Monday, August 15, 2011

The Postmistress

Rating: 4 out of 5 Unsent Letters

What would happen if someone did the unthinkable-and didn't deliver a letter? Filled with stunning parallels to today, The Postmistress is a sweeping novel about the loss of innocence of three extraordinary women-and of two countries torn apart by war. (

I read this book right after Kathryn Stockett's The Help. Both are extraordinary historical fiction at their finest. Blake's novel takes us to America right before we joined WWII. It is an intriguing time period simply because of the element of suspense and the unknown. America was in a tumultuous time then, most people waiting and dreading the moment when they might have to go to war, yet the war itself seemed so far away.

Even though this book takes place in the 1940s, the themes and ideas behind it are very modern. The idea that war can take place within as well as outside of our immediate selves is evident in Blake's novel.

This book follows three women: Iris James, the postmistress, Emma, the doctor's wife, and Frankie Bard, a broadcast journalist. Each of their stories interweave in very cool ways. I loved how Frankie's voice is heard by Iris and Emma and both the women have different reactions to Frankie's words. Frankie is, after all, in London where she is taking her life in her hands every day in order to bring the news to America.

The characterization in this book is wonderful. Each of the women have very distinct roles and personalities. Emma is a quiet, soft, and reserved tiny woman. Iris is more strong-willed, a little older, and somewhat obstinate. Frankie (my personal favorite) is opinionated, determined, witty, and beautiful. Each of their personalities lend to the story and bring it to a sweeping climax in which all of them finally meet.

Blake's writing is impeccable. She uses metaphors with precision and aptitude. She's a gifted storyteller who captures the emotions with a divine stroke of genius. I loved this book. I felt like I was taken on a journey back through time when I read this, and I felt the characters' pains and anguishes.

I would highly recommend this book. I gave it 4 out of 5 unsent letters. Now, what are you waiting for? Go out and get it!

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