Friday, October 29, 2010

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

Published in 2010. 326 pages.

I wanted to love this book. A historical fiction novel. Set during World War II. With not just one but three female protagonists. Each revealing part of the story from her own perspective. The Postmistress had all the elements of a great read! Alas ...

The book started slow for me, but I kept going because it was both a Book Buddies pick and a Salt Lake County Reader's Choice nominee. I kept hoping that something would happen that would captivate me - or at least let me see what the author was trying to tell her readers. Unfortunately, that never happened - even as I neared the end and just "knew" that I would finally be happy with the tale. The more I hoped for the book to come together in a way that I'd find satisfying, the more irritated I got ... and then I just got crabby.

  • If I had read "he leaned in to light her cigarette" one more time, I would have screamed.

  • What was with the weird, unrelated scenes of sexuality and discussions of women's reproductive health issues?

  • The plot was not cohesive. There were several "short stories" that I quite enjoyed, but as a novel it just didn't come together.

  • Even the title misrepresents the content, as "the postmistress" is only one of three female protagonists.

For a more thoughtful and positive review, check out Dawn's thoughts at She Is Too Food of Books.


  1. LOL I don't remember reading anything so honest by you! :) I have heard that the title doesn't represent the book and that it frankly as a whole it isn't very good - big disappointment for many. Now that I see your review, I'm really going to take it off my iPod. I'm not going to waste my time. Thanks!

  2. I've had this on HOLD at the library for months, but never picked it up. I too have heard that the title is misleading. Based in the premise (WWII historical fiction) I would love this I'm wondering if I should keep it on the hold shelf permanently??!!

  3. LOL
    So true. I'm right there with you on the cigarette thing. Enough already!

    And did it bug anyone else that the "postmistress" a)isn't the focus of the story, b)is CONSTANTLY insisting she's NOT a postmistress, and c)the big pivotal thing she does doesn't happen until PAGE 246!!!

  4. I think I will give this a miss. I was very keen on getting it when it was first released but then I just waited and procrastinated.

  5. I liked this a bit more than you did I think, but it was a bit uneven. For me, the highlight was Frankie's travels. So heart breaking.

  6. Good review with specific things you liked and didn't like, and then you cap it with a link to a more positive review. Thanks!

  7. I like your review -- I did not like the book at all. I'm totally confused by the title -- who in the world was the actual postmistress? Not the 'postmaster' in Franklin. How confusing. And did she hide a letter? I don't remember her hiding a letter -- only Frankie.

    Some of the writing drove me crazy. I wanted to hear more about certain people & why they did things. I would have hated a tied up ending, but felt it could have been more literary.

    The very best part of the book, imo, was the dinner party conversation at the beginning. The rest of the novel did not live up to that witty cleverness.

    1. It's been a while since I read this one, and I really don't remember the details ... but I definitely remember feeling frustrated with it. At least I'm not alone. :)