The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

Experience World War 2 through the eyes of two very different women in this captivating New York Times bestseller.

Sarah Blake is the author of the novels Grange House and the New York Times bestseller The Postmistress. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and two sons. Sarah’s newest book The Guest House is also available now!

The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

A postmistress not only holds the key to the mail delivery, she also holds the “keys to the city.” She knows the comings and goings of the citizens, whether each one reveals clues or not. My grandmother was a “postmistress” during this same time; early 1940’s, in a small rural community in south Louisiana. I really cannot imagine her dismay at the thought of holding a letter and not delivering it to the recipient. Even though we’d all like to think we’d do the right thing, what is the right thing? In Sarah Blake’s novel, Frankie Bard, “radio gal,” is with Edward Murrow, CBS radio in London and Europe, during the early years of World War ll. She introduces the reader to the conundrum of how to handle the delivery of news. Frankie was impressed by Murrow’s ability to narrate over the incoming drone of the Luftwaffe, and wanted to add her voice so that Americans would sit up and pay attention and certainly not look away.

Returning to her London flat after a night of bombing, Frankie finds the back of the flat has vanished along with Harriet, her roommate. Harriet’s quest had been to collect the stories of Jews in Europe and to make people aware of what was happening. Frankie takes on this challenge and begins a journey across France by train, to interview and record the voices and stories of those she meets. In her head Frankie’s not sure how the “voices” will come together in a broadcast, but in her heart she knows she must gather the depth of feelings she glimpses in the eyes of the Jewish mothers and fathers, and in the tears of the children.

Meanwhile, stateside, two young women cross paths in the small town of Franklin, Massachusetts. One is Iris, the Postmistress, and the other, Emma, who marries the town doctor. At this point the United States has not entered the war, and most of the town folks are not too concerned-except for Harry-who keeps up a nightly vigil for U-Boats and wants the town flag pole lowered so it doesn’t attract attention from off- shore.

The reader will feel the jolting of the train creeping through the darkness, as Frankie begins her journey to record the stories of the Jews; feeling the stress of those traveling toward Strasbourg, Lyon, and Lisbon, hoping for an escape to America. Sarah Blake’s descriptions and storytelling keep the reader anxious, yet eventually fulfilled, as she takes you on a ride on the radio waves with Frankie all the way from London back to lands’ end in Massachusetts. Pack lunch and a suitcase for a satisfying ride with Sarah Blake’s The Postmistress.

Edward Roscoe Murrow, April 25, 1908 – April 27, 1965) was an American broadcast journalist and war correspondent. He first gained prominence during World War II with a series of live radio broadcasts from Europe for the news division of CBS.

Keep Calm and Carry On is a motivational poster produced by the British government in 1939 in preparation for World War II. The poster was intended to raise the morale of the British public, threatened with widely predicted mass air attacks on major cities.

2 thoughts on “The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

  1. This book sounds intriguing! What a unique perspective on the war years; a peek into the lives of people “behind the scenes” so to speak. I can’t wait to read it!


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