What I Thought:
It’s 1940 and Emmeline Lake’s dream is to become a Lady War Correspondent. After going for an interview with a newspaper, being offered the job, telling everyone she knows, Emmeline arrives for her first day only to realise that there has been a huge mistake. Instead of pounding the rubble of Blitz-ridden London she has actually been employed to work with their Agony Aunt, the formidable Mrs. Bird, and will spend her days sifting through letters for her column “Henrietta Helps”. She soon learns, however, that not all (in fact, most) letters don’t ever make it to the paper as they are (deemed “unpleasant” (any containing intimacy, unhappiness or divorce among other topics are a definite no-no). Emmy, bored and frustrated by all the poor people she can’t help, decides to secretly answer some of the letters, and not realsing the impending chaos that will ensue.
Dear Mrs. Bird is a quirky, fun read. It’s filled with likable (and some not so likable) characters who manage to navigate their way through the war and still find things to be cheerful about. Yes, it’s a light and breezy book but there are some difficult to read parts that I thought the author managed incredibly well and with great tenderness.
A charming book that should appeal to many. A lovely read with a lightness of touch which I thoroughly enjoyed.
NB/ I received a copy of this book from Picador to read in return for my honest review. Dear Mrs. Bird will be available to purchase in the UK on 05/04/18.
In three words:
Tiny, quirky, sweet
What I thought:
A tiny story in a tiny book about a tiny wife. This novella is less than 100 pages long, but what you get for that is a weird and wonderful little story that starts off in a bank. A robber (dressed rather flambouyantly in purple and feathers) enters and holds the queue up at gunpoint and asks each person in the line to hand over the thing with the most sentimental value to them. Once he has got something from each of them he disappears after telling them that he has taken a portion of each of their souls.
Over the coming days and weeks, bizarre things start to happen to those who were in line at the bank that day including one woman discovering she is made of candy and her husband eats her all up, and another one who has a tattoo of a lion on her leg which suddenly comes alive and starts chasing her all over town. I love the fact that the book has illustrations in it too which makes it all the more fairytale-like.
The Tiny Wife is so called after the main character who, after the bank episode, finds herself shrinking slightly each day – but will she disappear altogether?
Verdict: Fun, cute, quirky and well worth a read.
(Source: I received my copy of this book for review from The Friday Project – an imprint of Harper Collins)