Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Book I Recommend

I was in a bookstore a few weeks ago and picked up a book that looked interesting. Yes, I'm drawn by covers but also reading the mini-synopsis on the back cover cinched it for me. I bought The Postmistress written by Sarah Blake. It stayed on a stack of books I haven't read for a few weeks.

Monday evening, I opened it and began to read. I got hooked fast and continued reading until bedtime, then reluctantly put it down. The next afternoon, I started reading again, and I seldom read during the day. That's when I get my work, errands and writing done. Long story short, I'm loving this book. Other things intervened yesterday and I didn't get to finish it, but I fully intend to do so this evening.

The book is set in 1940-41 in a small Massachusetts community and in Europe, where WWII has already begun. We follow several characters, jumping back and forth across the Atlantic faster than any plane has ever done. Ms Blake has done a wonderful job in making it an easy transition. She also makes the reader care about the people she's created. Iris James is a spinster postmistress in the small Massachusetts town of Franklin which is situated on the coast. Americans worried in 1940 that Mr. Hitler and his gang might show up on their shores and they kept a wary eye peeled. Emma Fitch is a young woman who married the town doctor. We watch as the young doctor heads to London to help with the wounded in the constant bombings going on. In London, we meet Frankie Bard, a young radio journalist who works with Edward R. Murrow, reporting all that is happening in London. Frankie alerts the world to what is happening in Europe.

There are so many parallels to our world today in this story set over 70 years ago. It's interesting because of that as well as being a good story. I noted that the author has an earlier book published, and I will definitely look for it. It's a pleasure reading something that is so well-written. If you're looking for a book for your Book Club or just for yourself, give this one a try.


  1. I certainly shall have to read this book. In the early 1940's, in Southern California, my mother earned the appointment to run the fourth-class postoffice in our rural, agricultural community. Part of the job requirement was the responsibility of providing the actual space. My father built a small building that was at the front corner of our yard, and cap off the effort, proudly made a sign with the name of the community, and my mother's name, followed by the word "Postmistress."

    As proof of how she was complying with the space requirement, Mother took a picture and sent it off to postal headquarters in Washington, DC.

    And very promptly received back an order to immediately change the sign, because all the appointees, regardless of sex, were designated as "Postmasters." In the eyes of the U.S. Government, there was no such thing as a "Postmistress."

  2. Pretty interesting piece of family history, Peg. And yes, I'm sure you'd enjoy reading this book. Thanks for commenting.

  3. I actually have this book on my Kindle, but haven't read it yet. I'm happy to know it will be worth my time.

  4. I think you'll enjoy the book, BJ. I liked it so much I went to the library to get Sarah Blake's first book (Grange House). It's a historical fiction novel and totally different from this newer one.