Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"The Postmistress" by Sarah Blake

I received this book as part of Barnes and Nobles First Look Book Club. If you have never taken part in one I highly recommend it. You can find them on the B & N site under book clubs. The next sign-ups will be at the beginning of December for a January club (the next two months are off months). You sign up and receive an Advanced Reading Copy or ARC of a book that has not yet been released. You are expected to participate in an online discussion and post a review to their site at the completion of the book. This is my third one and all three have been wonderful.

My thoughts on the book:
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. It is set over the course of a year starting in 1940 and going into 1941 before the US enters into WWII. This is not an era I typically read books set in so while I know of it, I don't know any real details. Whatever I learned in school has become pretty sketchy at this point. To me the author really brought the time period alive and made it real. The story is set on both sides of the ocean with the characters being connected by radio. There is Franklin, Mass. where Iris, the postmaster, and Emma, the doctors wife, listen to radio reports and then in London there is Frankie reporting the news they are listening to. These three women are the focus of the story and they are very different. Iris is a 40-year-old unmarried woman who is in charge of the post office, Emma was an orphan who married Will and moved to Franklin a small town on Cape Cod and Frankie is a reporter stationed in London during the Blitz who really brings life and details to the nightly bombing and regular loss of life. I don't want to reveal too much or spoil the story for anyone, but I will say it was a very well written novel with characters who seemed very real. It shows the innocence in the US prior to entering the war, thinking it couldn't really touch the US and also brings alive the plight of the people trying to escape from Europe. Very nicely done!

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