Review: Yours Cheerfully by A.J. Pearce

 

Title: Yours, Cheerfully {The Emmeline Lake Chronicles #2}

Author: A.J.Pearce

Published: 29th June 2021, Picador

Status: Read June 2021 courtesy PanMacmillan Australia

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My Thoughts:

 

Yours Cheerfully begins where it’s predecessor, Dear Mrs. Bird, left off, (though it’s not necessary to have read the former to enjoy the latter) as the small staff of Women’s Friend magazine adjust to recent arrivals and departures. Junior journalist, Emmeline (Emmy) Lake is happy to be assisting the new agony aunt, but is excited when editor, Guy Collins, invites her to attend a meeting at the Ministry of Information with him. There, the government asks that women’s magazines actively assist in recruiting for the war effort, and Emmy is delighted when Guy gives her permission to develop a feature on women beginning work at a munitions factory, inspired by a chance meeting on a train.

Set during WWII, Yours Cheerfully is focused on England’s homefront as women are encouraged to enter the workplace, particularly in industrial factory settings, to both fill vacancies left by the men joining the armed forces, and cater for the needed increase in production of essential resources like arms and munitions. In general, women were eager to ‘support the boys’, but as Pearce explores in Yours Cheerfully, little thought was given to the needs of working women with children. This presents Emmy with a dilemma as she can’t honestly report on the problem in her Women’s Friend feature, but she desperately wants to help her new friends, and women like them, resolve the stalemate caused by a lack of available childcare.

It’s not all work for Emmy though, there is romance as her beau, Captain Charles Mayhew continues to visit as often as he can while he is stationed in London, and her best friend and housemate Bunty is as sweet and supportive as ever, even as she continues to recover from injuries incurred in the bombing that killed her fiancé. The characters in Yours Cheerfully are almost universally appealing, including the staff at Women’s Friend and the group of women Emmy becomes involved with at the factory. I really enjoyed the way in which Pearce captured the spirit of camaraderie and friendship that typified wartime Britain..

Charming and warm hearted with just a touch of the era’s poignancy Yours Cheerfully is an engaging historical novel certain to leave you smiling.

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