Review: The Postmistress by Sarah Blake (Audiobook) (Rating 3.25 Wine Glasses)

Posted March 11, 2011 by Felicia S in Uncategorized / 2 Comments


From Goodreads: 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. 

On the eve of the United States’s entrance into World War II in 1940, Iris James, the postmistress of Franklin, a small town on Cape Cod, does the unthinkable: She doesn’t deliver a letter. In London, American radio gal Frankie Bard is working with Edward R. Murrow, reporting on the Blitz. One night in a bomb shelter, she meets a doctor from Cape Cod with a letter in his pocket, a letter Frankie vows to deliver when she returns from Germany and France, where she is to record the stories of war refugees desperately trying to escape. 

The residents of Franklin think the war can’t touch them- but as Frankie’s radio broadcasts air, some know that the war is indeed coming. And when Frankie arrives at their doorstep, the two stories collide in a way no one could have foreseen. The Postmistress is an unforgettable tale of the secrets we must bear, or bury. It is about what happens to love during wartime, when those we cherish leave. And how every story-of love or war-is about looking left when we should have been looking right.

Bought on Audible
Audio Narrator Rating: 5 (fantastic)
Story Rating:  3.25

What I Loved:  The first 70% of this book was fantastic.  The story centered around three women: Emma, Frankie, and Iris.  The stories for each of three were so fantastically crafted and gloriously detailed.  You really got invested in what happened to them and where their lives were heading.  Frankie’s story specifically was so rich in detail that you felt like you were part of her journey to discover what was really happening surrounding the beginnings of WWII.  At times, you could get so lost in the bombings in London and her train travel that it felt like a true story not a work of fiction.  Emma’s story was so understated but perfect for her, that you felt like she could be someone that would be great to know.  Iris was kind of the backbone of the story, the glue that just kind of held it all together. You just wanted to jump into this story and be part of these ladies lives.

What I Liked: I can tell the author put a lot of work into researching people’s personal stories to pull details out that are seldom seen in books that are set during the WWII era.  I also like that she set it at the beginning when America was still kind of oblivious to what was happening.  She did not hold back on the prejudices and narrow-minded views that seemed to run rampant during this time.  It was a very well crafted story.

Complaints:  The last 30% of the book.  I won’t give anything away but this is another case where the ending really ruined a book for me.  It isn’t a bad ending but there was no payoff for such a really well crafted story.  I felt like maybe the author ran out of room crafting the first part really well that she just kind of rushed through to the end.  I would love to see what ended up on the editing floor because I bet that is the end that I would have liked.

Audio specific review:  Orlagh Cassidy did an amazing job narrating this story.  This story did not call for over the top type of narration but a strong, solid voice that tweaked a little for each character.  She did a fantastic job!

Why I gave it a 3.25:  It was a solid 4.5 or 5 up till the last 30% but then ending really did let me down.  That being said, I would still highly recommend this book.  I just don’t know of another pre-WWII book (fiction) that has held this much detail and richness.  I even think the ending will be fine for most people but I read a lot so I have come to expect more.

Who I would recommend it too: Historical Fiction readers and General Fiction readers.

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Felicia S
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2 responses to “Review: The Postmistress by Sarah Blake (Audiobook) (Rating 3.25 Wine Glasses)

  1. Amused

    I haven't posted my review of this one yet but I listened to it on audio as well and I loved the narrator too. She did a fantastic job! I liked the book better than you though. Oh well πŸ™‚

  2. Missie

    Agh! It is totally frustrating when the ending feels rushed. Sometimes I wish as readers, we had a choice between the edited version and the unedited version. Like the deleted scenes section on DVDs.