The Postmistress by Sarah Blake is a story taking place in two locations in 1940, during the beginning of World War II. The story is divided between two women; Frankie Bard in London and Iris James in Cape Cod who are both dealing with the coming war in their own ways. Frankie is a reporter dying to tell her fellow Americans the truth about the war in Europe, and struggles to find sense in a senseless world. On the other side there is Iris, who is the local postmaster in a small Massachusetts town, dealing with how to balance bad news brought to her through the post and the struggles against her values to save those whom the bad news is for. Both women must overcome struggles they face and it will test them to the core of their very beings.
When I first saw this novel at my local bookstore I got the same reaction I have whenever I see a book dealing with historical fiction; the clouds have parted and brought in the sun shines allowing a smile to spread across my face. To put it into a cliff notes version, I love historical fiction. It is my preference to any other genre of fiction and I cannot get enough! It does not matter what era of history it takes place in, just the quality of detail brought on from that author is amazing. To go through hours, weeks, days, and months of research to get one scene historical accuracy is just unbelievable. Of course this could be brought on by the fact I love history and studied it at university but that is beyond the point. I could go on and on talking about how much I love historical fiction and its benefits but I won’t, now on to my review.
This book is beautiful. It is written beautifully and elegantly without a shadow of doubt I enjoyed every minute I spent in front of its words. Not only did I enjoy this book, I loved it. The story is something of brilliance since when it comes to most novels about WWII they are usually about the men and the battles, trials they deal with being in a war. But this is a refreshing point of view especially coming from a time when it was mainly wrapped around the young men off at battle for the gory of their country. It allows the reader to live through these two strong women in a time when morale was low and the trials they faced on a daily basis were hard. It happens that some novels have the tendency to romanticize WWII; it may be with my generation or the generation before me to put something in a different perspective so that we are more likely to understand the period and make it more appealing. The Postmistress does not romanticize the 1940’s; she does not go out of her way to make it appear more appealing to our generation but she is more inclined to tell a story to how these woman would have felt during those years. There isn’t any sugar-coating of the facts or the stories or how they would have lived, as a reader you are able to become part of this story and feel what the characters are feeling. You are able to get a first hand approach to those women and their perspective of those war years, which allows someone of my generation to better understand them.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves WWII fiction, historical fiction or just anyone in general. It just isn’t a story about women of WWII but a story of two people trying to live through troubles times. This book is also on the Richard & Judy book club, in case you were interested.
Have you read this book? If so did you enjoy it? Tell me your thoughts!