Book Club



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.

Valerie Francis

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie

Well, you’re not going to believe this. Reece Witherspoon and I picked the same book for our February book clubs. Sort of.  Late last year, I came across THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE by Marie Benedict and was fascinated by the premise. Benedict writes historical fiction, much like Philippa Gregory,

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Valerie Francis

A Girl Named Howard

This month, rather than recommend one book to read, I’m recommending the entire body of work of one author because Anne Rice, who passed away December 11, 2021, single-handedly revolutionized the role of vampires in literature.  Yes, vampires.  And the impact she’s had is more significant than you might realize.

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Valerie Francis

The Christmas Bookshop

If you’ve had it up to your eyes with holiday preparations and are looking for a light-hearted story to escape into, The Christmas Bookshop, by Jenny Colgan, might be just the ticket. The title is a bit misleading, in my opinion. Yes, there’s a bookstore. Yes, the plot unfolds in

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