DubaiReader's Reviews > The Postmistress

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
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Oct 02, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: 2011, canadian-bk-grp, ew-am-bk-grp-1

Some great moments.

I had mixed feelings about this book - on the one hand there were some wonderful descriptions and thoughts on the personal implications on war, but on the other, there were a lot of strangely structured sentences that made me want to send the author a copy of Eats Shoots and Leaves. Unfortunately it was the sentence structure that slowed me down and reduced my rating to three stars.
If you are stalling on the first half, however, the second half does flow better and I read the last 125 pages at one sitting in the early hours.

Iris has recently moved to the small American town of Franklin to become the 'postmaster' in a small local post office. She is efficient and often abrupt and seems to stand a bit aloof from the locals. The opening of the book is somewhat strange, as we meet her visiting a doctor to obtain a certificate to prove that she is still a virgin. She wants to have this to offer Harry Vale in case he should propose!
Emma is newly arrived in the town, the young wife of their local doctor. She is so young and defenceless that I really felt for her as she arrived in a new place. As a youngster she lost both her parents and now feels that unless she is loved she will just disappear, cease to exist. That idea really captured me.
The third of the book's women is Frankie Bard, the strong young reporter, determined to make a difference. Her observations on the effects of the Blitz in London during WWII were some of the most powerful I have read. She then goes into Europe to report on the stories of the Jewish refugees, and her frustration with the impossibility of taking a story right through to the end, was palpable - haunting her through voices that she records on an early recording machine.

It is the actions and interactions of these three women, and their men, that formed the basis of the book. An excellent hanger on which to attach the observations and feelings for war that Sarah Blake so excels at.

I do find it strange that the book is called The Postmistress but the picture on the front of my book must be of Frankie, who is young and blond, rather than Iris, the postmistress, who is older and red-haired!
I'm glad I read this but hope that the author's next book will be slightly better edited and a really great read.
3 1/2 stars.
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