AJ Pearce
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How are you? I hope you're really well.

Welcome to the July newsletter, which eagle-eyed readers will note follows a total lack of a newsletter in June. I'm so sorry!

June was bonkers as I've been juggling writing with all the activity going on around Yours Cheerfully coming out in paperback last week (you can find links to buy it HERE!). There are some lovely things to get involved with, and I've put the info in the Writing News section below.

First though, some of you may remember that in the last letter I was celebrating the start of the British summer in torrential rain. Total washout. Wet as a fish. Could not be happier.

Now? Obviously, it's gone way too hot and I am currently incapable of moving more than two metres away from the fridge. At the same time, everyone I know is messaging to say that their feet now look like lilos. None of us are cut out for this and my entire Twitter timeline is full of normally shy people announcing to anyone who will listen that they have stopped wearing a bra. Blimey.

Anyway, before all this, I was working hard on the next book and so I only had one really decent jolly all June. It was, however, a cracker.

I got to open a fête.

I know! Is there anything better than a summer fête? The answer is no, there is not. 

A lovely friend of mine invited me along to part of what had turned into a four-day beano around the Queen's Jubilee. They had already planted the Queen's Canopy Tree which was just as well as I've only ever planted one tree and it died. So I just had to poke in a plaque which thankfully I managed without killing anything.  Then I had a go on all the games which was great, even though I must say they ran a very tight ship. You had to throw four beanbags in a bucket to win a prize and when I got three in a row but choked under the pressure and missed with the last one, no amount of pleading got me anywhere.

If you want to know why we won the war, here's your answer. Margaret (now 101) and Joan (just turned 90) didn't cut Hitler any slack and saw no reason to let standards go now. It was four in a row or nothing. Hard cheese. If you want a role model for older age, I promise you, these are your women. They are genuinely awesome.

I also didn't win at Pin the Tail on the Donkey, or Pin the Pin on Putin's Nose, (that one raised loads of money), and it was high risk on the Tombola as someone else had won the Andre Rieu DVD but swapped it back in for a tin of peas. I was relieved not to win it because it would have been rude to put it back for a second time and as a lady did remind me, he is a very talented man.

So all in all, I had the loveliest afternoon and would now like to offer my services for fête openings on an international basis, should any famous person who usually does these things not be available. Thank you.

Other than that, I have been horribly dull, so let's get onto stuff about books.
Writing News ... It's All Go on the Cheerful Front
With Yours Cheerfully now out in paperback in both the UK and the USA/Canada, loads has been going on and first off, if you live in the UK there's a seriously good competition in partnership with Sophie Allport and the Alexander Hotel Collection. (I'm not kidding - it's really impressive).

You can win a two night stay at the gorgeous Barnett Hill hotel AND a £150 Sophie Allport voucher. Now that's what I call a prize! And you get a signed copy of Yours Cheerfully too which is alright, although arguably not as good as the other bits. I don't think I'm allowed to enter, but I'm not bitter and hope that you or one of your friends will! 

I'm really chuffed about this partnership as I'm rather a Sophie Allport fan, as you can see from the picture below. It shows my favourite Writing Mug in the good old days when it was cold and I lived on hot chocolate. 
Emmy and Bunty Get a Spin-off!
To tie in with the competition, I've written an exclusive short story starring Emmy and Bunty which you can read here. It's set before the start of Yours Cheerfully and is the first spin-off I've ever done. It also features Emmy's brother Jack and his friend Nab, who hasn't had a chance to be in the books yet. I really enjoyed writing it so I hope you like it.

There's also a Q&A with me which includes the three people living or dead that I'd invite for dinner. I love questions like this. Who would you invite? It's quite hard to narrow it down. You'll see that mine would probably involve a row because I included a very famous historical figure who in my view was a total misogynist pig and I think it's about time someone told him as much.

I did choose a dinner I think he'd enjoy though, so I retain the moral high ground by being a nicer person than the old despot. I hope he likes chips.
Upcoming Insta Live
Finally on the Yours Cheerfully front, if you're on Instagram, I'm doing an Insta Live on Wednesday 20 July at 7pm (BST) at Are You Sitting Comfortably? which is hosted by two of my favourite Insta accounts, Rebecca @myenglishcountrycottage and Rebecca @margotgoodlife. Do join us if you're free as I think it is going to be really good fun. (Both are very much worth following, too).
Bargain Dear Mrs Bird
And just in case you know anyone who hasn't read Dear Mrs Bird yet (AND YOU'RE STILL FRIENDS WITH THEM? DON'T EVEN LOOK AT ME) and think they might like to get in the know, there's a vg DMB promotion at the moment.

For the whole of July Dear Mrs Bird is only 99p on Kindle, and obviously it's the perfect summer read! (Other than the fact it made my next-door neighbour cry when he read it on the beach, so there is that.)

Right, enough of me talking about my own books - onto some really good other ones!
Top Reads Corner
Here are this month's Top Reads. 

As ever, most will either be in, or available to order from your local high street book shop, or on where you'll support local independent book shops if you buy through them. They all have links if you click on the book images. 

I also list the books featured in this newsletter on my own page, so if you've missed any, you can always catch up with recommendations over there.
Recently published in hardback, if you're a fan of Bridgerton (and I definitely am), then I think you'll really enjoy this.
London, 1818: In twelve weeks' time, Kitty Talbot and her sisters will be made homeless unless Kitty can find herself a husband and secure them all a fortune.  Not exactly one for marrying any old bloke with some money, as you can imagine, when Kitty hits the London social scene, things don't go as she'd hope.
It's funny, fast-paced and more about sticking up for yourself than hiding behind a fan being a wallflower. Great fun.
Very different of course, this New York Times Bestseller is a superb non-fiction book about Sir Harold Gillies, for many the father of plastic surgery, who started the world's first hospital for facial reconstruction in order to help injured soldiers during the First World War.
It's as much about the utter horror of war as the medical side of things, and is a fascinating and above all, deeply moving account of the men who were known as the 'Loneliest of Tommies'. I highly recommend it.    

(Note: features descriptions and photographs of serious injuries 
and surgical procedures).
This super keenly awaited sequel to The Miniaturist only came out last week and I haven't read it yet, but I am a big Jessie Burton fan and bought it the day it came out. It looks brilliant! 
Amsterdam, 1705: Thea Brandt is turning eighteen, and is ready to welcome adulthood with open arms. At the city's theatre, Walter, the love of her life, awaits her, but at home in the house on the Herengracht, all is not well - her father Otto and Aunt Nella argue endlessly, and the Brandt family are selling their furniture in order to eat. On Thea's birthday, the secrets from the past begin to overwhelm the present.
I can't wait to read it.
This month's Older Book and a much loved absolute classic.
I was reminded of I Capture the Castle a couple of months ago when someone posted a picture on Dodie Smith's birthday. Set in the 1930s and written in 1948, if you haven't read it, it is the most wonderfully written coming of age story narrated by the young Cassandra Mortmain. Around the time I first found an old 1930s magazine, I also realised that most of the novels I was reading had been written in the mid-twentieth century. In my view, it is still a seriously under-heralded era for female writers. I Capture the Castle is one of the best.
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And finally...

I love old ads and brands because there's no mucking about. Imagine the product development chaps on this one:

'Right-oh team, why do you think ladies will like this product?'

'Because they don't want to smell, sir.'

'Well put old chap. No one wants an awkward odour. Oh no.'

'That would look good on a jar, sir.' 

'What? Odour-oh-no? Smithins, you're right. No need to waste any more time. Lunch at my club?'

'Thank you very much, sir.'

'Excellent. I'll have the steak.' 

If the books don't work out, I fully intend to start my own ad agency. You heard it here first.

Right, I need to get back to my edits!

Thank you SO much if you have bought Yours Cheerfully, or reviewed it, told friends, or pressed it into readers' hands in book shops. There are so many books for people to choose from, and I can't thank you enough for giving mine a go! Please keep spreading the word.

If you're somewhere in a heatwave, take extra care of yourself and of those you hold dear.

See you next time.

If you've enjoyed this newsletter I'd love it if you could spread the word and mail it on to a friend.
Or if you've been sent this by somebody lovely, you can subscribe by clicking HERE.
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"Yours Cheerfully: the best possible antidote for the blahs, the doldrums,
all slumps, all dumps, but also effective against letdowns and general malaise.
Loved. Every. Word."

Bonnie Garmus, author of Lessons in Chemistry

Available to buy in all good book shops & online.
Lots of links here!
Copyright © 2023 AJ Pearce, All rights reserved.

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