From Europe in the 1940s during World War II to life in a quiet New England sea town, both are explored and intertwined in Sarah Blake’s new novel The Postmistress, which I read last year as part of Barnes and Noble First Look program.
It is hard to summarize this book without giving too much away since some of the characters become connected later in the book. So instead, I will say that there are two central women in this story that I won’t soon forget.
First is Frankie Bard, a US-correspondent reporting on the war in England. She shares everyday stories of life in wartime with her listeners back in the States. As much as her reporting affects those listening, she too is affected by the war, the stories she hears and the sights she sees.
Second is Iris James, the Postmistress of Franklin, MA. We see her in her job, and we see her as she falls in love late in life. Being the Postmistress of this small community winds-up connecting her with someone in town, more personally than she would have expected.
Both of these women were such strong, well-developed characters that I could have read a book focusing on each one separately. There are of course other characters living in Franklin whose stories are told, notably Emma Trask, the new wife of the town doctor who finds herself alone when she needs her husband the most and Henry Vale, who takes a liking to Iris and takes on the role of protecting Franklin from German U-boats.
While I wasn’t totally happy with the ending, because of Blake’s writing and storytelling and her strong characters, I left this book overall enjoying it.
I received this book for review from the Barnes and Noble First Look program.