[Review] The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

Title: The Postmistress
Author: Sarah Blake
Genre: Historical Fiction
Subject: World War II (1939 - 1945), Franklin (Massachusetts, US), London Blitz (1940 - 1941), Radio broadcasting, Postmasters 
Page:  326 pages
First Published: 2010

Here’s another story that centers around the Second World War, circa 1940 to 1941. It is before the Pearl Harbor bombings and the eventual US involvement in the war. Two women: Emma Fitch, a local doctor’s wife and Iris James, a Cape Cod postmistress listens religiously to the voice of Frankie Bard, an American radio journalist reporting the vicissitudes of those affected by the bombings of the London Blitz.

Emma is anxious to hear news from London where her husband is volunteering and Iris knows that sooner or later she will have to deliver messages of hope or tragedy. Until one night when Frankie finds a letter she is obliged to deliver, the fates of all three women are forever entwined.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I have been vacillating between giving it a good review but on the other hand, I cannot say that I like this book.

To me, the story of women torn apart by war is always compelling but in this case, I cannot say that I find this book engaging. It keeps me reading though but only to satisfy my curiosity. There is a plot that somehow sizzled in the middle of the story and later culminates into an ending that I didn’t like the way it turned out.

Sarah Blake taught English at colleges and workshops so it is undeniable that her novel turned out to be somewhat poetic (and plus, she married a poet so what do you expect)? And while you appreciate the beauty of the prose – you really get the message how messy (for lack of a better word) the war was and the struggles of those people affected by it – but it comes to a point when it is too much that it feels …. I don’t know …. redundant? If that’s the right word to describe it.

In the end, I settled for the middle. I find The Postmistress still enjoyable but not without some reservations.


glad you enjoyed this one for the most part, I liked it as well, but had some issues with it.
Franklin, MA is a real town in MA (we have friends who live there), but it IS NOT on Cape Cod which the author states in this book -- that alone bugged me.
I have picked this one up and put it back down in a bookshop several times. I'm kind of glad I didn't buy it after reading your review.

Glad you enjoyed Half of a Yellow Sun too. I thought it was wonderful.