Historical fiction highlights the pursuits and plights of women.
A.J. Pearce first introduced intrepid junior journalist Emmeline Lake in her funny and heartbreaking novel, Dear Mrs. Bird. Its sequel, Yours Cheerfully, opens in the final months of 1941 when England was the lone country standing against Nazi Germany. The Ministry of Information invites the women’s magazines of Great Britain to support the War Effort Recruitment Plan by publishing stories that highlight women working in factories. Emmy is chosen to write these pieces for her magazine, Women’s Friend. True to form, she throws herself into this project with energy, pluck and a great deal of concern for the factory workers and the readers her journal serves. The realities of women’s lives, particularly their children, are not taken into account in this huge push for workers. Emmy struggles with how to help these working, often widowed, mothers through her journalism. Like them, she is young, worried about her boyfriend, Captain Charles Mayhew, and what to wear. Important topics that are never ignored in the ladies’ pages.
Contributed by Maureen Millea Smith, a librarian at the Edina Library and Minnesota Book Award-winning novelist.