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

Welcome to my May newsletter which I’ve just managed to squeeze into the final seconds before June starts. That was close!
First of all, BOOK NEWS!

I’m so pleased to tell you that Yours Cheerfully will be out in PAPERBACK in the first week of July.  Thank you to everyone who has been asking about it. It’s available to pre-order now and I talk about it a bit more, later in this email. If you haven’t already read it, I really hope you like it.

In the meantime, how has your May been? Are you ready for June and Proper Summer?

As I write, British summertime is well on its way, which obviously means torrential rain as soon as you so much as think the word ‘espadrille’. I was rash enough to consider picnic plates this morning and there was an immediate gale which blew over a rather optimistic parasol and nearly took out one of the dogs.

Small dog was very decent about it (sad face – emergency biscuit – all fine after that), but based on this hoo hah, for summer 2022 I am keeping my feet on the ground.

Reader, I have bought an outdoor rug.

Outdoor rug. I mean. Really.

Granted, it covers up some mud, but the whole idea is bonkers. When I took it out of the packaging, the other dog (not traumatised but had to have an emergency biscuit anyway) looked at me as if I was having some sort of personal crisis. Rugs? Outdoors? Pull yourself together, man.
What he doesn’t know, of course, is that this is the time of year when the entire nation sets about taking things that are perfectly pleasant to do indoors, and then ruins them by doing exactly the same thing only outside, and when it’s pelting down with rain.

If you are reading this anywhere else in the world, please do not worry. You have never seen a happier set of people than us lot when things are disappointingly damp. The day they introduced a roof at Wimbledon was a grim moment, indeed. (Sorry, my friends – I know it is still very raw.)

Meanwhile, before the outdoor rug arrived and opened up a new world of Instagram photo opportunities, as usual, I had been indoors, searching out the best, most cheering entertainment possible, and here are my favourites.

First of all, the final series of Derry Girls. Just perfect. Do you watch it?  I’ve loved every episode from the start, and even though I’m gutted it’s over, what a brilliant way to go out. Now to watch it all over again from the beginning.

On the film front, I also loved Cyrano, starring Peter Dinklage and Hayley Bennett. It’s  the best version of the Cyrano de Bergerac story that I’ve seen (which is three). It’s on Amazon Prime now and I highly recommend it. Small warning: by the end, half the cinema (including me) was properly sobbing.

And finally, Downton Abbey: A New Era. It was a joy to sit down for two hours of loveliness with beautiful costumes and sets, and actors we know and love, and posh jokes, and storylines that didn’t end up in world annihilation. Never, ever pooh pooh escapism. I think we all deserve it.

Now then, back to Yours Cheerfully...
Writing News ... here comes the paperback!
The paperback will be published in the UK and Ireland on Thursday 7 July, and in the USA and Canada on Tuesday 5 July. 

This is the UK cover and it has a new illustration of  three women on it and I am SO pleased about this because this is what the novel is really about. If you've read Yours Cheerfully already, you'll know that it's the follow up to Dear Mrs Bird, and in this one Emmy is now finding her feet as a journalist.

When the Ministry of Information asks Woman's Friend to support the campaign to get more women to sign up to help the war effort, Emmy is super-gung ho about it until she becomes friends with a group of young war workers.  Then she finds out that the reality of war work is very different to what it says in the adverts. 

As you might expect, Emmy does not take this lying down.
If you're reading this in the USA, this is the US cover which is hasn't changed a bit and is still really lovely.  Which one do you prefer?

With the paperback coming out, as it's been a couple of years since I wrote it, I've just been looking at it again for some of the marketing stuff that's happening. While I find it odd to re-reading what I've written (you always think it could have been better), if anything I think I'm even fonder of this one than Dear Mrs Bird. (NB: I've no idea if I'm supposed to say stuff like that!)

I'll be honest. Writing a first novel wasn't easy, but writing the follow up was a little terrifying! I can't tell you what an enormous relief it was when Yours Cheerfully came out in hardback and it went down OK. I have fingers tightly crossed for the pb.

Most of all, I'm so glad I got to write more with Emmy and Bunty, and the new characters who are some of my favourites. SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT: Ruby, who's four, started off as someone I put into the first draft to liven up a train journey, but then she slowly worked her way into being one of the lead characters. I loved writing her. She says what she thinks and always gets away with it. #BeMoreRuby! On the other hand, the baddie in it is a total pig face, he really is. But novels need that and I hope you'll enjoy seeing if he gets what he deserves. Grrrrr.

Most of all, THANK YOU if you were one of the people who read it, left reviews, blogged, told friends or sold it to your customers, because without that it wouldn't have sold a bean and that would have been awful!

If you haven't read it and feel like pre-ordering it from your local bookshop, or wherever you usually like to buy books, there are loads of links on my website HERE and it would be lovely if you did as I'm told it makes booksellers and publishers very happy! Or of course, you can get it from the library, which is also lovely.  

Right, that's enough of me banging on and being all self-promotional. I do apologise. Let's talk about books...
Top Reads Corner
Onto this month's Top Reads, and ooooh weeeee, I hope you'll agree, there are some crackers. 

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 have to start with the #1 best selling debut from Bonnie Garmus, because it is every bit as good as everyone is saying, and I really think you'll like it.
Set in the 1960s, this smart, clever, funny and all round lovely novel follows Elizabeth Zott, research chemist, mother and cookery show host as she fights to be heard. Actually, she fights for all women to be heard. 
It's a novel with a truly original voice and I read it in two sittings. 
Also, I met Bonnie the other day and she's just as funny and clever and lovely as the book, which is worth a lot in my view. 
Out on 9 June in paperback, this is the follow up to Elizabeth's wonderful debut, The Doll Factory, and it is another cracker. 
England, 1866. When Jasper Jupiter’s Circus of Wonders arrives in a coastal village, shunned by her community because of the birthmarks speckling her skin, Nell catches the showman’s eye. Suddenly she is famous. But is Nell free to live and love as she chooses? And when her fame begins to eclipse Jasper’s own, could she be in danger?
A rich, gorgeous novel to lose yourself in. Highly recommended.
Dolen Perkins-Valdez writes so very beautifully. I was very lucky to read a proof of this novel last year. I couldn't put it down and I won't forget it either. 
Alabama. 1973. At the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic, Civil Townsend is surprised to find that her new patients are just eleven and thirteen years old. Poor and Black, for those handling their welfare benefits, that's reason enough to have the girls on birth control. One day when Civil arrives at their door, she discovers the unthinkable has happened.
Inspired by real events. Don't miss it. 
One of my favourites, I only discovered Verily Anderson a couple of years ago, but it was love at first page. 
This is the first of her memoirs and it follows Verily and her husband Donald as they make their way through the second world war, including the birth of Verily's first child in the middle of an air raid. It's really funny, and also quite shocking in places, mainly, I think, because of the way they just keep going through really challenging times, no matter what happens.
It's such a great home front memoir. Actually, it's a great memoir, full stop.
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And finally...

I say - here's a comfort!

I'm not sure if you're aware, but there is a "most difficult and dangerous period of a woman's life" and it's "between 40 and 50."

Anyway, not to worry, because this admittedly rather menacing doctor is at hand to help. No name is given, but we know he is definitely a doctor as he has a moustache, and has taken his glasses off to explain something.

I for one, missed out as I was dangerously 40 ages ago. Dang! Anyway, good to know that the menopause was completely wiped out in the 1930s. Hurrah!

Who knew?! Well, on that bombshell, that's all from me for now.

Have a lovely June and here's to outdoor rugs and monsoon conditions.

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"An absolute delight! Endearing, poignant, and relevant, this uplifting novel is a treat!"

Janet Skeslien Charles, author of The Paris Library

Available in all good book shops & online. Lots of links here!
Copyright © 2022 AJ Pearce, All rights reserved.

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