The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I had a lot of issues with this book..... until I got to the last 5 chapters.
The book was slow initially, dry and grainy as the Namib sands and hard for me to get into. It wasn't until Chapter 5 or 6 that I felt any lure to continue on. Then the story started to take hold, but I still didn't care about or know much about the characters. There were several passages (like talking about one girl's clotty menses for example) that seemed completely irrelavent other than making the book bigger. The advertised premise (what happens if you withhold a letter / information?) didn't happen until the book's "fourth quarter."
Along the way, there were glimpses of brilliant writing. I loved many of Blake's metaphors ("soldiers stood like daffodils in the Spring") and insightful passages. I learned a lot about the time period just prior to WWII breaking out, which is uncommonly dealt with. The book seemed well-researched, with rich period details that were unobtrusive, yet enriched the story. The news reports about France and Germany were fantastic. And in the end, two of the characters finally came to life and gave me reason to care. The book concludes with the depth I yearned for all along.
Bottom line: Blake did a decent job of exploring what takes place around the edges of a photograph....the parts you don't usually see (ie: how war affects everyday lives). Blake has great potential as a writer, and I appreciated her attempt at a compelling, fresh approach to a war story.
PS: Warning... unfortunately this book is marred by rampant cursing. Why is that necessary????
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