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BOOK REVIEW: Yours Cheerfully by A. J. Pearce (The Emmy Lake Chronicles Book 2)

Published June 24th, 2021 by Picador
Hisrtorical Fiction, Humorous Fiction, Coming-of-Age Fiction, Book Series


The Times bestseller Yours Cheerfully is the charming and hilarious tonic we’ve all been waiting for.

‘The best possible antidote for the blahs, the doldrums, all slumps, all dumps… Loved. Every. Word.’
Bonnie Garmus, author of Lessons in Chemistry

London, September, 1941. Following the departure of the formidable Editor, Mrs Henrietta Bird, things are looking up for Emmeline Lake at Woman’s Friend magazine. And while the war rages on, Emmy is even firmer that she must do all she can to help on the Home Front. As ever, she is determined to Make a Go of It. When the Ministry of Information calls on Britain’s women’s magazines to help recruit female supporters to the war effort, Emmy is thrilled to be asked to help.

But when she and best friend Bunty meet a young woman who shows them the real challenges that women war workers face, Emmy must tackle a life-changing dilemma: should she carry out her duty or stand by her friends?

‘Buoyant and bubbly, a tonic in testing times’ Mail on Sunday
‘A brilliant follow up to Dear Mrs Bird’ Clare Mackintosh
‘Absolutely lovely!’ Marian Keyes
‘Full of wit, friendship and the uplifting knowledge that when people come together, great changes can be made’ Katie Fforde



“I thought of Yours Cheerfully, there had certainly been letters about war work, but had I taken them seriously enough? Or had I been concentrating too much on the lovelorn and romantically baffled? Who exactly was I trying to help? The ministry I was so desperate to impress, or the readers I had promised I would do everything I can to support?”

Picking up where the previous book left off, we are back with Emmeline Lake in this marvellous sequel to Dear Mrs. Bird. It is September 1941 and Emmy has been given the job of assisting the new advice columnist at Woman’s Friend. With war still raging around them, she is determined to do all she can to help on the Home Front. So when the Ministry of Information calls upon women’s magazines to help recruit female supporters of the war effort, she is thrilled to be asked to help. Spearheading a new series focusing on real women workers, Emmy learns the stark truth of the challenges they face each day that leaves her in a quandary: will she carry out her duty or stand up for what she believes in?

Lively, uplifting, moving and funny, this is a scrumptious treat of a story that soothes your soul like a balmy spring day. After loving the first book in this series I had been meaning to pick up this sequel since it was released. With the third instalment now being published, I have finally got around to it and decided to listen to the audiobook so I could fit it around my physical reads. And I am so glad I did. Wonderfully written and impeccably narrated, the story came to life as I listened, transporting me back to war-torn London and immersing me in the world of the everyday people trying to survive. When you have a chipper, lighthearted story set in such a tumultuous and dark time, it is a real reminder of the strength and resilience of the human spirit. This book broke my heart and then mended it again many times over. And I couldn’t get enough.

“There are women who stick up for each other, and women who don’t.”

One of my favourite elements of this book was its cast of strong female characters, including the protagonist who is at the heart of this story. Bubbly, courageous and admiral, Emmy Lake is a likeable and relatable heroine who is a key part of this story’s charm. It was great to be back with her and watch her blossom in both her personal and private life but it was the themes of female friendship and women supporting and uplifting other women that I enjoyed most of all. The other characters, particularly Emmy’s friends, are compelling, spirited and memorable, leaping from the page as much as Emmy did. And as much as I enjoyed revisiting the characters from book one, there were some great additions to the cast that were vital in making this book so special. A particular mention has to go to young Ruby who stole my heart and made me smile every time she was on the page. 

Jaunty, vibrant, heartwarming and tender, Yours Cheerfully is a book you get lost in. A joy from beginning to end, I would highly recommend it. I loved the audiobook so much that I immediately bought Mrs Porter Calling and started listening. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮



AJ Pearce was born in Hampshire, UK. Her favourite subjects at school were English and History, which now (finally) makes sense.

She majored in American History at the University of Sussex, spending her Junior Year at Northwestern University in Illinois, USA.

Her debut novel Dear Mrs Bird was a Sunday Times Bestseller and has been published in the USA, Canada and Australia and in translation in over fifteen languages. 

Dear Mrs Bird was shortlisted for the Debut of the Year at the 2019 British Book Awards as well as the Royal Society of Literature Sir Christopher Bland Prize and the Historical Writers’ Association’s Debut Crown 2019 for the best historical debut. It was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick in the UK, and in the USA was shortlisted in the US Library Reads Favorites of Favorites 2018. In 2022 it was chosen for BBC Radio 4’s Book Club.

AJ has appeared at literary events and festivals across the UK, including Cheltenham, Henley, Ilkley, Chipping Norton, Durham, Guildford, and The British Library.

Her second novel, the sequel Yours Cheerfully, was published in 2021 and was a Times Top 10 hit. Her new novel, Mrs Porter Calling is the third in the Emmy Lake Chronicles series and will be published 25 May 2023 in the UK and 8 August in the USA/Canada.

AJ will be touring the UK around the publication, starting in May. Please go to the Events page for full info and how to book tickets.

When not talking about, researching, or writing books, AJ enjoys being fairly rubbish at a variety of hobbies, and has recently decided to try to learn to paint. Should anyone have alerted members of the Royal Academy of Arts, it is more than likely that no one is holding their breath.



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Thanks for reading Bibliophile xxxx

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