Sarah Blake's second novel (following Grange House
, published in 2001) follows the lives of three women - Frankie, Emma and Iris - through the early years of World War II. It is a book about love and loss, as are so many war-era narratives, but what sets it apart is that it's also a novel about the power of words - the remarkable capacity they contain to move, motivate and inform over time and space. Letters written, reports broadcast, stories told
together they play a crucial role in The Postmistress
Frankie's story is at the heart of this novel, and it is through Frankie's experiences as a war correspondent that Blake highlights important aspects of World War II, most notably the bombing of London in the Blitz, and the harrowing and often futile attempts made by Europe's Jewish population to flee the continent ahead of Hitler's advancing forces....
Beyond the Book
Following Hitler's invasion of Poland in September 1939, Great Britain and France declared war on Germany. After Poland and France surrendered, German intelligence sources believed that the British, too, were close to capitulation after their retreat from Dunkirk in battle between the Allies and Germany, and that a strategy similar to the heavy shelling and bombing used against Poland would likewise lead to a quick victory. The first attacks by the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) in the summer of 1940 focused on destroying the British Royal Airforce (RAF) by bombing airfields and RAF factories.
On August 25 1940, Luftwaffe bombers drifted...