Yours Cheerfully [Book Review]

August 10, 2021

Yours Cheerfully by A J Pearce

Yours Cheerfully by A.J. Pearce (cover) Image: 2 women sit on a bench reading a newspaper with a London cityscape in the background

Genre/Categories/Settings: Historical Fiction, WW11, Women’s Fiction, London

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @ScribnerBooks for a complimentary eARC of #YoursCheerfully upon my request. All opinions are my own.

In this follow up to Dear Mrs. Bird, Emmeline Lake continues her journalism career as an advice columnist for Woman’s Friend magazine. Emmy’s best friend, Bunty, is reovering from her injuries and the loss of her fiance, and Emmy’s boyfriend is now stationed back in the U.K. The focus and intensity of this story changes as the Ministry of Information asks women’s magazines to help recruit female workers to the war effort. Emmy is thrilled to do her part, but then she is confronted with the very real challenges that women war workers face and takes a stand to support her new friends.

My Thoughts:

Even though Yours Cheerfully can be read as a stand-alone, I recommend reading Dear Mrs. Bird first for a richer reading experience. Dear Mrs Bird centers around the London Blitz and its affect on Londoners (bombings are a part of the story) and follows Emmy as she begins her journalism career, Yours Cheerfully focuses on the war effort from the perspective of women left behind and on Emmy’s activism. Yours Cheerfully is very much a “day in the life” type of story.

Do you ever create categories in your mind just for your own benefit? Just me?! In my own mind I think of Dear Mrs. Bird as light histfic and Yours Cheerfully as cozy histfic if that makes sense! What I’m trying to communicate is that I see a different degree of war intensity between the two books, but they are both upbeat and charming in tone.

Main Character: I admire Emmeline as the protagonist. I like a series that follows one character (as opposed to other series that rotate the protagonist of each story). We notice Emmeline’s growth as a competent and confident columnist, observe as she’s challenged by the unfairness of women’s work conditions, and cheer for her actions and involvement. Although Emmy has a fiance, the romance is not a main focus of the story.

Thoughtful themes include women supporting women, women and the War effort, women’s working conditions and equal wages, friendship, influence of news media on current issues, making a difference, and wartime romance.

Recommended: I’m warmly recommending Yours Cheerfully (and Dear Mrs. Bird) for readers looking for light, inspirational, and heartwarming WW11 historical fiction (closed door romance, no profanity, no graphic violence), for fans of fiesty and independent female protagonists, and for book clubs. I think I enjoyed Yours Cheerfully a bit more than Dear Mrs. Bird but that could be because I’ve become familiar with the characters, the setting, and the author. I’m definitely looking forward to more books in the Emmy Lake series!

My Rating:  3.5 (rounded to 4) Stars

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Yours Cheerfully by A.J. Pearce (cover) Image: 2 young women sit on a low wall reading one newspaper

Yours Cheerfully Information Here

Meet the Author, A.J. Pearce

Author A.J. PearceAJ Pearce grew up in Hampshire, England. She studied at the University of Sussex and Northwestern University. A chance discovery of a 1939 women’s magazine became the inspiration for her international bestseller, Dear Mrs. Bird, the first novel in The Emmy Lake Chronicles series. She lives in the south of England.

 

 



QOTD:

Is Yours Cheerfully on your TBR or have you read it?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

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African-American History Month Reading Recommendations

February 2, 2018

As the calendar reveals February’s focus on African-American History Month, I’m eager to recommend some thematic reading! 

Linking up today with Modern Mrs Darcy: Quick Lit February.

The Gilded Years
by Karin Tanabe

Gilded Years

Genre: historical fiction

One title that I read a few years ago that might not be on your radar is The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe.

Summary: This story shares the important and compelling experiences of Anita Hemmings and her dream of attending an exclusive school for women, Vassar College, in the late 1890s. To accomplish this extraordinary feat and pursue her chance for a better life, Anita must pass for white. It is interesting to me how her family and community support her in the implementation of her decision and work to protect her as she lives it out. At first, Anita maintains a distance from her college peers. However, as the years pass and Anita becomes friends with her socialite roommate from a prominent family in New York, the risk of discovery grows greater. Can she maintain her assumed identify? Will she graduate?

The choice: For me, the most interesting part of the story is the tension that develops between Anita and one of her dear friends who decides to live fully as an African-American, embrace her ethnic identity and heritage, and openly fight for equal rights. Which one of the young women has chosen the best path? Both decisions are difficult in their own ways and filled with sacrifices and joys. Through their two stories, the reader is presented with two viewpoints and experiences. What would you or I have done given that choice? Which choice helped further equal treatment for African-Americans? Was Anita’s choice a set back for African Americans? Or did she have every right to think of her own life first? Did her success as a student help the African-American cause by proving that an African-American can compete equally at Vassar?

Bottom Line: Although the story is compelling and emotional, the writing could be better and was the weakest part of my reading experience. For me, a lack of beautiful writing is easily overlooked for a captivating story that addresses strong themes of hope, sacrifice, betrayal, loyalty, family, taking risks, life choices, and friendship. It’s an important, inspiring, and memorable read. It would generate an excellent book club discussion and make a great movie!

Recommended? Highly recommended for readers looking for an inspirational and  interesting read in celebration of African-American History Month, for readers who enjoy compelling stories about strong, brave, independent women, for book clubs, and for readers who enjoy diverse reads and stories written from a different perspective.

Amazon Rating (February): 4.2 Stars

My Rating: 4 stars

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Gilded Years

Buy Here

Meet the Author, Karin Tanabe

Karen TanabeKarin Tanabe is a fiction writer and former Politico reporter whose writing has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, and The Washington Post among many other publications. Before turning to fiction, Karin worked as a journalist covering politics and celebrities. She has made frequent appearances on Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition and CNN. A graduate of Vassar College, she lives in Washington D.C.

 

 



Additional Reading Recommendations

(links will take you to further information)

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham (historical fiction, YA)

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (historical fiction)

Glory Over Everything: Beyond the Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom  (historical fiction)
*This is an interesting story as it also deals with the main character passing as white.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (historical fiction, family saga)

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (historical fiction)

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (contemporary fiction, YA)

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (contemporary fiction)

Stella by Starlight by Sharon M Draper (middle grade historical fiction selection)

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (nonfiction)

We Beat the Street: How a Friendship Pact Led to Success by Sampson Davis  (middle grade, biography/memoir)

There are so many titles; these are a few that I’ve read and can highly recommend. Can you add to these recommendations in the comments?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society



Looking Ahead:

I’m planning a review of this next week:
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI 
by David Grann

Amazon information here

I’m also continuing to read an ARC (advanced reader’s copy) of A Way Out: A Memoir of Conquering Depression and Social Anxiety by Michelle Balge. (review on 2/16)

A Way Out

Amazon information here (2/27/19 release date)

Also, I’m anticipating that I’ll start Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser (from my 2018 TBR) some time in the next two weeks.

Prairie Fires

Amazon information here



My TBR and the BUZZ

I’m noticing lots of buzz (great reviews) lately about two books (both Book of the Month Club selections for February): The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce and The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (author of The Nightingale). I’m adding them to the top of my TBR, so look for a review soon!

Do you belong to Book of the Month Club?

I also just heard that Louise Penny (Inspector Gamache series) will be releasing a new installment in November of this year! (no title or cover yet)
#meetmeinthreepines #threepinesgeek
available for preorder

What are you reading this week?



Links

Modern Mrs Darcy published a list of  25 Must-Read Classics for Women.
How many have you read?

I appreciated this post from The Ardent Biblio: Why It’s Important to Read Diverse Books
Please check it out.

Do you plan to reread Wrinkle in Time before the movie release on March 9?
Will you be seeing the movie?



Sharing is Caring

I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along, promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.



Let’s Discuss!

If you were an African-American, would you have made the decision to pass as white to take advantage of a path to help you pursue your dreams? If you are an African American, would you  have passed as white in the late 1890s? What do you think of individuals who made this choice?

Will you be seeking out a certain book to read during African-American History Month? Or do you have recommendations?

What are you reading this week?