Saturday, June 5, 2010

Book Review:

Book: The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
Pages: 318
Finished: May
**Spring Reading Thing** Amy Einhorn Books** A-Z Challenge**Reading From My Shelves** New Authors**

From Publishers Weekly

"Weaving together the stories of three very different women loosely tied to each other, debut novelist Blake takes readers back and forth between small town America and war-torn Europe in 1940. Single, 40-year-old postmistress Iris James and young newlywed Emma Trask are both new arrivals to Franklin, Mass., on Cape Cod. While Iris and Emma go about their daily lives, they follow American reporter Frankie Bard on the radio as she delivers powerful and personal accounts from the London Blitz and elsewhere in Europe. While Trask waits for the return of her husband—a volunteer doctor stationed in England—James comes across a letter with valuable information that she chooses to hide. Blake captures two different worlds—a naive nation in denial and, across the ocean, a continent wracked with terror—with a deft sense of character and plot, and a perfect willingness to take on big, complex questions, such as the merits of truth and truth-telling in wartime."

I received this book as a Valentine's Day gift from my husband and I was really looking forward to reading it. Then, I made the mistake of reading a few reviews on Amazon that did not paint it in a favorable light--which caused me to put off reading it. But I was already hooked by the intrigue of the premise and I picked it up.

I enjoyed it.
I did not agree at all with the negative reviews I had read--(let that be a lesson to me!)--and I am so glad I did read it. It was a little bit more character driven than plot driven which was not what I had expected, but that alright with me.

I have read many war memoirs and stories set during WWII, but almost always they have been written through the eyes of Europe. It was very interesting to read about the Blitz from a reporter's eyes, trying to convey the worldwide impact to his listeners an ocean away, an audience who for the most part does not want to hear about something so far away. Something so horrific. In fact, I have read very little which has given much detail to the actual events of the Blitz.

In this book we also get a glimpse of the anti-war sentiment which abounded in America pre-Pearl Harbor which is something else I have not read much of.

(Page 326, the story behind the story: a statement from the author which for me sums up the primary theme of the novel)

"The deeper my research took me, the more I thought about the position of those who can see what is going on, or see parts of what is going on, and are powerless to do anything but try to turn people's heads in that direction. Frankie Bard's epiphany at the center of the novel-when she realizes that she has seen someone die and knows the ending of a story his parents will never hear--carries the great sorrow implicit in the responsibility of knowledge. And I realized that what happened to Frankie in Europe was the that the responsibility of carrying the voices of all the people she meets, whose endings she cannot know, grows unbearable."

(In the spirit of the Reading From My Shelves challenge, I will be giving this book to my best friend Jodi)

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1 comment:

  1. I have a copy of this one and really have put off reading it because of the mixed reviews. I'm gong to certainly give it a chance!


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