- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1025 KB
- Print Length: 320 pages
- Publisher: Picador (10 April 2018)
- Sold by: Macmillan (AU)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07B44WBH3
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 832 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #72,979 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Dear Mrs Bird Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
|Length: 320 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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From the Back Cover
‘A joy from start to finish. Dear Mrs Bird is as funny as it is heart-warming’ John Boyne, author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
‘A marvellous treat. Charming and delightful’ Nina Stibbe, author of Love, Nina
'Funny, fresh, and touching, Dear Mrs Bird is a treat of a read' Annie Barrows, author of Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
'A joyfully uplifting and optimistic novel . . . a timely story of courage and good humour in adversity' Observer
‘Delivering a blend of humour, bravery, friendship, and desperate heartbreak, Dear Mrs Bird made me laugh out loud on one page, while on the next brought a lump to my throat . . . I genuinely loved every word’ Dinah Jefferies, author of The Tea Planter’s Wife
‘Dear Mrs Bird should be available on prescription, it is such a tonic’ Harriet Evans, author of The Butterfly Summer
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Like many others, Em volunteers night shifts for the Fire Service, where Bunty’s boyfriend William works. The work of these brave men is vividly described, as are the effects of Luftwaffe bombing. The volunteers catch a couple of hours of sleep before going to their day jobs. Dismayed by Mrs Bird’s hard-heartedness, Em answers some reader letters with sensible kindness, signing off as Mrs Bird. What could possibly go wrong?
The mood of the novel, at first refreshingly upbeat, darkens. Em’s fiancé sends an unwelcome telegram. She has a go at William for putting his life at risk to save a rescued child’s doll. Although there are still happy times and wonderful moments, tragedy lurks. This is a great book for smiles and tears, and for the flavour of the time. Bunty and Em fall out in terrible circumstances, but are reconciled.
The author fell in love with women’s magazines of the period and was struck by the drama of the choices women of that time had to make, which no doubt accounts for the authenticity of the tone. Part of the book’s appeal is in the upright values the characters espouse. There’s something to be said for pluck, stoicism and cheerful unselfishness.
Top international reviews
But almost worse are the anachronisms. One letter is from a 'Shy Teenager'. NO! Sorry, A J Pearce, teenagers were not invented until 1944 in America (Mrs Bird is set in 1940), and it didn't come to Great Britain until rock 'n roll in the mid-to-late fifties. 'Up tight' and get 'up to speed' are amongst the many other modern expressions used, and jerked me out of the story EVERY TIME!
I actually quite enjoyed the story and felt the friendship between the two girls was believable and very moving in the end. I also think the author is A Good Writer (are you now beginning to see how irritating this is?) if she will stop relying on these silly devices. The story did make me chuckle a bit at the beginning, but I have to agree with some of the reviews in that I think this is more for Young Adults.
To me Emmeline is a cross between Bridget Jones and Bertie Wooster, stumbling from one faux-pas to another, while talking the vernacular of schoolgirls.
At first I found this more irritating than amusing, and felt the story more appropriate for teenage consumption. Until she gets caught up in the memorable Café de Paris bomb disaster, in which beloved friends were involved, and suddenly she has to grow up.
After that it was hard to put down, and I am very glad I persevered with it.
To me, who lived through the London blitz, the author has done her research well, and painted a reasonably accurate picture of just what it was like.
The characters are of their time , believable and most my likable
Set in London at the time of the second world war it is interesting funny and sad and real
My only concern about the book is that I felt that a few plot threads were not neatly tied up by the end of the novel, and indeed one character feels totally forgotten about as he isn't even mentioned in the closing chapter. I raced through this book within days, and especially towards the end of the book it was un-put-down-able - but I really did want to see that character's arc resolved. It's jolly good stuff, but not five star quality as we never learn the outcome of that particular subplot. It was as light and fluffy as a book about the Blitz possibly could be, and definitely worth a read if you're in the mood for something easy.
And for me the book is all about the writing style. When the author gets it right, it's great. But the more I read it, the more I got irritated with words and phrases that didn't exist in 1940 eg 'teenager' (came into use in the 50s), "I'll sort it" (they would have said "I'll sort it out" in those days", "getting up to speed". I could go on. I felt that a book that relied so much on a certain period of language ought not to have allowed words and idioms from the future in. About half way through that sloppiness began to annoy me, and I found I didn't really care about the characters either, so I stopped reading it (well, OK I skipped to the last chapter just to see how it ended).
You have to be willing to suspend belief in the characters to a certain extent. The dialogue is very 'jolly hockey sticks.'
I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, but I think that's primarily as it's not my normal type of read, which is why I'm giving it 2 stars.