Weekend Reads: “The Postmistress”
I decided to go into the Wayback Machine for this week’s review; I read this delightful book in 2009.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I nearly gave up on Sarah Blake’s “The Postmistress” because it was a little slow to get started. I am glad that I didn’t; Blake has created a real gem in this novel.
The plot concerns three women: Iris, a small-town postmistress; Emma, the wife of that small town’s doctor, and; Frankie, an American broadcaster working for Edward R. Murrow in Europe at the onset of World War II. The three women’s lives are linked by Will Fitch, Emma’s husband. After hearing Frankie talk on the radio about a horrible night in London during the Blitz, and right on the heels of losing a patient in childbirth, Fitch goes to London to serve as a volunteer physician. He gives Iris a letter to give to his wife in the event of his demise. He eventually meets Frankie during another bombing raid and leaves her with a secret to carry.
The most interesting part of the book, for me, is Frankie’s assignment to ride the refugee trains and record stories told by those who are trying to flee Germany and Austria. Blake’s writing brings alive the fright of the Jewish refugees as she literally gives them voice in talking with Frankie.
After leaving Europe, Frankie goes to the small town where Iris and Emma live, determined to share Will’s secret with his wife. The internal conflict she endures over this responsibility, while Emma goes on with her daily routine, is particularly poignant.
Overall, a well-written and lovely book that is well worth sticking with through the slow establishing chapters.
(Review based on uncorrected advance proof.)