Friday, January 25, 2019

Mini-Reviews: World War II in Letters

Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce (2018)

Emmy Lake thought she was applying for a journalist position at a newspaper, but instead finds herself typing letters for advice columnist Henrietta Bird in WWII London.  When Mrs. Bird refuses to answer some letters due to their unpleasant nature, Emmy takes it upon herself to try to help.

I absolutely loved this charming book and flew through it in just a few hours.   It was a wonderful combination of heart and humor, lightheartedness and deep emotion.  Emmy is a lovely main character - she's spunky and plucky, always wanting to help others but maybe not going about it in the right way.  I loved her empathy for the people writing letters to Mrs. Bird, hoping to get advice.  It's wartime and people have all sorts of new concerns and problems, but they're also still facing life's everyday problems.  Emmy doesn't think it's fair to ignore them, so she starts writing back to them, without Mrs. Bird's permission.

Emmy is surrounded by a cast of characters that I adored just as much as her.  From her best friend Bunty, to her love interest Charles, to her boss Mr. Collins, they each added so much to the book.  Pearce's writing and use of language really evoked the time period, and she captured so well the horror of the Blitz and the resiliency of Londoners during trying times.  4.5 stars


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (2008)

In 1946, author Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a man purporting to be a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which begins her journey of learning about this German-occupied community in the British Isles and how its inhabitants coped during the war.

I thought this book was lovely, particularly the first half when Juliet starts corresponding with members of the Guernsey Literary Society.  Although the society started as a fluke, the members really came to rely on it, and I enjoyed reading about how books got them through tough times.  Each character was richly developed and had a unique backstory.  One of the best characters was a woman named Elizabeth; although she doesn't write any letters in the book, we learn about her through others.  She was clearly a big part of the community and a hero.

The descriptions of Guernsey were amazing; I felt like I was really in this little community.  My only quibble was actually with Juliet; although I enjoyed her and loved her passions for books and writing and Guernsey, I thought she was too witty.  Sometimes it sounded like she was trying too hard.  4 stars

26 comments:

  1. I'll have to check out Dear Mrs. Bird. It sounds like something I'd enjoy. I really liked Guernsey. Did you see the movie on Netflix? It was so good!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've read and loved both of these books. They have a big, big 'recommended' tag on them from me. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I definitely think I need to go pick up Dear Mrs. Bird soon, it sounds wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I LOVED The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society! From your review, I'm definitely going to have to check out Dear Mrs Bird as well!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've seen a lot of people talking about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society movie but I haven't heard much about the book! I may have to give this a try!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I probably will at some point!

      Delete
  6. Thanks for confirming that I REALLY need to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society!

    ReplyDelete
  7. These both sound like fabulous reads! I've seen Guernsey on Netflix too and wondered what it was about...

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed Dear Mrs. Bird so much. Its been several years since I read GLPPP, but I definitely enjoyed Dear Mrs. Bird more. This was a great idea pairing these two mini reviews together.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I get so thrilled when I see people review and love Dear Mrs Bird -- that book was just such an unexpected gem!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really was! I think I found out about it from your blog, so thank you!

      Delete
  10. Lovely reviews, Angela. I’ve read the first but not the latter...and I own it, so I need to!

    Jennifer Tar Heel Reader

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm glad to hear both of these were great reads for you. I really want to read Dear Mrs. Bird now.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Ooo, I want to read both of these. I am glad you liked them both and makes them a little bit higher on the to get list. I have so many there. Great reviews! Makes me want to order them up and I just might!

    Mary

    ReplyDelete
  13. Dear Mrs. Bird sounds very sweet! I enjoyed Guernsey and still want to watch the Netflix movie too :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't seen the movie yet - one of these days!

      Delete

I'm so glad you stopped by, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Comments are always greatly appreciated!