Those who carry the truth sometimes bear a terrible burden...
Filled with stunning parallels to today's world, The Postmistress is a sweeping novel about the loss of innocence of two extraordinary women-and of two countries torn apart by war.
On the eve of the United States's entrance into World War II in 1940, Iris James, the postmistress of Franklin, a small town on Cape Cod, does the unthinkable: She doesn't deliver a letter.
In London, American radio gal Frankie Bard is working with Edward R. Murrow, reporting on the Blitz. One night in a bomb shelter, she meets a doctor from Cape Cod with a letter in his pocket, a letter Frankie vows to deliver when she returns from Germany and France, where she is to record the stories of war refugees desperately trying to escape.
The residents of Franklin think the war can't touch them - but as Frankie's radio broadcasts air, some know that the war is indeed coming. And when Frankie arrives at their doorstep, the two stories collide in a way no one could have foreseen.
The Postmistress is an unforgettable tale of the secrets we must bear, or bury. It is about what happens to love during wartime, when those we cherish leave. And how every story - of love or war - is about looking left when we should have been looking right.
Frankie's tale lingered in my mind long after I turned the last page. Indeed, the portions of the narrative that relate her experiences are some of the best and most moving writing I've encountered in quite some time... While Blake's writing is beautiful throughout, the plot and characters are somewhat uneven... [A few] flaws aside, The Postmistress is definitely worth reading. Blake's writing is rich and evocative, and much of the book is deeply affecting and though-provoking. Historical fiction fans in particular will find the novel illuminating, and it is likely to become a popular choice for book clubs. (Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).
The Washington Post - Chris Bohjalian
Blake... does have a [good] story to tell, though occasionally it gets lost amid her efforts to ratchet up the drama.
Christian Science Monitor
Unfortunately, there have been an awful lot of books about World War II, and The Postmistress, while intelligent and well meaning, doesn’t ultimately have much new to add... the dialogue lacks snap... and [Blake] engages in expository overload that’s really not needed for such a well-known tale.
[L]ikely be snapped up by book clubs. There's both exquisite pain and pleasure to be found in these pages, which jump from the mass devastation in Europe to the intimate heartaches of an American small town....A-
The Postmistress possesses the sentimental quaintness of the The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, but its spark comes from its enduring message about the need for humanity to step up and fight anyone and anything that threatens our fragile moral code.
Blake captures two different worlds...with a deft sense of character and plot, and a perfect willingness to take on big, complex questions, such as the merits of truth and truth-telling in wartime.
The loose ends that plague every tale and the fractional nature of knowing are the central themes of this narrative, which plays with the idea of storytelling. Quietly effective work from first novelist Blake.
Starred Review. Matching harrowing action with reflection, romance with pathos, Blake’s emotional saga of conscience and genocide is poised to become a best-seller of the highest echelon.
Starred Review. Even readers who don't think they like historical novels will love this one and talk it up to their friends. Highly recommended for all fans of beautifully wrought fiction.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Valerie F. Disappointing I wanted to like this book, especially because the premise seemed to have a lot of potential and was interesting in theory. Unfortunately, I don't think the author did well with it all, taking on a bit too much and not doing much with it after... Read More
Rated of 5
by Aprile G Promise unfulfilled The Postmistress started with promise--the first chapter crackled with sharply described characters and situations, and set up the expectation of an engaging story. Unfortunately, this made the book's sloppy descent, with predictable turns, murky... Read More
Rated of 5
by Suzanne G. A Winner! I really enjoyed this book. With three main characters but each so different, the meshing of these three people during WWII is very satisfactory. Humor, particularly with Iris and her doctor, is subtle, and that special scene actually made me laugh... Read More
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