Genre: Historical fiction
The Postmistress chronicles the lives of four individuals during World War II. Frankie is a radio reporter who is deeply troubled by the brutality going on and wants to inform people about it. Emma is a young wife who's husband, Will, is in London during this time. And Iris is the postmistress of a small town in the US. Alternating between an America still cocooned in its inability to grasp danger and a Europe being torn apart by war, The Postmistress gives us two women who find themselves unable to deliver tragic news, and a third woman desperately waiting yet afraid to hear it.I didn't expect to enjoy this book at all. I'm not a huge fan of war stories (although I've read two great ones in the past few days!) so this wasn't a natural choice of book for me. I'm glad to report that The Postmistress was a very enjoyable read for a variety of reasons.
First of all, the writing is fantastic. Every sentence is beautiful and every page is filled with the most skillfully chosen metaphors and vocabulary that flow seamlessly together. Honestly, I don't think I've ever been able to visualize scenes in my mind as vividly as I could while reading The Postmistress, or been able to feel so much while reading. The emotions of the characters are instantly transported into you, and at times it's painful.
"Frankie looked up and saw the frantic face of a woman outside pressed against the glass, shouting at her. It became clear that the train was going to leave everyone on the platform behind and Frankie stared down into all those faces upturned to hers and knew she was staring at ghosts. They were not going to get out. ... They were drowning there right in front of her, within sight of the lifeboats, within sight of the shore, and here she was, taking up a spot."
Other than Blake's writing style, the characters that she invented are so believable and so real, which is rare to find. They each have a distinct personality and their own internal issues which are authentic and true. It's amazing how she managed to intertwine four main characters to create a plot as complex and natural as this! I find it utterly ingenious, and it makes for a solid and satisfying conclusion.
Recommendation: Because The Postmistress doesn't focus on action, not everyone would enjoy this book. If you're a historical fiction lover or can simply appreciate the writing in a novel, I recommend this to you!