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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

REVIEW - THE POSTMISTRESS - SARAH BLAKE

This was a win from Martha. I had seen the book around for quite a while but knew that other than a win it was not possible to get it here. So I really got lucky. Thank you Martha.

I like stories about women - specially women who are strong and who try to make a difference. This book revolves around three women - Iris who runs the post office, Emily the doctor's wife and Frankie a journalist/broadcaster. The year is 1940.

The main character of the book at the beginning (starting from the title) one would presume is the postmistress Iris but it is Frankie who takes center stage and seems to carry the whole book through her experiences in war torn Europe and through coincidence meets up with Will who is the doctor in the story. I would have liked to have seen more the indomitable Iris in the book but she is more or less
a background figure to the story - very important but still a bit shadowy. Iris is strong, supportive and a good woman and should have been more pivotal in the story. The story of the town of Franklin seems to go around Iris and her life at the post office. Then on the other hand we have the very compelling story of Frankie dragging around a 30 pound recording device all around France, Berlin and Europe recording the stories of Jews and those being persecuted and hunted by Hitler.

In the story what also comes out is that Americans seemed to be rather laid back about what was happening in Europe - particularly relating to the persecution of Jews, Gypsies and others - it always seemed that it was not our concern, and too far away for anyone to get involved. The passion that Frankie had for this issue and her frustration that America was not going to get involved, or rather get involved when it was far too late is also an important part of this story.

Lots of things made this book a good read. The story telling was good - three separate lives intertwined in the way that is sometimes strange, the meanness of small town spirits, the insular attitude of small town people and their fear of the unknown, the details regarding WWII and specially the situation of the Jews across Europe were well depicted.

For those of you who like this era this is a good one.

2 comments:

Jo @ Booklover Book Reviews said...

I've always thought the cover art on this novel is so classically beautiful.

Blodeuedd said...

The library has this one and I do want to read it now :)