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The Resource The postmistress, Sarah Blake

The postmistress, Sarah Blake

Label
The postmistress
Title
The postmistress
Statement of responsibility
Sarah Blake
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
In London covering the Blitz with Edward R. Murrow, Frankie Bard meets a Cape Cod doctor in a shelter and promises that she'll deliver a letter for him when she finally returns to the United States. Filled with stunning parallels to today's world, "The Postmistress" is a sweeping novel about the loss of innocence of two extraordinary women--and of two countries torn apart by war
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Review
  • /*Starred Review*/ 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. -- Seaman, Donna (Reviewed 01-01-2010) (Booklist, vol 106, number 9, p44)
  • Weaving together the stories of three very different women loosely tied to each other, debut novelist Blake takes readers back and forth between small town America and war-torn Europe in 1940. Single, 40-year-old postmistress Iris James and young newlywed Emma Trask are both new arrivals to Franklin, Mass., on Cape Cod. While Iris and Emma go about their daily lives, they follow American reporter Frankie Bard on the radio as she delivers powerful and personal accounts from the London Blitz and elsewhere in Europe. While Trask waits for the return of her husband—a volunteer doctor stationed in England—James comes across a letter with valuable information that she chooses to hide. Blake captures two different worlds—a naïve nation in denial and, across the ocean, a continent wracked with terror—with a deft sense of character and plot, and a perfect willingness to take on big, complex questions, such as the merits of truth and truth-telling in wartime. (Feb.) --Staff (Reviewed December 21, 2009) (Publishers Weekly, vol 256, issue 51, p38)
  • /* Starred Review */ Frankie Bard is a young female reporter in London during the Blitz, working with the likes of Edward R. Murrow and Eric Severeid. Her broadcasts make an impression on the residents of Franklin, MA—Dr. Will Fitch and wife Emma, garage owner Harry Vale, and postmaster Iris James—who in 1940–41 don't know how or if the war will affect them. Harry is sure the Germans are about to land on their beach, while, hearing Frankie talk of an orphaned boy, Emma and Will don't feel the news goes far enough. Iris insists that "there is an order and a reason" to everything, and "every letter sent…proves it." First novelist Blake doesn't let her work fall prey to easy sentimentality; this story is harsh and desperate, as indeed is war, but her writing is incisive and lush: a house missing a piece of mortar, "as if it had been bitten"; a distracted Iris, with "sand…dribbling out of the bag of her attention." VERDICT 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. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/09.]—Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal --Bette-Lee Fox (Reviewed December 15, 2009) (Library Journal, vol 134, issue 20, p93)
  • Three women on the eve of America's involvement in World War II consider the volatile nature of truth in the face of tragedy.Iris James is postmistress for the town of Franklin on the tip of Cape Cod. Everyone's secrets pass through her hands, but Iris, a 40-year-old virgin, reveres the ethical standards her position confers, order imposed on the chaos. New to Franklin in September 1940 is Emma, young Dr. Will Fitch's bride, an orphan who hopes that marriage and the close community will bring her the family she's missed. While residents enjoy the quiet of fall on the Cape—everyone but Harry Vale, who perches on the upper floor of Town Hall looking out to sea for U-boats—they listen to the radio broadcasts of Frankie Bard, a pioneering female American journalist covering the Blitz in London. Her report about an orphaned boy prompts Will, reeling from the recent death of a patient during childbirth, to go to London and help the wounded in penance. Frankie briefly meets Will in a bomb shelter, where he makes a disturbing confession: He can't return to his life on the Cape; the war and his usefulness during it have made him happy. Upper-crust Frankie is also exhilarated by the war, but as she and Will exit the shelter the next morning, she sees him hit and killed by a taxi. Frankie's boss, Ed Murrow, sends her to the continent to interview Jewish refugees fleeing Germany; she also witnesses executions and realizes the enormity of the task ahead. Back on the Cape, Emma, heavily pregnant, doesn't know what to make of Will's disappearance. But Iris does; she confiscated the letter informing Emma of Will's death. Then Frankie shows up, surprised that everyone thinks Will is still alive. The loose ends that plague every tale and the fractional nature of knowing are the central themes of this narrative, which plays with the idea of storytelling.Quietly effective work from first novelist Blake. (Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2010)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
336089
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1960-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Blake, Sarah
Dewey number
813/.54
Index
no index present
LC call number
PS3552.L3493
LC item number
P67 2010
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Postmasters
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • London (England)
Target audience
adult
Label
The postmistress, Sarah Blake
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
326 pages
Isbn
9780399156199
Isbn Type
(alk. paper)
Lccn
2009024532
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 402542993
  • (OCoLC)402542993
Label
The postmistress, Sarah Blake
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
326 pages
Isbn
9780399156199
Isbn Type
(alk. paper)
Lccn
2009024532
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 402542993
  • (OCoLC)402542993

Library Locations

    • James City County LibraryBorrow it
      7770 Croaker Road, Williamsburg, VA, 23188, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
    • Williamsburg LibraryBorrow it
      515 Scotland Street, Williamsburg, VA, 23185, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
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