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The Postmistress Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Feb 9 2010

3.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Adult HC/TR; 1st Edition edition (Feb. 9 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399156194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399156199
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 16.5 x 3.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #356,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Some novels we savor for their lapidary prose, others for their flesh and blood characters, and still others for a sweeping narrative arc that leaves us light- headed and changed; Sarah Blake's masterful, The Postmistress, serves us all this and more. Compassionate, insightful, and unsentimental, this masterful novel is told in a rare and highly successful omniscient voice, one that delves deeply into the seemingly random nature of love and war and story itself. This is a superb book!"
-Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog

"The Postmistress is the fictional communique readers have waited for. Sarah Blake has brought small-town American life and ravaged Europe during WWII to us with cinematic immediacy. The romantic, harrowing -- and utterly inimitable-- story of radio journalist Frankie Bard (appalled yet intoxicated by tragedy as no character I've ever read before) contains the uncompromised sensibility found in the writings of Martha Gellhorn. The Postmistress belongs in what Gellhorn called "the permanent and necessary" library."
-Howard Norman, author of The Bird Artist and Devotion

"Great books give you a feeling that you miss all day until you finally get to crawl back inside those pages again. The Postmistress is one of those rare books. When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it. Sarah Blake seamlessly moves from inside one character to another, in a novel that reminds us of a time when the news travelled from post to paper to radio and that is how we learned about the world. The Postmistress made me homesick for a time before I was even born. What's remarkable, however, is how relevant the story is to our present-day times. A beautifully written, thought provoking novel that I'm telling everyone I know to read."
-Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help

"An unforgettable, insightful, and compelling novel The Postmistress engages the reader's instincts at the deep level of fight or flight. For WWII radio reporter Frankie Bard, however, the gut response to horror is see and tell. Sarah Blake's prose perfectly recreates the cadences of passion and of the inner life while also conjuring up the wrenching, nightmare suspense of history in the making."
-Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab's Wife and Abundance, a Novel of Marie Antoinette

"To open Blake's novel of World War II and the convergence of three strong women is to enter a slipstream, so powerful are its velocity, characters, and drama. How can you resist Frankie Bard, an American journalist of gumption and vision who is bravely reporting on the Blitz from London? Her distinctive voice and audacious candor are heard on radios everywhere on the home front, including Cape Cod, where Iris James, in love for the first time at 40, keeps things shipshape at a small-town post office. The third in Blake's triumvirate of impressive women, Emma, the waiflike wife of the town's doctor, is not as obvious a candidate for heroism until a tragedy induces her husband to join the war effort. As Frankie risks her life to record the stories of imperiled Jews, Iris and Emma struggle to maintain order as America goes reluctantly to war. Blake raises unsettling questions about the randomness of violence and death, and the simultaneity of experience--how can people frolic on a beach while others are being murdered? Matching harrowing action with reflection, romance with pathos, Blake's emotional saga of conscience and genocide is poised to become a best-seller of the highest echelon."
-Donna Seaman, ALA Booklist, Starred review

"Even readers who don't think they like historical novels will love this one and talk it up to their friends. Highly recommended for all fans of beautifully wrought fiction."
-Library Journal, Starred Review

About the Author

Sarah Blake lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, the poet Josh Weiner, and their two sons.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jill Meyer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on May 4 2010
Format: Hardcover
Books about life on the American home front during WW2 (or in this case in the two years preceding it) often center on war production, rationing, government service, and other specific subjects. Susan Blake's novel concerns more the feelings and thoughts of those left behind. There are three women at the heart of Blake's story. One is the young (and new) wife of a doctor who feels drawn to serve in London during the blitz. He leaves her behind in their Cape Cod home as he goes off to war. Also in the small village is the postmistress, who is in charge of the in-coming and out-going mail. Both women, like most of the other residents listen to radio reports from London by such broadcasters as Edward R Murrow and members of his team. One of Murrow's collegues is an American woman named Frankie, who broadcasts about everyday life in London during the Blitz as well as special reports on the atrocities being committed in countries under German occupation. It is Frankie's broadcasts which have inspired the young doctor to volunteer in London. Frankie and the doctor eventually meet in London - in a bomb shelter - and the repercussions of that meeting reverberate back to the quiet Cape Cod community.

There's not a lot of action in Blake's book, other than normal wartime goings-on. The real "action" is that what goes on between the three women who are finally united in the Cape Cod town. It's a sad, yet hopeful story. I'm sure WW2 produced many such stories, and many such heroines.
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Format: Paperback
(...)The Postmistress grows on you. At the very beginning, you think: 'Great, another WWII, how many of those out there!' and it does not even seem enticing. But then every little action, every face, and every bit of dialogue you discover as not being stupid and that is already a big plus. Also, I kept having the impression that Sarah was reading my mind or at least following me around, for blatant general truths I for sure think, but almost never have the courage to blurt out, kept popping up right when they were happening, and once I even looked behind, it was downright spooky!
Some opinions out there blame the lack of reliability as well as 'juicy' details when it comes to the war. I would not label it as a war book, it is not. It's about characters facing it and having their take on it; more specifically, it's about Americans seeing the beginning of the WWII in Europe and then USA. It's the right or wrong; the idea that we''re all together and everything affects everything, life''s a treacherous play that one cannot build a script for.
Many keep pounding 'the news' notion how it's all about news, how one receives the news, blah blah blah or bull, I say. One knows. One can feel it in his bones. There is no news, yes, there is a reporter broadcasting, yes there is censorship, yes she carries a letter all over the world, but all that feels like a side plot to me, it's the context for the real plot to happen: love, strong, pure, one of a kind, the kind that makes you feel guilty for having it and terrified at the thought of losing. (...)
To see the rest of this review, as well as many more interesting unabridged ones go to
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Format: Hardcover
Sarah Blake writes a heart-wrenching story of love and war in America and Europe during WWII. Life was very different between these two continents and Ms. Blake shows us this with clarity and passion.

I really liked "The Postmistress". I like the characters and the plot development. The opening pages are an interest grabber making the reader want to immerse themselves into the mystery. That is where the story falls short. There is no mystery. I was expecting bags of mail being "misplaced" but this was not the case. In the end, would those missing letters have really made a difference in the life of the intended recipient if she had received them? Those letters were more of an anchor than a main theme and I found them to be irrelevant and weak. However, there was an element of suspense and over all I really enjoyed "The Postmistress".
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really loved it. I think the author did great reseach and had so much insight to the traumma and then historical time of l940s. She made each character very vivid and reminded me that "life is what happens when you have other plans. Excellen and would like to read other books of hers.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The title caught my eye - I read some of the 299 reviews: the favourable and the critical. The fact that the story was taking place during the Second World War and that 3 women were involved interested me. I was not disappointed! As a matter of fact, I could hardly put it down, so anxious to follow these 3 characters around. The story felt so real that I felt,at times, that I was reading a true story and not fiction.

I usually don't read the author's notes at the end of the book but I read the entire "The Story Behind the Story" and was thoroughly impressed by the author's research and how candid she was in her explanations.

I'm keeping this copy to lend to someone who will really enjoy the story - I'm not sure that all my "reader" friends would necessarily enjoy it as much as I did.

Because I had never heard of sarah Blake before and had enjoyed this book so much, I decided to order her first novel, Grange House... I'm having problems getting as immersed in this novel as I did with The Postmistress. I hope she writes another one in the same style soon.
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