Emmeline Lake wants to be a newspaper correspondent, in fact a war correspondent. Why not women are driving motorcycles and in factories, the war in its perverse way is giving opportunities to females that pre 1939 was not.
When she chances upon an advertisement for a job at the London Evening Chronicle she grabs the opportunity and successfully secures the job.
What Emmeline gets though is not the job she has dreamed of. She gets to work with the indomitable Mrs Bird the advice columnist for a women’s weekly magazine. Everyone has to start somewhere but she is starting by filtering most of the letters written as they are deemed unacceptable. Mrs Bird is quite clear as to what she sees as acceptable correspondence to be answering.
Emmeline does not.
Making the best of the situation she is in, Emmeline decides perhaps she could possibly answer some of these letters privately. Risking everything she does, but then she goes one step further and gets on of her answers published in the weekly magazine.
It is bound to end in disaster.
But then all around them disaster is striking out close to home. We are not just taken with the correspondence during this period of war. We are taken right into the heart of the home front and the bombing in London.
Emmeline also volunteers at the Auxiliary Fire Service as a telephone operator overnight – she gets to hear first hand the devastation of the German bombers – then one night it is brought much closer to home.
It seems that Emmeline could be about to lose a lot through her actions and the war.
This is a wonderful novel which transports you into the heart of Emmeline’s life, into the heart of London, into the reality that is war on the Home Front. Not afraid to tackle subjects either through the letters that are written in to Mrs Bird or the main storyline of the book, this debut author captured my heart and attention immediately and I was completely drawn into the story.
Perfect if you enjoyed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society .