Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Postmistress by Sara Blake

About the book: In 1940, Iris James is the postmistress in coastal Franklin, Massachusetts. Iris knows more about the townspeople than she will ever say, and believes her job is to deliver secrets. Yet one day she does the unthinkable: slips a letter into her pocket, reads it, and doesn't deliver it.
Meanwhile, Frankie Bard broadcasts from overseas with Edward R. Murrow. Her dispatches beg listeners to pay heed as the Nazis bomb London nightly. Most of the townspeople of Franklin think the war can't touch them. But both Iris and Frankie know better...
The Postmistress is a tale of two worlds-one shattered by violence, the other willfully naïve-and of two women whose job is to deliver the news, yet who find themselves unable to do so. Through their eyes, and the eyes of everyday people caught in history's tide, it examines how stories are told, and how the fact of war is borne even through everyday life.

First line: It began, as it often does, with a woman putting her ducks in a row.

My thoughts: This historical novel left me wanting more. Like the people who listened to Frankie's radio reports and wondered what happened next I want to know what happened next to the three women in this story.

This story takes place from the points of view of three different women: the postmistress Iris James who believes in her job and takes pride in the order she brings to it, Frankie Bard who broadcasts the news from Europe and Emma Trask whose husband, a doctor, has gone to London to help in the hospitals.  As the story goes along it becomes emotional, more interesting, more compelling. The author did a wonderful job winding the three stories together and bringing a great sense of time and place to her novel. I recommend this to you but bring some tissues.

Rating: A


Sophia said...

That sounds right up my street - I love weepies!

Marg said...

I read this book a while ago now. While it didn't totally work for me, the section in the middle with Frankie on the train is one of the strongest narratives set in WWII that I remember reading ever! So intense and so moving.