Thursday, September 1, 2011

Before the Blog: The Postmistress

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

My rating:  2-1/2 of 5 stars

I had noticed this book in Parade Magazine write up one day and thought it looked interesting. When a friend pointed out the same book a week later, I decided to read it. I had high expectations. Unfortunately, the book did not live up to those expectations.

The story is centered around Frankie, a female war reporter during WWII, Iris, the postmistress of a small New England coastal town who has never married, and Emma, the young wife of the town doctor who goes off to London to help in the war effort. At some point, Iris reads a letter addressed to Emma, and makes the decision to not deliver it, feeling she would be better off not knowing the contents. Frankie travels Europe covering the war, and meeting many people affected by the war. While she experiences the horror of war first hand, Iris, Emma, and the rest of America continue to support the war effort relatively oblivious to what is really going on 'over there'. The book is not really a romance, but all three women have men in their lives to an extent, though none of the 'happily ever after'.

This book is difficult to rate. The story dragged, and never really seemed to have a point. The story wasn't terrible; I was able to finish the book, though I could easily have put it down and not cared whether I ever found out what happened. Other than Frankie, I didn't find the characters to be particularly likeable, and some were not likeable at all. (Emma's husband, the doctor, ran off to London to 'do some good' to make himself feel better about losing a patient in childbirth.) I guess I kept reading hoping to finally figure out what the story was 'about', but I never did. If possible I would rate this a solid 2-1/2 stars. It was a bit better than 'ok', but it probably wouldn't go so far as to say i 'liked it'. Truthfully, unless you are sitting around with nothing to read but this book, I'd recommend you pick up something else. This is not a book I would recommend for your 'to-read' shelf.

View all my reviews

Why did you choose this book? I read this book because it got a lot of press when it came out and it seemed to get good reviews
When did you read this book? August 2010
Who would you recommend this book to? Fans of WWII romance who have read everything else

   Here is the synopsis of 'The Postmistress' from Goodreads where it rates 3.28 stars. You can read member reviews here.

Filled with stunning parallels to today's world, The Postmistress is a sweeping novel about the loss of innocence of two extraordinary women-and of two countries torn apart by war.
On the eve of the United States's entrance into World War II in 1940, Iris James, the postmistress of Franklin, a small town on Cape Cod, does the unthinkable: She doesn't deliver a letter. In London, American radio gal Frankie Bard is working with Edward R. Murrow, reporting on the Blitz. One night in a bomb shelter, she meets a doctor from Cape Cod with a letter in his pocket, a letter Frankie vows to deliver when she returns from Germany and France, where she is to record the stories of war refugees desperately trying to escape.
The residents of Franklin think the war can't touch them- but as Frankie's radio broadcasts air, some know that the war is indeed coming. And when Frankie arrives at their doorstep, the two stories collide in a way no one could have foreseen. The Postmistress is an unforgettable tale of the secrets we must bear, or bury. It is about what happens to love during wartime, when those we cherish leave. And how every story-of love or war-is about looking left when we should have been looking right.

Before the Blog is a new meme hosted by YA Litwit. The idea here is that we have all been reading much longer than we have been blogging and have many books in our reading past that are worthy of blogging about. This is a way to 'rediscover' these gems by answering a few basic questions. For details check out the YA Litwit blog.


  1. i really like the honesty of your review. it puts the book in a different perspective and i'm glad for the heads up that this book is kind of a bummer. great review regardless!


  2. There have been a number of times I almost picked up this book but I always end up changing my mind and not getting it.

    I'm glad for the honest review, I've seen mixed ones on this book so I'm still not sure if I'll give it a read or not.