Monday, January 30, 2012

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake



  • Paperback: 326 pages
  • Genre:  Fiction
  • Publisher: Penguin 2011
  • Source: Passed on to us by a UK friend.
  • First Sentence : ‘There were years after it happened, after I’d returned from the town and come back here to the busy blank of the city, when some comment would be tossed off about the Second World War and how it had gone – some idiotic remark about clarity and purpose-and I’d resist the urge to stub out my cigarette and bring the dinner party to a satisfying halt .’
  • A Favourite Quote: “It is the story that lies around the edges of the photographs, or at the end of newspaper account. It's about the lies we tell others to protect them, and about the lies we tell ourselves in order not to acknowledge what we can't bear: that we are alive, for instance, and eating lunch, while bombs are falling, and refugees are crammed into camps, and the news comes toward us every hour of the day. And what, in the end, do we do?”
  • Review Quote : A beautifully written, thought provoking novel that I’m telling everyone I know to read.” — Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help
  • My Opinion: Heart wrenching story of three young women.


    While reading this book I was at first, thanks to the title expecting there to be much more about The Postmistress. It didn’t matter in the end as it turned out that the story was actually three stories, linked together by The Postmistress herself. A heart wrenching story of three young women, that at first was confusing, as it took me awhile to understand how the protagonists tales were all going to weave together.

    Iris James is the postmistress in Cape Cod,  Emma Fitch is the Cape Cod doctor’s wife and Frankie Bard is a radio journalist. The story follows the young women as WWII touches the lives of them all, but in very different ways until their paths cross thanks to fate. Initially Iris and Emma listen to Frankie’s radio broadcasts from a London under siege from nightly bombings. A war that is far from home and difficult to comprehend even after Emma’s husband goes there to work helping the war effort with his much needed skills.

    It is certainly a tantalizing mix of stories with a huge cast of peripheral characters that are all important to the overall understanding of this emotional novel.  Without exception I thought every single one of the characters in this novel felt like ordinary human beings, real people living through traumatic episodes, horribly realistic. What more can I say really without spoiling it except to urge you to read this.

    Sarah Blake

    Author photo and biographical information courtesy of authors Goodreads Profile and her official website.

    Born in New York city, Sarah taught high school and college English for many years in Colorado and New York. She has taught fiction workshops at the Fine Arts Works Centre in Provincetown, MA, The Writer’s Centre, in Bethesda MD, The University of Maryland, and The George Washington University. She lives in Washington DC with her husband, the poet Joshua Weiner, and their two sons.

    I found this book trailer an excellent introduction to The Postmistress.

    Uploaded by PenguinDigital on Jan 24, 2011

    If you are interested in learning more about the novel, I found an interesting interview  Kathryn Stockett interviews Sarah Blake on Goodreads

    Sarah Blake - Goodreads Author Profile

    Sarah Blake - Official Website