Friday, 4 May 2018

War and Agony (aunts)

Book Review: Dear Mrs Bird

(review copy provided by Net Galley)

This was a book I read quite a while ago, before I fell ill in fact, but I was looking back through my list of books read and realised I'd never talked about it.

This was a book that at first I didn't think I was going to enjoy, it seemed so light, and to a great extent predictable but I persevered and found that my first opinions were deceptive.

Emmeline is a typical literary WW2 heroine in many ways, she comes from a privileged background but is 'slumming it' in London. She is doing her bit for the war effort as she is a phone dispatcher for the Auxiliary Fire Service just as the Blitz is increasing in intensity.  Her dream it to be a war correspondent and she is overjoyed to get a job with the London Evening Chronicle, it isn't quite her dream job however - she ends up being part of the agony aunt team for one of the other publications from the Chronicle's stable.

It is at this point that the book becomes both the most predictable and the most unpredictable and I got fully swept up into the lives of the protagonists and by the end I'd cried more than once!

This is a book very much in the vein of Their Finest by Lissa Evans - mostly fun, frothy and light but with the occasional emotional wallop. It takes familiar events of the war and weaves them into the narrative in a way that is believable as well as being just one coincidence too far.

This review doesn't seem as positive as the feeling the book left me with last autumn which seems slightly unfair - so many of the details of the book, and the emotional impact it had on me are very strong and sometime you do just want a little bit of light-hearted reading.  That I can still recall so much of the book is also a point in its favour - there are some books I read at the end of November last year that I can't recall at all...

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