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The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
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The Postmistress (edition 2010)

by Sarah Blake

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,6242302,280 (3.49)1 / 196
Member:seekingflight
Title:The Postmistress
Authors:Sarah Blake
Info:Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam (2010), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:read, fiction, historical fiction, journalism, WWII, @Wollongong

Work details

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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English (230)  Catalan (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (232)
Showing 1-5 of 230 (next | show all)
Like most people, I wanted to love this. The characters are rich and engaging, and I was really excited to follow them around. But the plot left me desiring something more. I could have read 200 more pages of this, as long as it included a reason for it. Still, I would recommend it, just to fall in love with the characters. ( )
  GoldenHoldenCervone | Aug 4, 2016 |
I wanted to love this story. The premise sounded engrossing, the cover is gorgeous and advance reviews offer nothing but praise. The story for me, however, fell short of whatever expectation I had. Was it tragic? Yes. Was it engrossing? To a point. Was it something I can recommend? Only with reservations.

The perspective is fascinating: a postmaster, especially in the mid 20th century, really could have his or her pulse on the entire community. And, in small-town America, people really did look out for each other.

Frankie's perspective was intriguing: a war-time viewpoint first from blitzed-out London and then from France among the displaced Jews. The American perspective of the war was accurate: World War 2 started several years before America finally got involved, but from our viewpoint, it all really got started in 1941.

All the pieces for a great story are here, but those pieces don't quite all fit together. It was a slow starter for me and one that ultimately tried too hard to be something special.

Mild profanity, although one could say it was accurate to the wartime situations. ( )
  2kidsandtired | Aug 2, 2016 |
I wanted to love this story. The premise sounded engrossing, the cover is gorgeous and advance reviews offer nothing but praise. The story for me, however, fell short of whatever expectation I had. Was it tragic? Yes. Was it engrossing? To a point. Was it something I can recommend? Only with reservations.

The perspective is fascinating: a postmaster, especially in the mid 20th century, really could have his or her pulse on the entire community. And, in small-town America, people really did look out for each other.

Frankie's perspective was intriguing: a war-time viewpoint first from blitzed-out London and then from France among the displaced Jews. The American perspective of the war was accurate: World War 2 started several years before America finally got involved, but from our viewpoint, it all really got started in 1941.

All the pieces for a great story are here, but those pieces don't quite all fit together. It was a slow starter for me and one that ultimately tried too hard to be something special.

Mild profanity, although one could say it was accurate to the wartime situations. ( )
  2kidsandtired | Aug 2, 2016 |
As I listen to this I realize I have read this before. This is a very good book. In 1940, Frankie Bard goes back and forth across Europe interviewing the refugees and trying to get their stories on air to America. Emma Finch is married to a doctor who feels he needs to go over to the war and help out after losing one of his patients. Then there is Iris James, the postmistress of Franklin, MA where Emma lives. Slowly their lives unfold as they get closer to having their lives meet. Very beautifully written and heartbreaking to listen to. Well worth the read. ( )
  MHanover10 | Jul 11, 2016 |
Book on CD read by Orlagh Cassidy.

Frankie Bard, a young and unseasoned broadcast journalist working in London under the tutelage of Edward R Murrow, connects characters on both sides of the Atlantic in this novel set in early to mid 1941, before the USA had entered the war. Dr Will and Mrs Emma Fitch are newlyweds living in Franklin MA, a small town on the end of Cape Cod, which is where the doctor grew up. Iris James is the postmaster of the town, never wed and age 40, she has come to know and love the inhabitants of the town, and she takes seriously her civic responsibilities.

It’s an important time in the history of the United States and Europe. The characters have a unique place in that history and should have a compelling story to tell, but Blake isn’t quite up to the task, and much of the book falls flat. The last 40 pages or so are wonderfully done, however, and show the author’s promise.

Orlagh Cassidy does a fine job narrating the audio version. She has good pacing and I could easily keep the characters and time frame straight. ( )
  BookConcierge | Jun 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 230 (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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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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