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.
It began, as it often does, with a woman putting her ducks in a row.
It had occurred to Iris a few weeks back at the height of summer when tourists jammed the post office with their oiled bodies and their scattered, childish vacation glee that if what she thought were going to happen was going to, she ought to be prepared. She ought, really oughtnt she, to be ready to show Harry that though she was forty, as old as the century, he would be the first. The very first. And she had always put more stock in words set down on a clean white piece of paper than any sort of talk. Talk was
Right, said the doctor, turning away to wash his hands.
Iris supposed she was meant to get up and get dressed while his back was turned, but she had not had the foresight to wear a skirt, thinking instead that her blue dress was the thing for this appointment, and no matter how thorough a man Dr. Broad was, hed have turned around from the sink long ...
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).
Full Review (1069 words).
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 off course from their military targets on the outskirts of London, and dropped bombs in...
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