CALLING MRS. PORTER
Emmy Lake #3
By: A.J. Pierce
Published: August 8, 2023
This is the third in the Emmy Lake Chronicles including DEAR MRS BIRD (a favorite of 2019) and YOURS, CHEERFULLY. I do recommend reading the first two books in the series to fully appreciate the story and characters.
Set in London during WWII in the 1940s, Emmy Lake is continuing her job at the Women’s Friend magazine. Emmy is still writing her “Yours, Cheerfully” column answering women’s heartbreaking yet important questions with advice in the friendliest yet appropriate way. She continues to live with her childhood best friend Bunty while her husband is at war. In this novel, their friend Thelma and her children join them while Thelma’s husband is also fighting the war.
Things are going well at the magazine until the staff hears about a new owner of the magazine. When Mrs. Porter arrives at the magazine headquarters to assess the viability of the magazine, her new ideas don’t sit too well with everyone. Mrs. Porter wants to include society wedding stories and dedicate full pages to photographs of her dog. She also finds the letters to Emmy’s advice column to be way too “mis” and puts a stop to answering any of the more depressing letters, though many of the letters pertain to wartime concerns.
As you can imagine, these changes don’t sit well with Emmy or the rest of the staff and frustrations come to a head with Mrs. Porter. Remember, there is also a war going on, and loss hits the Women’s Friend family. A.J. Pearce handles the characters’ emotions with great care, especially when the children are involved. Even though this series is set during the war, it is mostly in the background with a few characters being directly affected throughout the series. But it also reminds the reader that people had to live their lives, continue to raise their families, and work even through rationing, heartbreak, and great despair.
“Don’t worry, Em, we’ll do what all the other women in Britain are doing.”
“What’s that?” I said.
“Cope,” said Bunty.
Leaving Emmy, Bunty, and the Women’s Friend crew behind made me a bit sad at the end of this story. Their witty banter, close-knit friendships, and determination to fight for what they believed in kept me turning the pages. I loved being transported to 1940s London with women I’d be honored to call my friends. I chose to listen to the first two in the series for my own enjoyment, narrated by the talented Amy Popplewell. Receiving this one for review was an honor, especially since the book was already on my to-read list.
“Bunty said you didn’t miss someone any less, you just made room for other things to surround the gap they had left.”
AJ Pearce was born in Hampshire, UK. Her favorite subjects at school were English and History, which now (finally) makes sense. Her debut novel, DEAR MRS. BIRD was a Sunday Times Bestseller and Richard and Judy Bookclub Pick. It was shortlisted for Debut of the Year at The 2019 British Book Awards and has been published in the USA, Canada, and Australia and in translation in over fifteen languages. When not writing books, AJ enjoys being fairly rubbish at a variety of hobbies and has recently started to learn to paint, with so far messy although enthusiastic results. Check out her website, HERE.