12 October 2010

"There's no such thing as a postmistress. Man or woman. It's postmaster."

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake (Putnam, 2010)

Set just before the American entrance into World War II, this historical novel tells the story of three very different women who are all ultimately affected by the war -- Frankie works with Edward R. Murrow in London, reporting the war back to indifferent American ears; Iris is the rules-driven spinster postmaster of Franklin, Cape Cod; and innocent young Emma is the newest resident of that town, having recently married the town doctor. While these women’s stories are interesting, it seems unlikely they will overlap ... until a tragedy befalls one of the doctor’s patients and he flees to London to assuage his guilt in the wards at City Hospital, London. Of course, he just happens to make Frankie’s acquaintance (just a little too deus ex machine for me, thanks) thus bringing her into Emma and Iris’s story. Meanwhile, Iris has a secret she’s keeping from Emma (that Frankie will end up blowing out of the water, anyway).

I wanted to like this book. I really, really did. The premise was compelling and Blake wrote very descriptively, creating an excellent sense of time and place, but ... many of her characters left me cold. If it weren’t for a terrible desire to see Frankie and Harry (oh, Harry!) come out all right, I would never have made it to the end.


  1. I just listened to this on audio and LOVED it! I am not sure if I would have felt differently if I read it in print but I found myself drawn into many of the characters. Sorry this one didn't work for you.

  2. I've found that a number of books I didn't enjoy reading were much better listened to, so I will have to see if my library system has this on CD.

  3. I wasn't a fan of this one either! I expected so much from this one but I thought it was very lackluster.


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