Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Postmistress - Sarah Blake


"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."

Cole's Review:
I'm a history buff, Anglophile, resident of Massachusetts and both my grandfathers served during WWII.  To say that this book spoke to me is an understatement.
The book is told from the point of view of our three main characters - Iris, Frankie & Emma and set in both Europe and Massachusetts.  Ordinarily, I'm not a big fan of story with multiple points of view, but this book transitions from character to character extraordinarily well.  In a way - this book isn't a shocker.  Everyone who has sat through an American History class knows the general timeline of the war and many of us have heard stories from grandparents, great aunts/uncles, elderly neighbors, etc.  Instead, this book is a moving story of the people behind the war.  The people left behind; the media point of view; the uncertainty of our involvement in the war for quite awhile; that so much of life truly is a series of accidents.
The one flaw that is obvious to me (but might not to you) is that Sarah Blake is not a Massachusetts native.  She is describing Providencetown, but gave it the fictional name of Franklin.  Unfortunately, the town of Franklin really does exist - 35 miles from Boston, not on Cape Cod!
That said; I loved this book and would recommend it to just about everyone.
Grade: A

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