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The Postmistress

by Sarah Blake

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,0282413,246 (3.46)1 / 207
In London covering the Blitz with Edward R. Murrow, Frankie Bard meets a Cape Cod doctor in a shelter and promises that she'll deliver a letter for him when she finally returns to the United States. 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.… (more)
  1. 251
    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Both novels reflect on World War II from small, seaside towns, one an island in Europe, the other a small town in Cape Cod. The female leads are unique and interesting and are surrounded by great small town people.
  2. 40
    The Night Watch by Sarah Waters (kiwiflowa)
    kiwiflowa: both have female protagonists and are about the London Blitz during WWII
  3. 00
    Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada (generalkala)
  4. 12
    Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian (starfishian)
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» See also 207 mentions

English (237)  Catalan (2)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (241)
Showing 1-5 of 237 (next | show all)
I will probably remember reading this book because of the subject matter but this title is not going to help. To me the best writing is about the radio journalist and the thoughts about victims of war both at home and in Europe. I understand the need for the postmistress to tie the small town USA info together but she seemed like a minor character. ( )
  kshydog | Dec 13, 2020 |
Some extraordinary scenes, very well-written. However, not a great ending, the writing, the thinking, the point. Also, the Note, the Acknowledgements, The Story Behind the Story seems a very bad layout of the book. These are not interesting things to read after the finish. Ah, well. Now that I think about it, I'm not all that impressed with any of the three women. Harumph. ( )
  tmph | Sep 13, 2020 |
Got a copy signed at the ALA meeting; I think it'll be my next read.

***

Really good. It lost a bit of the intensity and realness once Frankie got to Franklin, but that's okay. Thank you, ALA! ( )
  beautifulshell | Aug 27, 2020 |
Romance trying to be literature. ( )
  tshrope | Jan 13, 2020 |
Let me start by saying that I have never read a book quite like this one before. This book was difficult to read and yet I had trouble putting it down. I know that doesn't make any sense. The difficulty I found in reading it was not due to the language used. Nor was it due to lack of interest. The difficulty stemmed from the subject matter.

This book is one of the most thought provoking books I have ever read. Though this book is a work of fiction and should not be used as a reference to the events of World War II, I still found myself transported to Europe as the Germans took rise. Fiction or not, reading about the chaotic destruction was hard to swallow. If you pick up this book, you will read amount thousands of fleeing people. Their fear and anguish is all-consuming and heartbreaking.

All of that being said, I loved this book. Every single character is intriguing in their own right - their stories beautifully written. These characters draw you in, and they won't let you go until their stories are finished. I strongly recommend this book to everyone.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I picked up this book. Reading this, I have experienced every emotion imaginable. I was left with a simple phrase that will probably stick with me for a very long time. And that is: "the story knew."

There is a story in everything. Everyone you know - every event has a story. Every decision we make impacts our story. We may not have known at the time what effects the decision would make. But I can guarantee you that "the story knew." ( )
  nicholthecat | Oct 12, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 237 (next | show all)
Sarah Blake has coaxed forth a book that hits hard and pushes buttons expertly. Not for nothing does its publisher emphasize the resemblance between “The Postmistress” and “The Help,” Kathryn Stockett’s socially conscious pulp best seller. Each of these novels appropriates galvanizing social issues in the service of a well-wrought tear-jerker.
 
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Epigraph
War happens to people, one by one. That is really all I have to say, and it seems to me I have been saying it forever.
--Martha Gellhorn, The Face of War
Dedication
For Josh, always
First words
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.
Quotations
Murrow's three questions, which formed the basis for every broadcast – What is happening? How does it affect Americans? What does the Common Man say – didn't cohere in the face of this one. The scraps added up to a terrible time for the Jews, any man at home could see.
48.(husband who escaped,
Must be tough not to know what happened, not to know whether he's all right.” … “It gets you thinking about all the parts in a story we never see … the parts around the edges. You bring someone like that boy so alive before us and there he is set loose in our world so that we can't stop thinking of him. But then the report is over, the boy disappears. He was just a boy in a story and we never know the ending, we never get to close the book. It makes you wonder what happens to the people in them after the story stops – all the stories you've reported, for instance. Where are they all now?
And what had Frankie thought? That she'd get over here and find the single story that would make the world sit up and listen? These are the Jews of Europe. Here is what is happening. Pay attention. But there was no story. Or rather, she turned from the window and considered the portable recorder. There was no story over here that she could tell from beginning until the end. The story of the Jews lay in the edges around what could be told. She sucked in her breath, the doctor's words ghosting her thoughts. The parts that whisper off into the dark, the boy and the girl listening, the woman in the corner, the mother's distracted face looking up into the moonlight, her hand in her boy's curls as he slept. The sound of that little boy's laughter caught for one impossible second, caught and held. There in the wisps, was the truth of what was happening.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

In London covering the Blitz with Edward R. Murrow, Frankie Bard meets a Cape Cod doctor in a shelter and promises that she'll deliver a letter for him when she finally returns to the United States. 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.

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Book description
1940. De Amerikaanse radiojournaliste Frankie Bard verslaat vanuit Londen als een van de eerste vrouwen de oorlog. Terwijl er elke nacht bommen vallen en joodse vluchtelingen in paniek door Europa vluchten, probeert Frankie het juiste verhaal te vinden dat Amerika tot actie zal bewegen. Aan de andere kant van de oceaan, in Franklin, Massachusetts, luistert Iris James naar Frankies uitzendingen. Ze weet dat het een kwestie van tijd is voor de oorlog ook haar dorp bereikt en als hoofd van het postkantoor ziet ze het als haar taak om andermans geheimen te bezorgen en te bewaren. Ook het doktersechtpaar Will en Emma Fitch luistert elke avond naar Frankie. Wanneer Will besluit haar woorden ter harte te nemen en naar het front te gaan, botsen de levens van de drie vrouwen op onverwachte wijze. De laatste brief is een verhaal over sterke vrouwen, de impact van oorlog en het belang van nieuws. Zelfs nieuws dat de geadresseerde nooit bereikt... 'Geweldige boeken zorgen ervoor dat je ze mist, tot het moment dat je weer het verhaal in kunt kruipen. De laatste brief is zo'n zeldzaam boek. Als ik het niet aan het lezen was, dacht ik er wel aan. Een prachtig geschreven, ontroerende roman die ik iedereen aanraad.' Kathryn Stockett, auteur van Een keukenmeidenroman 'Sarah Blake heeft een zeer aangrijpend boek geschreven, waarmee ze op vakkundige wijze tot haar lezers doordringt. De ware kracht van De laatste brief ligt in het feit dat het de lezer niet toestaat blasé te zijn over verhalen uit oorlogstijd. Sarah Blake schrijft krachtig over hoe fragiel het leven is en over de manier waarop Frankie probeert over te brengen aan het thuisfront hoe iemand er het ene moment nog kan zijn en het volgende voorgoed verdwenen is.' The New York Times 'Door de verhalen van drie zeer verschillende vrouwen die losjes in elkaar haken te verweven, neemt debutant Blake haar lezers mee naar beurtelings het dorpsleven in Amerika en het door oorlog geteisterde Europa van 1940. Blake weet deze verschillende werelden precies te grijpen: een naïef land dat de realiteit niet onder ogen wil zien en, aan de andere kant van de oceaan, een continent dat wordt verscheurd door angst. Ze doet dat met een uitstekend gevoel voor personages en plot, en met de volledige bereidheid zich te storten op grote, complexe kwesties, zoals de waarde van het vertellen van de waarheid in oorlogstijd.' Publishers Weekly 'Een schitterend boek over de kracht van woorden en hoe deze mensen en de wereld om hen heen kunnen beïnvloeden.' USA Today Sarah Blake is geboren in New York waar ze Engels gaf op een middelbare school en aan de universiteit. Tegenwoordig woont ze in Washington met haar man en twee kinderen.

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