Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Book Review | YOURS CHEERFULLY by A.J. Pearce

by A.J. Pearce
Publication: July 5, 2022
Publisher: Simon & Schuster CA
Genre: Women's Fiction
Rating: ★★★★★

From the author of the “jaunty, heartbreaking winner” (People) and international bestseller Dear Mrs. Bird comes a charming and uplifting novel set in London during World War II about a plucky young journalist and her adventures as wartime advice columnist.

London, November 1941. Following the departure of the formidable Henrietta Bird from Woman’s Friend magazine, things are looking up for Emmeline Lake as she takes on the new challenges as a wartime advice columnist. Her relationship with boyfriend Charles is blossoming, while Emmy’s best friend Bunty, still reeling from the very worst of the Blitz, is bravely looking to the future. Together, the friends are determined to Make a Go of It.

When the Ministry of Information calls on Britain’s women’s magazines to help recruit female workers to the war effort, Emmy is thrilled to step up and help. But when she and Bunty meet a young mother who shows them the very real challenges that women war workers face, Emmy must confront a dilemma between doing her duty and standing by her friends. -Publisher

Set in London during World War II, YOURS CHEERFULLY is a heartwarming and engaging novel that celebrates the resilience and strength of women in times of adversity. The story centers around Emmy Lake, a young woman who dreams of becoming a journalist. When she lands her dream job as a columnist, she quickly discovers that there's more to it than just responding to readers' letters addressed to a women's magazine.

The novel is filled with wit, humor, and heart, and Pearce's writing is charming and delightful. She skillfully weaves together the stories of Emmy and the other women, creating a rich and engaging portrait of life in London during the war. The characters are vividly drawn, and readers will find themselves rooting for Emmy and her friends as they navigate the challenges of war, love, and loss.

One of the novel's strengths is its portrayal of the experiences of women during the war, including those who took on jobs in factories to support the war effort. Through the character of Anne, a young woman who takes on a factory job, readers are given a glimpse into the struggles and sacrifices that women faced as they tried to balance work, family, and the war effort.

Anne's story is a poignant one. She is a young woman who wants to do her part for the war effort, but she also has young children to care for. Like many women of the time, Anne struggles to find reliable and affordable childcare, and she worries about leaving her children behind as she goes off to work in the factory. At the same time, she faces discrimination and harassment at work, as male coworkers belittle and bully her for being a woman.

Pearce does an excellent job of showing the challenges that women faced as they entered the workforce and the ways in which they fought back against discrimination and injustice. Through Anne's story, readers see the strength and resilience of women during this period, as well as their determination to contribute to the war effort and support their families.

Overall, Yours Cheerfully is a delightful and uplifting novel that celebrates the power of friendship, the importance of hope, and the resilience of the human spirit in times of war and adversity.


About the Author:
Credit: Jenny Smith
AJ Pearce grew up in Hampshire, England. She studied at the University of Sussex and Northwestern University. A chance discovery of a 1939 women’s magazine became the inspiration for her series The Emmy Lake Chronicles, which includes Dear Mrs. Bird, Yours Cheerfully, and Mrs. Porter Calling. She lives in the south of England. Credit: Jenny Smith

*Thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada and Netgalley for the egalley in exchange for this unbiased review.


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