The Postmistress: Book Review by Arlene
The setting for this novel takes place in the Fall of 1940.
In this day and age of modern technology imagine, if you can, the days of “Snail Mail.”
Imagine the only news of the world you receive is on a radio broadcast if you are lucky enough to even have a radio, or from a newspaper.
Countries separated by oceans seemed like they were so far away and any horrible thing happening to the masses of people across those oceans could not affect your life – or could it?
There was no e-mail, no cell phones, no internet, no 24 hours a day of information overload, no televisions in every home. There was no being bombarded by differing opinions of people you didn’t even know coming at you every minute of every day.
This is the premise of this book.
If you wish, step back in time and read The Postmistress.
The Three Main Characters:
Frankie Bard, a female radio broadcaster who works for The Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), and for Edward R. Murrow, a prominent news broadcaster in the United States who the people listen to on the radio to learn about the world events taking place around the globe.
Frankie Bard is the first woman to report the news across the airwaves from The Blitz in London.
Iris James, the Postmaster in Franklin, Massachusetts, a small Cape Cod town.
Emma Fitch, the town of Franklin’s new doctor’s new wife.
The story weaves itself through the turmoils of these 3 women’s lives.
These three lives become intertwined with each other with each of them not having a clue that is happening. At the end of the book it all comes together and they meet with each other to share their stories but keep the secrets that need to be kept.
Edward R. Murrow sends Frankie Bard to London to get the word out on what is happening to the Jewish people all over Europe.
He wants 3 questions to be answered.
1. What is happening? 2. How does it affect America? 3. What does the common man say?
When Frankie goes over to London all she had available to report the news was a table, listening on headphones for New York to say “Come In London”. She would then flick the switch on the side of the microphone and speak.
England is being bombarded by the Germans every night, people are going underground every night, then waking up at daylight to go above ground to see the devastation of lives and homes being destroyed.
In order to get the real story Frankie decides to get on the trains leaving London every night with the people trying to escape the country and she interviews them to find out what is really happening to the common population of the European countries.
She records their voices when they answer her questions on 70 discs and in doing so becomes entrenched with their misery and fears. She asks the people the same questions and they answer her in their native tongues and languages.
She asks them:
1. What is your name? 2. Where are you going? 3. Where have you come from? 4. How long have you traveled? 5. How much do you have? 6. Will anyone meet you?
Frankie meets Doctor Will Fitch, the doctor from Cape Cod married to Emma Fitch, in an underground section of London and forges a friendship with him.
He has gone to London to help in any way he can after a tragic incident on Cape Cod.
She ultimately gets possession of a letter he had written to his wife. She takes the letter and promises herself when she gets back to the states she will go to Cape Cod and will personally deliver the letter to the doctor’s wife herself.
Iris James, the postmaster on Cape Cod also has a letter Doctor Fitch asked her to deliver to his wife should he die in London.
So, now we have 2 letters waiting to be personally delivered to a wife waiting to hear the fate of her beloved husband.
The cast of characters in this novel are every day people, living normal lives until their fates bring them together at a time in history which will never be forgotten.
This is a good book with a good story line and an enjoyable read. It is not a blockbuster but it can grip you at times and keep you engrossed.
Listen to the people on the trains.
Imagine what it was like back then compared to life today.
The hard cover copy of this book has 318 pages so it is not a long book but it does capture the time period and is well written.
Please join us in The Postmistress Book Club Discussion Questions. We would love to hear your thoughts on the book!
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