Yours Cheerfully by A. J. Pearce is the second novel in the Emmy Lake Chronicles. It starts in November 1941 immediately after the end of Dear Mrs. Bird, which I reviewed last week. While Yours Cheerfully could be read as a stand-alone novel, I don’t recommend it. There is so much character development in the first book that makes the second book more relatable.
Emmy Lake has managed to hang on to her job at Woman’s Friend magazine after “some unfortunate hiccups that couldn’t be helped.” The former editor, Mrs. Bird, has resigned, making the office a more pleasant place. Emmy is allowed to continue working on the help section under the supervision of her older co-worker, Mrs. Mahoney. The column is renamed “Yours Cheerfully” and Emmy works hard to answer all types of questions mailed in by the subscribers.
Mr. Guy Collins has been promoted to editor. Not only is he a mentor to Emmy, but he is also the half-brother of Emmy’s boyfriend, Captain Charles Mayhew. Along with several other women’s magazines, Woman’s Friend is asked by the Ministry of Information to help recruit female war workers. Mr. Collins gives Emmy her chance to finally be a journalist by putting her in charge of the effort.
Emmy and her dear friend Bunty befriend Anne Oliver, a war widow with two young children. She was in desperate need of employment and took a job at a munitions factory. Anne was fortunate that her mother could watch the children while she works long shifts and weekends. After the government clearance is given, Emmy visits the munitions factory and writes several articles about the importance of the work being done by Anne and the females.
Mr. Collins encourages Emmy to show the Ministry what our readers can do, and look after the readers while they are doing it. This turns out to be easier said than done. Several women are fired for bringing their children to work when they cannot find adequate childcare. The workers who want to rally for a government-funded childcare facility are told they will lose their jobs if they protest. Emmy must balance a fine line of helping these workers while following the strict guidelines and censorship of the Ministry of Information.
4-Stars. This novel focuses on the mistreatment of female war workers who are not given equal pay and are not allowed to join the union. They were expected to work long hours, care for their children, and maintain their homes while the men were fighting. It also shows the horrific lack of government financial and emotional support for war widows.
This novel will be published on August 10, 2021. Thank you to Ashley Gilliam at Simon and Schuster for my NetGalley widget to have an advanced reader copy of this delightful story.