I was swept up in the first chapter as Frankie Bard, a journalist who lived through World War II and reported from London during the Blitz, fiercely confronts a modern day dinner parties' speculations on war. This older, perhaps wiser, Frankie made me want to hear her story about the postmistress who chose not to deliver a letter.
I will say that the characters in Sarah Blake's novel are very interesting. We meet Iris James, the 'spinster' Postmaster for Franklin, Massachusetts who believes strongly in duty and order...Emma Fitch, the town doctor's new wife who was orphaned early in life and longs to belong...Will Fitch, the town doctor who is trying to bear the burden of his father's failures in his hometown...Frankie Bard, the journalist and radio announcer who has gone to London to report on the war in hopes that America would wake up to the realities of what is happening over there...Otto Schelling, a foreigner who is new to Franklin and hoping to receive word on his wife who was left behind in Europe due to a paperwork glitch...and scores of others, either on the summer vacation island of Franklin or in war torn Europe.
Unfortunately, I didn't really connect with any of them...and that may be part of Ms Blake's intent. In this novel we tend to see a person's beginning, or their end, or a snapshot of some event in their lives, but never do we see their whole story.
As odd as it may sound, I would still highly recommend this book. It gives you much to think about. Like, is it ever better to NOT tell the truth? Or, how do we continue to live as though everything is normal while another place is at this very moment being torn apart by war?
I went back to Jennifer's review from February over at 5 Minutes For Books after I finished reading this morning. I was quite surprised at how close her opinion of the book was to mine. So, if you would like to hear a little more about The Postmistress, click here to read Jennifer's review.
My favorite quote from the book:
...All these letters, all these words scratched out one to the other, spinning their way toward someone. Someone waiting. Someone writing. That was the point of it all, keeping the pure chutes clear, so that anybody's letter - finding its way to the post office, into the canvas sacks, the many-hued envelopes jostling and nestling, shuffling with all the others- could journey forward, joining all the other paper thoughts sent out minute by minute to vanquish-
And, if you would like to read it for yourself, let me know. I would be happy to pass along my copy!