THE POSTMISTRESS by Sarah Blake [Review]

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

Sarah Blake’s The Postmistress has been getting tons of great reviews and has even been compared to Kathryn Stockett’s The Help (my favorite book of 2009). Eager to find another book as good as The Help, I picked up The Postmistress with high expectations. So did it live up to the hype? Unfortunately, I have to say no. As much as I wanted to like the book, I just couldn’t get into the story or connect with any of the characters.

The Postmistress is a historical novel about three different women who are brought together by the war that was taking place in Europe in 1940. The people of Franklin, Massachusetts are only vaguely aware of what is taking place over there, though radio correspondent Frankie Bard is doing her best to make America understand. The local doctor, Will Fitch, listens to her reports from London and decides to go there to help, even if it means leaving behind his wife, Emma. Also involved in the story is Iris James who, as the town postmaster, is responsible for delivering letters containing important news—until the day she decides it might be more compassionate not to.

Unlike The Help, which grabbed me immediately, I found The Postmistress to be a chore to read. The story gets off to a slow start and I nearly gave up on it, but it does pick up when it’s told from Frankie’s point of view in London (don’t be misled by the title, The Postmistress is actually more about Frankie than Iris). Although the story eventually became more interesting, I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters. Frankie, as the first woman to report from the Blitz, and Iris, as a rare female postmaster, are just the kind of trailblazing ladies that I would normally love. However, they just fell flat and I had a hard time mustering any interest in them. Maybe they would have been more interesting if they had been fleshed out a little bit more. On a positive note, I will say that Sarah Blake writes with a distinctive style and she managed to capture the horror of being in London during the Blitz.

Even though it wasn’t for me, The Postmistress has received some great reviews from other book bloggers. So read a few more reviews (I found a few more positive ones here, here or here) before you decide whether or not to skip this one.

Quotes from The Postmistress:

It began, as it often does, with a woman putting her ducks in a row.

Every story — love or war — is a story about looking left when we should have been looking right.

The heaviness, the himness there right in the middle of her chest, on her chest, rested there, keeping her in the bed, keeping her here. It had never occurred to her that she was looking for a tether. She had thought she was the one who sped things along, the one who sent things on their way, but there she was for the first time, delivered.

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars | Publisher: Amy Einhorn/Putnam | Pages: 336 | Source: Purchased | Buy on Amazon

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