Dear Mrs. Bird

Summer is around the corner so, I’m going to ignore the fact that I still need my winter coat here in Newfoundland, and begin my beach read recommendations! 

One of the things I like best about Dear Mrs. Bird is that author AJ Pearce starts the story with a bang. Not literally, although she could have given that it’s set in wartime England. What I mean is that the story starts right away. From chapter one we meet the main character, Emmy, and learn that what she wants most in the world is to become a war correspondent. 

She applies for a position, but in her excitement doesn’t realize that the job is not with a newspaper, but with a ladies magazine owned by the same company as the newspaper. So, rather than writing hard-hitting news stories, Emmy becomes the administrative assistant to the advice columnist, Mrs. Bird. 

If you like Call the Midwife, you’ll like Dear Mrs. Bird. Pan Macmillan advertises this debut novel as a story about friendship, and it is to a point. But in my opinion, it’s really a performance story about a woman who wants to prove herself on the job but to do so, needs to mature.

Mrs. Bird herself is a bit of a caricature (she even wears feathers), but that doesn’t stop the novel from being funny. Given the setting of London during the blitz, working jokes into the story can’t have been easy. There are some lovely, tender moments in this novel; just enough to make the characters endearing without ruining a sunshiny summer day.

As my friend Anne said, Dear Mrs. Bird is a white wine book. It’s a solid, entertaining read that you can enjoy from the patio.

Available in print, digital and audio versions. Visit your local library or click here to buy the ebook. If your library doesn’t carry this book, ask them to order it.

Audiobook Review

The audiobook is read by actress Anna Popplewell (of Narnia fame). Narrating a novel is a tough gig, but I find that stories performed by trained actors are usually excellent. This is no exception.

About the author 

Valerie Francis

Valerie Francis is a bestselling author, literary editor, and podcaster with a passion for stories by, for and about women.

Each month, Valerie recommends books from literature’s best female authors. Selections come from every genre because women write, and read, in every genre. The Women’s Fiction category offers up some terrific novels, but these days there’s a strong female presence in thriller, horror, crime, and other genres traditionally dominated by male writers. No matter what the publishing companies may think, in the 21st Century, Women’s Fiction is whatever we want it to be.

stories for women, by women, and about women