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The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

The Postmistress (edition 2010)

by Sarah Blake

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,2992433,590 (3.46)1 / 210
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)
Title:The Postmistress
Authors:Sarah Blake
Info:Amy Einhorn Books (2010), Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:read 2010, historical fiction

Work Information

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

  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 210 mentions

English (239)  Catalan (2)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (243)
Showing 1-5 of 239 (next | show all)
This was a beautifully written book but it left me dissatisfied after reading it. This books is about the era immediately preceeding WWII. If you read many books about this era - fiction or non-fiction - you are used to reading about the death of characters in the book. But this book included the death of a character that left this reader feeling manipulated. ( )
  MPS1964 | Jan 6, 2023 |
This was a WWII novel that went between the US and England during the Blitz. It was a good read. ( )
  booboo123 | Dec 11, 2022 |
World War II historical fiction set in 1941 in both a small town near Boston and London during the Blitz. The story focuses on five people, four of whom live in a small town in Massachusetts. Iris is the postmaster, who exhibits an almost obsessive need for order. Will is the local doctor, trying to overcome his father’s tainted reputation. Emma is Will’s bride, an orphan dealing with abandonment issues. Harry is Iris’ love interest, a mechanic who is convinced the Nazis will invade the U.S. via submarine so he is keeping a lookout. Frankie is a female war correspondent, living in London, working with Edward R. Murrow, and broadcasting vignettes of what life is like during the bombing of London. The plot revolves around Frankie’s increasing disillusionment with war, feeling more and more helpless as the story progresses. Will attempts to atone for what he views as a medical mistake, causing trauma for his wife. Iris must confront her desire for control and order as the war starts touching her small sphere of influence. The stories of these people come together through listening to Frankie’s broadcasts and delivering personal news via letters and telegrams. This story follows people on the fringes of the war and does not venture into any of the military battles or concentration camps. According to the author in The Story Behind the Story, “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.”

This book is a mixed bag. Where it is the most successful is in showing the differences in perspective between the United States on the Home Front before getting involved in the war, and what was going on in Europe: almost daily bombing raids in London, trying to retain some sense of normalcy while dealing with random death, and refugees fleeing the Nazis. The scenes in London seem realistic. It clearly shows how life changes when it is threatened at any moment versus the attitude of watchful waiting in the States prior to Pearl Harbor, when Americans were trying to assimilate the news they were hearing from overseas. One area where it falls down is in its depiction of women in the 1940’s. They exhibit much more contemporary behavior in their language and actions. The sex scenes seem gratuitous (and cringeworthy) and some of the behavior of the war correspondent is pretty far-fetched. It is rather slow in building momentum, the pacing is uneven, and there are many passages that do not add anything to the story. Overall, this book contains an admirable concept that falls short in the execution. ( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |

A novel about three American women during the second world war, two of whom are rather boring and live in Massachusetts and one of whom is more interesting and does some gripping journalism from Europe. One of the two in America is a postmistress who doesn’t deliver a letter. It didn’t really engage me. ( )
  nwhyte | May 25, 2022 |
A very well-written book about the emotional costs of war, both on the front and at home. I loved the characters and the New England setting. I'm planning to choose something upbeat and a little fluffy to read next though because the ending was a little depressing.

That being said, I'm glad I read it and would recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction. I added Grange House, Blake's previous novel, to my reading list based on this book. I'll also keep an eye out for her next novel. ( )
  tsmom1219 | Feb 24, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 239 (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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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sarah Blakeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cassidy, OrlaghNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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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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