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The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

The Postmistress (edition 2010)

by Sarah Blake

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,4872122,455 (3.5)1 / 190
Title:The Postmistress
Authors:Sarah Blake
Info:Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam (2010), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:read, fiction, historical fiction, journalism, WWII, @Wollongong

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The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

  1. 231
    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
    Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada (generalkala)
  4. 03
    Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian (starfishian)

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Showing 1-5 of 213 (next | show all)
I quite enjoyed this book. Blake painted a tranquil picture of Cape Cod, calm and peaceful on the surface but boiling & tense beneath. Parts of the story were lame but the author knit the story together. War affects everyone. It is futile and even when we are not directly involved we are affected by it. As i write one can see that with Syria and the refugee crises. It is a pity that Blake didn't spare 'U-boat lookout' Harry Vale. Was there a need for him to die. Did all the women in the story need to feel loss and despair at the end. Surely, keeping Harry alive might have brought more hope to the end of the story. Sadness and Bad news/times sell - just listen to any news bulletin. Blake gave a different view to the London Blitz and it was no harm to remind us how intensive it was. Overall this wasn't a cracker of a book but it certainly held my attention until the end. ( )
  Fergus_Cooper | Sep 6, 2015 |
It seemed, or maybe it just seemed to ME, that this book got a fair amount of hype when it came out. I've had it (audio) on my TBR shelf for a while now, looking forward to diving in, which I finally just got around to doing. I feel bad not particularly enjoying it a lot, but then after reading other reader's reviews, I feel justified in my opinion. I enjoyed the time period (World War II) and the setting(s) -- a portion of the story taking place on the cape of Massachusetts and the other in war-torn Europe. But the story itself and the characters did not overwhelm or resonate with me. It seemed more a hodge-podge of side stories that didn't necessarily meld together effectively for a whole story. All in all, just a so-so story that was ultimately disappointing. ( )
  indygo88 | Aug 24, 2015 |
I found this book to be a wonderful read. I know it doesn’t seem to make sense to write it but it was a “slow paced” book that was an exciting “page turner” at the same time. The book follows three women during WWII. Frankie Bard, a female war correspondent and one of “Murrow’s Boys” (the character loosely based on real life correspondent Mary Marvin Breckenridge Patterson). Although the book title suggests otherwise I found Frankie to be the driving force in the book. She was in the thick of things as the story unfolded and held the key to how the story would end.
Iris James is the postmistress in small town Franklin, Mass. All of the mail and news in town goes through her and she is the pulse and backbone of the community and the epitome of propriety. Through her character the other characters all intertwine.
Emma Fitch is the innocent young doctor’s wife, left behind when her husband is drawn by guilt into the war effort in London.
The book is described as being about “two women who are afraid to deliver the news and one women waiting desperately to hear it.” But the book is about so much more. I fell in love with the characters immediately and couldn’t wait to find out what happened to them with every turn of the page. Although difficult to read at times, the vivid descriptions Frankie gives of the people in bomb shelters and the flight of the “unwanted” trying to get to Spain or America was enthralling.
Overall and excellent read.
( )
  ChristineEllei | Jul 14, 2015 |
This novel was slow to get going but once I was into it, I quite enjoyed it. It alternates between Cape Cod and Europe torn apart by war. It alternates between Iris James, the postmistress in cape Cod and Emma Fitch , the doctor;s young bride and Frankie Baird, an American reporter working with Ed Murrow in Europe. It tells a story of how war goes on around us while life continues. Frankie's broadcasts are heard in the small coastal town. These women's lives come together with the mail and letters telling Emma about her husband's death including the letter Frankie Baird and Iris never deliver. ( )
  Smits | Apr 22, 2015 |
Sarah Blake is clearly a supremely skilled writer and I can only assume this book was researched deeply (with the exception of the Keep Calm poster slip-up). I enjoyed the tale of WWII played out on both a European and Cape Cod stage. However, for me, the story would have been more compelling with fewer switches in point of view - perhaps just 2 main characters would have sufficed. And although I enjoyed Blake's descriptive technique and similes, the fact that I noticed them made me wonder if she had overdone the literary flair. Finally, with the huge stakes of the time in question, I was ultimately disappointed with the nature of the letter Postmistress chose to keep, and the impact of keeping it from the intended recipient. Since this was introduced as the whole point of the book in Chapter 1, I was underwhelmed. ( )
  paulinewiles | Jan 26, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 213 (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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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
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.
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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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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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)

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