The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

I usually write book reviews in the order I finish the books, but I am itching to get this written down before I forget what I want to say about The Postmistress.  I downloaded the audio version of this book because I had heard so many wonderful things about it, and I have to admit I am a little disappointed.

The Postmistress is about three women.  Iris James is the new postmistress in Franklin, Massachusetts.  Emma Fitch moves to Franklin as the wife of the doctor, Will.  Frankie Bard is a journalist who is covering World War II in England.  Frankie ends up travelling through Europe recording the stories of people who are fleeing.  The novel takes place before the United States joined the war.

Blake is a good writer, and she is adept at creating a realistic setting.  Her descriptions of Europe during World War II were obviously the product of a great deal of research.  Unfortunately, something was missing from her character development.  Ironically, we never really learn much about the postmistress herself.  The most developed character in the story was Frankie Bard, and I found that I only cared about what happened to her and Otto, the German.  Unfortunately, Otto’s story just ends unresolved, and Frankie’s story becomes intertwined with Emma’s in a manner that was a bit contrived and predictable.

I started listening to this one in Februrary and didn’t make myself finish it until April.  That should be an indication of how much it lost my interest.  Many people love this book, so you should still check it out to see if it piques your interest.  If you aren’t interested after 100 pages (or 2 or 3 hours on audio), assume that it will not get better.


8 thoughts on “The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

  1. *rotten tomatoes launched*

    No, not really. 🙂 I find there are so many books that most people like that I’m left cold by.

    And as passionate as I am about books, it’d be kind of lame to be like, “How dare you not adore this book as much as I do? HOW DARE YOU?!”

    • Yeah, it never bothers me when someone doesn’t like a book that I love. I’m just not really used to writing negative reviews because I’m pretty good at choosing books that I’ll probably enjoy.

      • I worry sometimes that my reviews aren’t taken seriously because I like 95% of the books that I read. (And I probably love 4 of the remaining 5%.)

        But like you, I know my own taste pretty well by now. 🙂

  2. I will be very curious to see Blake’s next book. I was very confused with the way she introduces her characters but was really intrigued with her writing. I struggled at points to finish but in the end really appreciated. I am hoping that her next outing runs a little more smoothly.

  3. Pingback: The Postmistress by Sarah Blake « Coffee Stained Pages

  4. I also felt like I didn’t really care about any of the main characters other than Frankie. And this is probably going to sound silly but it bothered me that the book was called The Postmistress when Iris insisted on being called the postmaster, she indicated that the title postmaster wasn’t gender specific and her job title was always postmaster.

    I also found the coincidental way the story intertwines a bit contrived. I felt a big theme of the book was the random nature of the world and yet all the stories just happen to connect all perfectly like that. Usually I like books where seemingly seperate characters eventually intertwine in some way, for eg in The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell, but something about the way it was done here didn’t work for me.

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