Summery: In 1940, Iris James is the postmistress in coastal Franklin, Massachusetts. Iris knows more about the townspeople than she will ever say, and believes her job is to deliver secrets. Yet one day she does the unthinkable: slips a letter into her pocket, reads it, and doesn’t deliver it.
Meanwhile, Frankie Bard broadcasts from overseas with Edward R. Murrow. Her dispatches beg listeners to pay heed as the Nazis bomb London nightly. Most of the townspeople of Franklin think the war can’t touch them. But both Iris and Frankie know better…
The Postmistress is a tale of two worlds-one shattered by violence, the other willfully naïve-and of two women whose job is to deliver the news, yet who find themselves unable to do so. Through their eyes, and the eyes of everyday people caught in history’s tide, it examines how stories are told, and how the fact of war is borne even through everyday life.
From its beautiful cover to its lovely but heartbreaking ending The Postmistress gave me so much. I listened to the audiobook version in a two-day period. What is the audiobook version of “I couldn’t put it down”? I guess I couldn’t stop listening. I had to know what would happen next.
After a bit of confusion at the very beginning trying to keep the characters straight I was swept right in. It’s been a long time since I’ve listened to a book and I think it threw me on how to follow along. I found myself having to rewind to remember who we were talking about and what was going on. But, about half way through the first chapter I was completely involved and totally enthralled.
The three women at the heart of this story were so believable, well written, and honest. I was thrilled when Postmaster Iris found love, was anxious waiting for word from Emma’s husband, and angry along with Frankie trying to get the voices of those most hurt by the war heard.
I have an affinity for the time period that this book is set. I love the music, the movies, and the fashion. The pace of living seemed much more my style. Mind you I wouldn’t want to live without my internet, tv, or other luxuries of this age but I do love to read, watch, and listen back in time.
I’m sure several people have already read this but I don’t want to give too much away. But I will say this, this book put me through the wringer. It’s heartbreaking on so many levels, yet there still is hope. Sometimes I think there’s nothing new that can be written about WWII. All the stories have been told, then something comes along and hits me. There will always be more stories to be told. As Frankie records the voices, really just the names and places, of these people running for their lives it reminded me of just how many people suffered through this horrible time. It’s easy to lose the individual in the vast numbers.
Frankie’s story is a huge part of this book but just as important are the stories of Emma and Iris. The doctor’s wife and the Postmaster (not postmistress). I loved Iris, she was a very New England type of woman. Practical and sensible, making a pivotal decision she makes in the course of her job all the more poignant. Iris becomes an important part of Emma’s life. Her connection to her husband far away. Emma really touched my heart (it helped that Emma is my daughter’s name) she was wounded yet brave, trying to become part of her husband’s life and town. Finally make the family she so longed for but had lost before.
I have to say a word about Orlagh Cassidy, who read the book. Like I said before it has been a while since I have listened to a book so it took me a bit to get into this. I a first I thought her reading was a bit off. Then like lightning it just caught fire. Her take on each of the three women was spot on and she had me so wrapped up in the story I hated to turn it off. I actually looked up her audiobook resume and found there were several books on it I would like to read. Including the Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee which has been on my list for a bit, so I think I’m off to order it so I can hear Ms. Cassidy again.