Yours Cheerfully (The Emmy Lake Chronicles #2)
by A.J. Pearce
Published August 10, 2021
Rating: 3 Stars ⭐⭐⭐
Genre: Historical Fiction
From The Publisher:
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 challenge of becoming a young wartime advice columnist. Her relationship with boyfriend Charles (now stationed back in the UK) 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 desperately needed female workers to the war effort, Emmy is thrilled to be asked to step up and help. But when she and Bunty meet a young woman who shows them the very real challenges that women war workers face, Emmy must tackle a life-changing dilemma between doing her duty and standing by her friends.
“Yours Cheerfully” is a follow-up to Dear Mrs. Bird, once again featuring Emmy Lake and her band of friends. Although this could be read as a standalone, you would miss all the backstory of Emmy, Bunty and the others. Since they aren’t long books, I would recommend reading Dear Mrs. Bird first.
Emmy’s career in journalism may be taking a turn for the better as the novel begins. Her love life is definitely on the upswing too. Cheerfully Yours takes place mainly in the second half of 1941, after the London Blitz, and although still written in the chatty style of Dear Mrs. Bird, covers serious issues in the lives of women who are doing war work on the home front, especially those with young children. In addition, it highlights the difficulties of everyday life during wartime, such as dealing with food shortages, ration cards, and the like. Themes of friendship and loyalty abound, as they did in the first volume. You will find yourself rooting for the women for sure.
My review of Dear Mrs. Bird, published in 2018 by Scribner
Can there be a book that takes place during the London Blitz (1940-41 during World War Two) that is actually a light, fun novel? I guess so, because Dear Mrs. Bird pretty much fits that description. The main character, Emmy Lake, wants to become a journalist but winds up as the assistant to the advice columnist/editor Henrietta Bird, at Woman’s Friend magazine. Mrs. Bird won’t even consider answering any letters that cover topics that are “Unpleasant.” Those include almost every letter received by the magazine and Emmy wants to help those readers. In the evenings, Emmy volunteers on the telephones for a fire station, receiving calls about buildings that are on fire or destroyed by German bombs.
The chatty style of writing, full of what I assume were common expressions of the time, sets the tone, with the occasional odd Capitalization, even when the story takes a decidedly more serious turn. This book showcases the struggle of daily life during the Blitz and also shows the difficulties of women trying to “do their bit” for England.
“My mother always said that a lot of men think that having bosoms means you’re a nitwit. She said the cleverest thing is to let them assume you’re an idiot, so you can crack on and prove them all wrong.”