Mrs Porter Calling by A J Pearce – review

Published by Picador

Publication date – 25 May 2023

Source – review copy

Emmy Lake is the much-loved agony aunt at Woman’s Friend magazine, relied upon by readers across the country as they face the challenges of life on the Home Front. With the problem page thriving and a team of fantastic women behind her, Emmy finally feels she is Doing Her Bit.

But when a glamorous new owner arrives, everything changes. As the Honourable Mrs Porter tries to charm her way around the rest of the team, Emmy realizes that she plans to destroy everything readers love about the magazine.

With happiness quickly turning to heartbreak and war still raging in Europe, will Emmy and her friends find the inner strength they need to keep keeping on – and save the magazine they love?

Emmy is thoroughly enjoying her job at Woman’s Friend, helping her readers with their problems. She has her group of friends and is surrounded by warmth, laughter and love. All she could wish for is that the war is over and her husband Charles back home. But then comes along Mrs Porter who threatens the very existence of Emmy’s beloved magazine. Now Emmy and her friends have to find a way of saving the magazine before it’s too late.

You know how with some authors you get excited when you even hear a rumour that a new book is coming from them? A J Pearce is one of those authors. Her Emmy Lake chronicles are a highlight of my reading year so I was beyond thrilled to hear that Emmy’s third adventures were due to take place.

Now if you are new to these books I would highly recommend starting at the beginning with Dear Mrs Bird. This is not just because the story established Emmy and her friends and Mrs Porter Calling references things but because you will be missing out on a treat if you don’t read it. And then read Yours, Cheerfully, the second book. And then read this. Your heart will be so warmed it will show up on a thermal imaging radar.

Emmy has to tackle the threat to from Mrs Porter, prepare for new lodgers, hide possibly stolen chickens in her shed and find out whether romance is on the cards for Bunty. All the while she is worrying about where her husband, Charles, may be, away fighting in the war.

There is a warmth that woven into every page of Mrs Porter Calling. The reader is immediately drawn back in time to war torn London and Emmy’s life. There is the juxtaposition of finding joy in life mixed with the threat of potential tragedy every day. The storyline is a great one. There’s the threat of a villain in disguise, a spoilt heiress who wants to make the magazine a toy project to reflect the things she likes. Mrs Porter has no idea how to run a magazine, doesn’t care what the readers love about Woman’s Friend and basically wants to turn it into a society page. Not one used to hearing the word no, she rejects advise from the staff. So Emmy, Guy and their colleagues have to take matters into their own hands.

As usual A J Pearce manages to warm your heart whilst breaking it at the same time. There are sad moments, moments that move the reader for their simple expression, that makes them all the more impactful.

It’s often difficult to describe exactly what it is about a book you loved that made it a book you loved. It can be the great storyline, as it is here. It can be the characters that you fall for, that seem like friends, or people you would love to know in real life, as it is here. It can be the setting, the feeling of comfort the book brings, the entertainment, the joy of being in a book you can’t wait to get back to, as it is here. It is also an indefinable, personal something, where a book just matches with you. Some secret alchemy of words transferred from one person’s imagination onto a page and meeting another person, a stranger and simply working a magic spell. All this is a long winded way of saying I loved Mrs Porter Calling for reasons I can explain and also just because I did.

A book about friendship, love, loss and fighting for you believe in. The only bad part in it was reading the last word and knowing there would be a long wait for a return visit. Quite simply, a joy to read.

Highly recommended.

You can buy a copy of the book here.

(This is an affiliate link so I may make a small amount should you purchase from it. You can also buy Mrs Porter Calling from your local independent bookshop.)

One Comment Add yours

  1. I’m so jealous! It doesn’t come out over here until August!


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