London, December 1940
"When I first saw the advertisement in the newspaper I thought I might actually burst. I'd had rather a cheerful day so far despite the Luftwaffe annoying everyone by making us all late for work, and then I'd managed to get hold of an onion, which was very good news for a stew. But when I saw the announcement, I could not have been more cock-a-hoop."
That is the opening paragraph of Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce, just published and already widely praised. I picked up the book yesterday, read the beginning and felt drawn in and comfortable straightaway thanks to its lovely light, bright and breezy tone.
The narrator is Emmeline Lake, would-be journalist, who lives in Pimlico with her best chum Bunty, working as secretary to a solicitor by day while manning the telephones for the Fire Service in the evenings. Emmy dreams of being a War Correspondent, so she answers an advertisement for a junior position at the "The London Evening Chronicle" and believes her time has come.
Described as "charming and delightful", "joyfully uplifting and optimistic", it sounded just the sort of thing I was looking for, and a couple of chapters in I can't wait to read on.