Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Book Review: The Postmistress

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.
On the eve of the United States's entrance into World War II in 1940, Iris James, the postmistress of Franklin, a small town on Cape Cod, does the unthinkable: She doesn't deliver a letter. In London, American radio gal Frankie Bard is working with Edward R. Murrow, reporting on the Blitz. One night in a bomb shelter, she meets a doctor from Cape Cod with a letter in his pocket, a letter Frankie vows to deliver when she returns from Germany and France, where she is to record the stories of war refugees desperately trying to escape.
The residents of Franklin think the war can't touch them- but as Frankie's radio broadcasts air, some know that the war is indeed coming. And when Frankie arrives at their doorstep, the two stories collide in a way no one could have foreseen. The Postmistress is an unforgettable tale of the secrets we must bear, or bury. It is about what happens to love during wartime, when those we cherish leave. And how every story-of love or war-is about looking left when we should have been looking right.

How can I begin to express how emotionally and intellectually this novel moved me? The Postmistress was a heart wrenching tale of war, loss, humanity, and chance. Like most novels set during World War II, The Postmistress made me feel both depressed and hopeful. On the one hand I felt great pride in the bravery and initiative of the chacters, but also very dejected when confronted with the tragedy of war. The story of Frankie especially affected me, as she spent a great deal of time travelling the trains in Germany to record the voices of Jewish refugees attempting to escape to America.

Not only did the plot of The Postmistress grab me, but also the beautiful writing style of Sarah Blake. Her eloquent words swept me away and pulled at my hearstrings. I especially enjoyed how she incorporated the scripts of real radio broadcasts into her novel, which added to the historical atmosphere of the novel.

Despite this use of real scripts and events, the only thing that I didn't enjoy about The Postmistress was some of the historical inaccuracies. For example, in the acknowledgements Sarah Blake admits that her character Frankie would not have had access to a voice recorder as she is described in the novel. While these small details took away from the historical accuracy of The Postmistress, they did not subtract from the overall appeal of reading the novel.

Rating: 4 Stars

3 comments:

kaye (paper reader) said...

I really loved your review of this. I'm fairly sure it's on my TBR list, but now I'm more motivated and curious about the story. In all of the YA that I read, I've been sort of craving a book not wholly based on relationships.

Jenny said...

Oh thank goodness! I bought this one so I'm glad to hear good things! Now if I can just get to it.

Shoshanah said...

I have this book to read, and I'm definitely looking forward to finally getting to it, especially after reading this review!

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