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Summary

London, 1940. Emmeline Lake and her best friend, Bunty, are trying to stay cheerful despite the Luftwaffe making life thoroughly annoying for everyone. Emmy dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent, and when she spots a job advertisement in the newspaper she seizes her chance - but after a rather unfortunate misunderstanding, she finds herself typing letters for the formidable Henrietta Bird, the renowned agony aunt of Woman's Friend magazine. 

Mrs Bird is very clear: letters containing any form of Unpleasantness must go straight into the bin. Emmy finds herself dismissing problems from lovelorn, grief-stricken and morally conflicted readers in favour of those who fear their ankles are unsightly or have trouble untangling lengths of wool. But soon the thought of desperate women going unanswered becomes too much to bear, and Emmy decides the only thing for it is to secretly write back.... 

Irresistibly funny and enormously moving, Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce is a love letter to female friendship, Blitz spirit, the kindness of strangers and the art of letter writing itself. 

Exclusive to the audiobook, Dear Mrs Bird includes an author's note read by A J Pearce.

©2018 AJ Pearce (P)2018 Macmillan Digital Audio

Critic reviews

"In a performance that transports the listener to WWII-era London, narrator Anna Popplewell becomes Emmy Lake who, like many others, is doing what she can to help the war effort. Popplewell embodies Emmy and the sundry characters who are part of her world, both during carefree times and as they struggle with the devastation of the war. A thoroughly enjoyable listen." (AudioFile

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant, sharp, entertaining, touching and educational

I’m an avid reader and not easily pleased. There is nothing better than being transported into a story within the first few words. Dear Mrs Bird is one of those rare novels that manages to be both entertaining and educational, extremely well written, funny and touching. But above all it’s extremely relatable. You can definitely feel like you become part of a different time thanks to AJ Pearce’s story. It’s a fascinating time in our history. It’s even more impressive that it’s the author’s first novel. I can’t wait until the next ones, and my money is on the film which will undoubtably be made out of this wonderful book. It was such a treat to listen and a bittersweet moment when the story has ended! Don’t hesitate to download this one, it’s unputdownable.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wartime tale of writing, bravery & soldiering on

Where does Dear Mrs Bird rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Towards the top, it's one I'd return to I think.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Dear Mrs Bird?

Wouldn't want to spoil it for anyone!

There are some great moments of courtship with a new man, some effective bombing scenes, and any with Mrs Bird in are very funny, she's such a pompous VIctorian!

What about Anna Popplewell’s performance did you like?

Great transformation into Mrs Bird from the young and sweet Emmy.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Blitz scenes. Say no more.

Any additional comments?

Warm and funny wartime tale of writing, bravery and soldiering on.

I'd class this as a 'light' read, even though it's set in the Blitz. A little like Lissa Evans 'Their Finest Hour and a Half' it's about love, life and writing in London, in the dark days of nightly bombing raids, and about keeping up the spirits of the nation.

Emmy wants to write, to be where the action is, to report on the battles and make a difference. By accident, she ends up enquiring after a job on a paper but it turns out to be a little less glamorous and dangerous than she'd hoped... she's now secretary to the uptight and pretty scary 'agony aunt' columnist Henrietta Bird.

With a very long list of unacceptable topics for publication, Emmy struggles to find suitable letters for Mrs Bird to reply to, and her heart goes out to all the letter writers whose problems are thrown into the bin. With her own love life in flux, and seeing the best and worst of London as a volunteer fire warden, she can't leave these people without some guidance... and writes back them herself!

It's a storyline that feels familiar, you are pretty sure you can see problems ahead, but Emmy and her friend Bunty and their Blitz lives are somehow comforting as well as dangerous and you feel for both young women doing their best to put on a brave face, help other people, look for love and stay friends. It's a convincing friendship, of both highs and lows, and there are some upsetting scenes, being wartime.

Mrs Bird is a wonderfully pompous matron of a bygone era, brought very well to life on the Audible version, you 'love to hate' her, and it's the sort of 'stick it to the man' plot that has you settling in for a quick read.

Loved Emmy, the setting, and a plot that doesn't go in unheard-of directions but gives you an enjoyable journey to travel down. I really hope this one becomes a film, it's perfect for the screen - romance, danger, friendship, war and the office secrets Emmy is hiding.

You'll love this one, and it is a great audiobook choice, an easy flowing listen.

With thanks to Nudge Books for the sample copy.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Sarah
  • East Yorkshire
  • 22-04-18

Fabulous narration, good story, but....

This is a tricky one! If there’s a plan for a follow up then it’s a good book, if not, then it’s finished in a rushed and incomplete way, it could definitely have at least done with an epilogue. If there is a follow up I would certainly buy it as I enjoyed the story, characters and narration. There are a few negative comments here about the narrator’s projection switching from low to high, but I think that’s really unfair when she’s voicing characters described in the book as whispering and timid or thundering and booming - and also conversations had amidst air raids!! My husband said he’d find the jolly hockey sticks delivery annoying, but again, I thought it fit well within the context of the book - all in all I found her performance “top draw”!!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Smashing

Something I liked about this book is that it was uplifting. It has substance with fact and fiction together.
It provoked a variety of emotions that I hadn’t anticipated.
The narrator was a comfortable listen and felt like a friend from that era by the end.
I took a chance with this audiobook as a change from my usual crime, with the basis of fact, fiction and characters.
Very glad I did, it’s smashing!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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I Adore This Book

The story is captivating, quite different, comical and sad in places. The description in the writing and the reading of the story really takes you to war time in London. Loved it and didn’t want it to end.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A delightful listen

Adored this book. A sweet storyline that does not shy away from the tricky parts of life and humanity, but does so with lightness and elegance.
A wonderful glimpse into WW2.
Anna Popplewell reads beautifully, bringing the characters to life with a bright energy that lends itself to the main character's speech and actions.
Recommending to friends and family.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Lovely wartime story

Dear Mrs Bird gives you an insight into being a young woman during World War II.
It is narrated in a crisp 1940s British accent and is a truly lovely story which made me smile many a time.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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A wonderful book

An immensely enjoyable listen taking one into a not very distant time but but horrific to think about now.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely Fabulous

Buy it now, an enduring story, charming & pacy...I loved every second...one of the best books of 2018 so far

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful

A really lovely story. Heartwarming and sad equally. I was glued to it all day today.
I think previous reviews mentioning the narrator shouting or being very quiet are a little unfair? The narrative calls for shouting as a bomb is coming down or similar.
I definitely recommend this x

2 of 2 people found this review helpful