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YOURS CHEERFULLY by A J Pearce (Picador £14.99, 340 pp)

YOURS CHEERFULLY

by A J Pearce (Picador £14.99, 340 pp)

In this 1940s-set follow-up to Dear Mrs Bird, Emmy is a journalist on Woman’s Friend. When the Ministry of Information asks for her help in the propaganda war, writing articles recruiting women for munitions work, she is thrilled.

The patriotic glow fades when she discovers the true nature of the working conditions. But in trying to improve things for the factory girls, will Emmy put their jobs at risk?

Meanwhile, she must organise her wedding — parachute-silk dress and all.

Full of pluck, humour and make-do-and-mend, Pearce’s novels are a comfort and joy. They are spiffing and straightforward, but nonetheless aware of war’s class and sexual politics. It’s a clever mixture.

A SECOND-HAND HUSBAND

by Claire Calman (Boldwood £12.99, 383 pp)

The dream of country life plus a second wife’s worst nightmare equals Claire Calman’s latest novel. Ditzy antique dealer Natalie is crazy about dishy new husband Carl. But then, without warning, he buys a run-down Kent cottage.

It has no roof and is smack bang next to the stunning Hall where his foxy ex-wife lives. Natalie was unaware they were still this close and doesn’t know why Wife Number One is so hell-bent on humiliating her.

First, a showdown over sourdough, then a sneery, posh pool party. What’s really behind it all though? With her trademark warmth and wit Calman unpacks the secrets everyone is keeping.

THE ISLAND HOME by Libby Page (Orion £12.99, 480 pp)

THE ISLAND HOME

by Libby Page (Orion £12.99, 480 pp)

For the first time since she ran away as a teenager, Lorna must return to the island where she grew up. Her estranged parents have died and her daughter Ella wants to meet her Scottish family. Lorna, now teaching in London, is dreading going back.

What happened here has affected her life ever since. But the past now has to be faced, as well as the brother and friends she left behind. How will they receive her?

Page is a very emotional writer and her specialist area is female friendships and family relationships.

If you like empowering stories full of healing and hugs you’ll love this.

To buy any book reviewed here, visit mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3308 9193  

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