Title: The Postmistress
Author: Sarah Blake
Genre: Literary fiction
First sentence reads: There were years after it happened, after i'd returned from the town and came 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 staisfying halt.Rating: 3/5
The Postmistress is a story set in the times of Second World War seen through the eyes of three different women, each affected beyond their comprehension. The postmistress of Franklin, Massachusetts, Iris James, Franklin's new resident Emma Trask and war correspondent Frankie Bard arethe narrators in this elegant story.
Iris believes in the integrity of the postal system and believes that she has to keep order and let the system move without a hitch. But one day she does the unthinkable, she reads a letter and keeps it from its rightful owner. Emma on the other hand is a girl with emotional baggage, who comes with heavy hopes of finding an anchor in the life of the man she is to marry, Will Fitch, the doctor in the town of Franklin. Whereas, Frankie Brad is the war correspondent who braves the bombs raining down on London skies every night to bring news of the war front to the people abroad in United States. The story moves languorously and without urgency and explores the livelihood of the three women. It is told in alternating narration by the three women and that was refreshing to read. It tells the tale of two world existing in the same dimension, one facing the horrors of the war and the other blissfully ignorant of war. Emma and Iris know the war only though the voice of Frankie Bard and Frankie is living right in the middle of it.
Though the title of the book is The Postmistress, the story itself doesn't actually focus on Iris alone but more on Frankie. Its hard for me to say which one of the three women that I liked. I found it hard to warm up to them. Furthermore, certain parts of the book lacked the power to convince me and I wished the author had focused some attention on Will Fitch as his character was not as well developed as the rest and thus It was hard to feel the pain that Emma felt.
I found the first half of the book more compelling and interesting but had to force myself to read the second half just to know how it ends and unfortunately there were no surprises and I lost the eagerness to read it.
I noticed that this book had some rave reviews and also some average reviews. My opinion is that, I did not enjoy this book as much but I loved the beautiful writing and prose by the author. If you are looking to read stories revolving around second world war, I would suggest Daniel Steel's Echoes and Tatiana De Rosnay's Sarah's key.
~They walked along, and under the silent morning sky, she imagines she could pull Time like taffy, stretching it longer and longer between her hands until the finest point had been reached, the point just before breaking, and she could live there.~
~Petal after white petal opened slowly from her heart and started reaching up and out. Some stories dont get told. Some stories you hold on to. To stand and watch and hold it in your arms was not cowardice. To look straight at the beast and feel its breath on your flanks and not turn-one could carry the world that way.~