearce for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review.
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I fell in love with Emmeline, who takes it upon herself to reply to the authors of "unprintable" letters written to a women's advice column. I found the story difficult to read because I felt The Capitalization Disrupted The Flow Of The Text.
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Emmy makes me think "Sophie Kinsella meets 1940 London", bringing fun and gumption to a trying time.  Emmy accidentally interviews and gets hired for the wrong job but decides to see it through. Emmy finds it difficult to follow the strict guidelines set out by her new boss, advice columnist, Mrs. Henrietta Bird, and can't resist giving some advice of her own.
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Charming story that seemed quite authentic to the period and caused such heartbreak. Loved all the characters, they felt like mostly real people. And you could see the places so well.
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Dear Mrs. Bird is the lighthearted tale of a likeable young woman during the Blitz. Despite the jovial tone, she faces many difficult obstacles that one would expect of wartime Britain.  The writing style is reminiscent of Sophie Kinsella in that the protagonist is a young woman making bad decisions and making light of a serious situation.  Some parts of it were quite comical too.
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I got an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGallery (Thanks!!!).

I Heard a lot about this book, even before it was released. The thing that really stood out was the comparison to “Bridget Jones”, but in WWII.

I love reading books that tell us about the “normal” people who lived during this crazy war.
In this book we get a glimpse of London during the war through Emmeline Lake’s eyes. Emmy, a young woman in her 20’s is sharing an apartment with her best friend Bunty and they try, with their friends and loved ones, to live the normal life of young people, while escaping bombs and with some of their loved ones fighting the war far away.

We get to experience life as young people experienced it during the years of the war when they go to cinema and escape bombs on their way back home, or go dancing hoping the night would be raid-free. When they need to deal with loss and love, while working at day and volunteering at nights to help the war efforts.

Emmy dreams to become a lady war corresponded and to write scoops from the front but ends up, after applying to be apart time junior by mistake, in “Woman’s Friend”, a women magazine, working under Mrs. Bird, a tough woman that has no time for nonsense during the war. Mrs. Bird answers the readers worries and questions in her help column in the magazine, but she has a “Not to be published” list with words and phrases that are unacceptable and unpleasant (like affair, bed, Berlin etc.) and most of the readers’ letters are shredded and thrown away. Emmy can’t stand to see all the poor readers’ letters staying unanswered and decide to change it.

This book has everything, laughter, tragedy and it punches you hard in the feelings. I loved the writing, can’t wait to read more of A.J. Pearce.
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I found this book difficult at first to get into as the main character seemed flippant and unrelatable.  I am happy I stuck with it though as her unique charm developed through the following chapters.  Overall, an enjoyable read.  Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Dear Mrs. Bird is a great read about a young girl named Emmeline Lake who wants nothing more than to be a writer for a newspaper. One day she comes across an ad in the newspaper for what she thinks is her perfect dream job. On her first day she finds out that she will actually be working for Mrs. Bird who answers letters for an advice column. Mrs. Bird has very definite ideas about what are appropriate letters to be considered for replies.  It is Emmy's job to shift through the letters and pick out the ones to be answered. Due to the strict guidelines she is to follow, Emmy isn't left with too many options. Emmy decides that it wouldn't hurt to respond to a letter or two herself pretending to be Mrs. Bird. After all these women have legitimate problems and she thinks that she can help them. This is where the fun begins.

This story,for the most part, is a fun and light read with a good dose of what living in London during World War II was like. 

I really enjoyed this one and will be keeping an eye out for future books by AJ Pearce.
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I notice that this book is favorably compared to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Although it is a charming book on its own, I couldn't agree more!  Set in WWII London, columnist Henrietta Bird needs a secretary, mostly to route out what she calls "Unpleasantness". Emily takes the job, but finds herself answering many of the letters consigned to the bin. Recommended reading.
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Unfortunately having ereader issues and cannot get this to connect to my kobo  :(

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