Book Review ~ The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

Summary as seen on Amazon.com ~ “Alternating between an America still cocooned in its inability to grasp the danger at hand and a Europe being torn apart by war, The Postmistress gives us two women who find themselves unable to deliver the news, and a third woman desperately waiting for news yet afraid to hear it.
Sarah Blake’s The Postmistress shows how we bear the fact that war goes on around us while ordinary lives continue. Filled with stunning parallels to today, it is a remarkable novel.”

The Postmistress

Last night at midnight I finished reading my new all-time favorite book.  The Postmistress is the newest book from author Sarah Blake.  I have been trying to think of how to describe my thoughts throughout this book and because there are so many I’m only going to touch on a few and leave the rest to you to discover for yourself when you hopefully read it.

The book was simply fabulous.  That should be enough to get you to go buy the book this weekend and dive right in but if it isn’t than let me tell you a few things about The Postmistress.  The story is based on three women and the world that surrounds them in the months leading up to the United States’ involvement in WWII.  Frankie Bard is part of “Murrow’s Boy”, a group of brave and progressive reporters who broadcasted from all over Europe as Hitler and his Nazis drove out and did worse to the Jews as well as broadcast live from London throughout The Blitz.  I was curious about “Murrow’s Boy”, that’s Edward R. Murrow, who coined the phrase “Good Night and Good Luck” and “THIS…is London” and the reporters who worked for him to get the news to the U.S.  There was a female who was in that bunch.  Her name was Mary Marvin Breckinridge Patterson and as I discovered in the notes from the author at the end of The Postmistress, she is who Blake based Frankie Bard on.  Frankie is viewed as a very brave woman who is trying to bring the war front in London to her fellow Americans attention back home.  Her stories soar along the airwaves and enter the kitchens and offices of Americans who listen with bated breath to the sounds of bombs and heartbreaking stories of loss and death only an ocean away. 

Thanks to Blake, we as readers are privy to the people of Franklin, Connecticut who listen to Frankie Bard in their homes and offices.  A doctor and his wife are especially touched and haunted by the story of a boy and the loss of his mother during a night of heavy bombing during The Blitz in London.  Other Frankliners, Iris the postmaster and her friend Harry, who spends most of his time with a pair of binoculars looking all over the Atlantic Ocean for German U-Boats that he believes will surface and bring the war to Franklin’s front step, listen daily to Murrow and his reporters, including Frankie.  They discuss the war and what is happening but Iris tries to keep it all in the radio, not wanting to believe that Americans will be affected by what is happening across the pond. 

The dialogue between characters in numerous parts of The Postmistress are written so well I could picture the scenes easily before me.  The writing is smart and fast paced, keeping me gasping and on the edge of my seat, always wondering what the next page held for the characters I had grown so attached to.  The twists and turns of life are scattered with news and experiences of the war and it’s effects.

The Postmistress is historical fiction at it’s best in my opinion.  I loved it from beginning to end and felt that it never faltered or stalled.  Sarah Blake’s story of love, loss, war, life and what happens in between is written so very well.  I look forward to attending a reading/Q&A/signing of The Postmistress with Sarah Blake next Sunday afternoon at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.  I can’t wait to hear and see her in person and hopefully learn some extra back story about the book and where her ideas came from. 

Rating {5 out of 5}

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