Sunday, December 18, 2022

Yours Cheerfully

  Yours Cheerfully
Author:  AJ Pearce
Publication Information:  Scribner. 2021. 304 pages.
ISBN:  1501170090 / 978-1501170096

Book Source:  I received this book through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "May I congratulate all married women who are at present doing war work as well as running their own  homes?"

Favorite Quote:  "Find out what you're good at and then get better at it ... if you're really, really lucky, you get to find out what you love to do. And then you should cherish every moment you get to do it."

Dear Mrs. Bird introduces readers to Emmeline Lake and her best friend Bunty during World War II and the blitz on London. This book continues that story towards a different part of the war and a different role for women. 

In Dear Mrs. Bird Emmeline is young and at times innocent and naive. At the same time, her heart is in the right place, and she genuinely cares and tries to help. In this book, Emmeline is little older and perhaps  a little wiser. Her caring and integrity remains the same. "Caring about getting things right is worth its weight in gold."

Dear Mrs. Bird is utlimately a story of friendship and the ability of a true friendship to survive whatever life throws at it. This book is a story of the strength of women particularly when they stand together and raise each other up. "In my view ... there are women who stick up for each other, and women who don't. You're either one or the other. It's as simple as that."

Emmeline is still a journalist and still writing an advice column. In this book, her task expands to write articles to urge women to the war effort. So many of the men are on the front lines, and women are needed to fill in the roles in factories and offices and other arenas where the need has not existed before.

The goal is to write uplifting, motivating missives that encourage more women to get involved. In doing the research, however, Emmeline finds a different reality. Women are encouraged to work. However, work conditions are not such that allow the balance of that work with commitments women still have to the their homes, their children, and their families.

It is the factory owners that have invited Emmeline in. However, the question arises. Does Emmeline write the positive pieces as directed or does she work with these women to bring about change? And how is that change to be accomplished? The factory owners, willing to allow Emmeline access on behalf of the Ministry of Information are not quite so welcoming when Emmeline starts asking the tougher questions. However, she and Bunty persist. "When I was growing up, my mother always said to be nice to the people you like, and nicer to the ones you don't."

While Dear Mrs. Bird is all about friendship, this book expands the focus to be solidarity amongst women.  It is an engaging story and inspiring at the same time. It is also very much the second book in the series. The background of the first one - the blitz, Mrs. Bird, Bunty's history - are an important undermining to this story. Since I know the first story, I cannot fully say how this story would ready without that background. Now, having read both, I look forward to seeing where the author takes this next. 

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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