Dear Mrs. Bird

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Aug 2018

Member Reviews

Charming, endearing and just lovely. I couldn’t put it down! It’s rare to find a gem about average people in WWII; but thanks to A.J. Pearce we have a solidly written and well put together story. All the characters felt like real people I could know or could even be me if I had lived at that time! 

Our leading lady is just wonderful! I feel like she and I could be the same person; or at least kindred spirits. Her internal dialogue to herself is so similar to how I 'speak' to myself that it was almost scary. I'll confess that this lady is much wittier and funnier than I am. As a late-teen/early 20's woman during WWII our lead is torn between her 'obligation' (as per society) to marry and settle down versus her desire for a career.  The man she is engaged to doesn't want her to work in the future (once married) and this is a conflict for her because she feels she can make a difference (even if small) in the war effort by supporting those at home via her writing and isn't sure she ever wants to be just a housewife. On this I do not blame her! 

"Dream" Job
I'm always reminded of The Devil Wears Prada (book or movie) when anyone talks about dream jobs. I once thought I had a dream career and job; working as a magazine Art Director. Little did I realize when I started out in it that it would become crazy stressful career (didn't seem to matter where I worked) with crazy deadlines (leading to late 2 am nights at the office; only to get back up and be there at 8 am!), unreasonable requests (from advertisers, publishers or editorial staff), a poor wage, and almost none of the 'glitz and glamour' that everyone thinks it will be. And so just like my personal experience, and that seen in The Devil Wears Prada, our leading lady discovers that perhaps magazines and editorial writing is not all it's cracked up to be. 
Funny how those dream jobs are rarely as wonderful as we make them out to be initially. Like me this leading lady is caught up in being young and idealistic. I loved the progression of her realization that perhaps this job isn't all she had hoped for, nor was it ever going to be. From day 1 she knows it's all wrong (so this is not a spoiler) and yet deludes herself for some time. I think we all do this sometimes in the hopes things will suddenly improve (and sometimes they do; but generally they don't). 

Morals & Ethics
It may seem odd to have a book set during WWII talking about morals and ethics that are not at all related to Hitler or the Nazi's; however, Dear Mrs. Bird is that book. The ethics seen here are all about determining when you are 'helping' people and when you are just interfering. There are also discussions of what 'professionalism' entails at any given job. Pearce will challenge you at every step to decide what is moral and what isn't; and even at times place the reader and our leading lady in an unwinnable situation (the 'kobayashi maru' for those Star Trek fans out there; except cheating isn't always a way to win...). This book reminded me that a desire to help is sometimes not enough to justify our actions. 

The characters, setting and situations of Dear Mrs. Bird are so well done I can't decide which elements I liked best of the book. All of our supporting characters feel well thought out (even those we barely meet but refer to a lot), the realities of food stamps/rations, bombings in London, shelters, injuries, night clubs and romance are all so well balanced and described that I started to think I was the leading lady several times. Pearce captured my imagination and pulled at my heart strings, engrossing me in the story; and then reminded me that the situations are all 'based on truth'. Realizing people actually lived just like this and at any given time the world could return to this is terrifying at it's core. The reality is that the world keeps spinning or at least rent/mortgages are still due (somehow) even when Hitler is bombing your city nightly. Pearce does a beautiful job of ensuring you are aware of how unfair the world is; but also how it just keeps on going with or without you. 

Recommended For
Dear Mrs. Bird is good 'first-time' historical book as it's not super dense or full of references in history you need to know. If you've wanted to take a dive into some WWII historical fiction this is a good start to see if you are up for it. 
For those who've been reading historical WWII books for some time; I think you'll find this one is unique in that it's not all dreary and depressing (like some WWII books are). It has a unique perspective as the everyday 'new' adult tries to navigate a war-torn society. 

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
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I read this book close to a year ago and I apologize for not giving feedback then. I saw that I rated it 4* on Goodreads, so that means I enjoyed it very much.
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Dear Mrs. Bird is the debut historical fiction novel by AJ Pearce. It combines the story of a young woman making her way in London during WWII, her friendships, romances, and new job with the horror and devastation of the blitz, the bombings, the noise, and the destruction. It is at times lighthearted, even  humourous and at others heart wrenching. The characters are, for the most part, likeable and clearly the author did her research on of what life was like in Britain during the war - the slang, the shortages, the attempts at normalcy between attacks, and the bravery and fear that the bombings brought out in people. I enjoyed this book quite a bit and recommend it highly.

Thanks to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review
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This book is so wonderful!  A.J. Pierce gives recognition to the women at home during WWII, successfully showing us their trials and tribulations in wartime Britain during the early 1940’s. 

Dear Mrs. Bird is a charming read that immediately grabbed my attention and kept me engaged to the very end--I didn't want it to end! Although there were emotional, moving, and heartbreaking scenes though that pulled at my heartstrings, for the most part I found myself smiling, and at times, laughing out loud at some of Emmeline's moments. She is such a delightful and fun-loving character, always optimistic, caring, kind and positive even when she is faced with difficulties. 

I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone!
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Dear Mrs. Bird 
By AJ Pearce	

Emmeline Lake of London, England, dreams of being a War Correspondent during World War II. When she spots an ad in the London Evening Chronicle, she applies and gets the job. She believes she’s on her way, until she discovers she’s just the latest typist for advice columnist Henrietta Bird, not an easy boss, with many rules and restrictions for her staff. Young and enthusiastic, Emmy figures she’ll stick with it since she now has her toe in the Journalist door. 

One of Mrs. Bird’s rules is that no letters requesting advice for anything Unpleasant be answered. They are to be discarded. Of course, those end up being the ones that speak to Emmy, who decides to risk breaking the rules and start answering them as Mrs. Bird. 

This story of Emmy and her friend Bunty, along with a cast of supporting characters, takes a peek inside the lives of ordinary people during extraordinary times through the Blitz of London. 

The excessive use of Capitalization can be irritating, but it is a reflection of the time and How Things Were Done.
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Really enjoyed and highly recommended this novel as a top title in my regular summer reading series on Instagram -- as an uplifting read in the vein of other stories of everyday heroism like the movie THEIR FINEST.
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Fun and quirky with a strong female lead. 

Thank you to #NetGalley, the publisher and the author for an advance e-copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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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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