Thursday, September 15, 2011

Review: The Postmistress

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
Genre: Historical Fiction, WW II novel
Pages: 336 (ebook)
Source: Purchased

From Amazon:
Those who carry the truth sometimes bear a terrible weight...

It is 1940. France has fallen. Bombs are dropping on London. And President Roosevelt is promising he won't send our boys to fight in "foreign wars."

But American radio gal Frankie Bard, the first woman to report from the Blitz in London, wants nothing more than to bring the war home. Frankie's radio dispatches crackle across the Atlantic ocean, imploring listeners to pay attention--as the Nazis bomb London nightly, and Jewish refugees stream across Europe. Frankie is convinced that if she can just get the right story, it will wake Americans to action and they will join the fight.

Meanwhile, in Franklin, Massachusetts, a small town on Cape Cod, Iris James hears Frankie's broadcasts and knows that it is only a matter of time before the war arrives on Franklin's shores. In charge of the town's mail, Iris believes that her job is to deliver and keep people's secrets, passing along the news that letters carry. And one secret she keeps are her feelings for Harry Vale, the town mechanic, who inspects the ocean daily, searching in vain for German U-boats he is certain will come. Two single people in midlife, Iris and Harry long ago gave up hope of ever being in love, yet they find themselves unexpectedly drawn toward each other.

Listening to Frankie as well are Will and Emma Fitch, the town's doctor and his new wife, both trying to escape a fragile childhood and forge a brighter future. When Will follow's Frankie's siren call into the war, Emma's worst fears are realized. Promising to return in six months, Will goes to London to offer his help, and the lives of the three women entwine.

Alternating between an America still cocooned in its inability to grasp the danger at hand and a Europe being torn apart by war, The Postmistress gives us two women who find themselves unable to deliver the news, and a third woman desperately waiting for news yet afraid to hear it.

My Rating:

My Review:
This is a story about two women on different sides of the world in charge of delivering the news.  Iris is the postmistress and Frankie is in the midst of the bombing and hysteria reporting to the world.  Surprisingly their lives connect in a random fashion.  It brings to mind the saying, "It's a small world after all."

I have taken a while to write this review because I honestly feel bad because I'm not sure I can fully articulate my opinion.  I love WWII novels and I might just enjoy them more than the next person. However, this is my least favorite book in this genre.  The description sounds so compelling.  It really sounds like "Wow! I can't wait to read this."  So what's the problem?  The book was extremely well-written so it wasn't the writing.  The description is not misleading so that isn't the problem.  I'm not quite sure what went wrong in this book.  I didn't connect with the characters and didn't even care about the story that was being told.  This is hard to describe considering the story and times described.  It might be more depressing than the next WWII novel, but then again, look at the genre.  I can only describe it as flat with characters that feel stereotypical rather than complex and realistic.

Overall, I would recommend that those who enjoy WWII novels to go ahead and read it.  It is extremely well-written and executed.  I can't quite explain my inability to attach or why it was difficult for me to finish it.  I think it would be lovely to discuss with others who have read this book.
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