Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Postmistress: Review and Giveaway

"We think we know who will die and who will live, who is a hero, who will fall in love with whom; but every story--love or war--is a story about looking left when we should have been looking right."
~
The Postmistress, Sarah Blake


Often as I read a book it resonates with me in an uncanny fashion. As I was reading The Postmistress by Sarah Blake, a NY Times bestselling novel that focuses on the importance of letters, my daughter and I were anxiously waiting to hear from the last of the colleges she'd applied to. Would there be a small envelope, a rejection letter, or a large envelope, an acceptance packet, in the mail for her? On Saturday afternoon I heard our mail carrier pull up to our mailbox. A few minutes later, I dashed outside to check the mail.

The Postmistress is a story that revolves around three woman, two in Franklin, MA (a fictitious town), Emma Fitch, the doctor's wife, and Iris James, the postmistress, and Frankie Bard, a female radio journalist stationed in London during World War II. While there are male characters in the story as well--Dr. Will Fitch, Jim Tom, and Harry Vale, to name a few--this novel, published in 2010, centers on the lives of these three women. Each had a different career in 1940, a time when roles were just starting to change for American women. Emma, young and tiny, adopted the most traditional role of the three, as the doctor's wife (and mother-to-be). The other women were responsible for communication in two distinct ways, highlighting the power of written and spoken words. Iris, red-haired and tall, was the careful, orderly postmistress of Franklin, and Frankie Bard was a striking pioneer as a radio announcer at a time when women were scoffed at because they didn't "belong" on the radio with their "high voices". All three of the women are connected because of the war.

From a feminist's point of view, I appreciate that these women are portrayed as strong and capable. We take it for granted today that American women can choose any career they wish for, but the book reminds us that this was not always the case, and that it wasn't easy to be taken seriously.
In the book, though, even Emma, who was a housewife and looked as if she needed protection, was stronger than she appeared, and she wasn't portrayed as less important than the other two women merely because of her traditional role.

The Postmistress is richly detailed and beautifully written and brought certain aspects of World War II to life for me. I felt as if I, too, were running and hiding from bombs in London, or riding the crowded, dank trains described in the book--the only possible way to escape from the war for many people. It's not that I want to relive the war, or the persecution of the Jews, but the presentation of events in this book, which includes Frankie's on-the-spot recorded interviews with refugees, is a brilliant way to present the human side of this devastating war. I enjoyed the bits of romance throughout the story, although the war destroyed the relationships in various ways. The Postmistress kept me spellbound, and I wanted to linger on nearly every page of this novel.

But back to my own story, about Saturday's mail. Our mailbox had a large envelope in it, which I excitedly presented to my daughter.

More terrific news! The
publisher, Berkley Trade, is generously offering a newly released paperback copy of the book as a giveaway (U.S./Canada only).

  • To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment.
  • For another chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or let me know that you're already a follower, or that you subscribe in Google Reader.
  • For an additional chance, post about this contest on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter.
  • For yet another chance, describe a time when you were waiting for something important in the mail.

Enter by 5PM PDT on Monday, April 11. One winner will be chosen randomly and announced on Tuesday, April 12. Good luck!

Special thanks to Lisa from TLC for sending me this book. For more reviews please visit the other stops on TLC's The Postmistress book tour.

63 comments:

  1. Thanks for the opportunity!

    forsurveysonly at gmail dot com

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  2. Wonderful review. I listened to the audio book version and thoroughly enjoyed this story. I too found it to be richly detailed and beautifully written. The detail, plus an excellent narrator, made the story come alive.

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  3. Sounds like a great book!

    reading_frenzy at yahoo dot com

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  4. great reading for all cecase.bradley@gmail.com

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  5. This sounds wonderful.

    I'm a follower.

    yvone473[at]gmail[dot]com

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  6. Hi Suko! I am a faithful fan and follower and am excited to share this on my blog today. I, too, am waiting on big news in the mail, albeit the EMAIL system. My daughter is going to hear from Teach for America on April 4th and we will know if she has been accepted. Very important for her future (she also graduates college WITH HONORS! in May) -- thanks for a great post and another awesome sounding book! kim

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  7. Please enter me. I'd really enjoy The Postmistress.
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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  8. I am a follower.
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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  9. I remember when I was a young girl I sent away for some small toy on a cereal box. I waited and waited for that to come! I was so excited when I came home from school and my mother told me I had a package!
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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  10. I liked The Postmistress a lot but didn't quite love it, and I'm not really sure why. No need to enter me.

    Congratulations to your daughter!!!

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  11. This sounds like a wonderful read.
    I am a GFC follower.
    rickimc[at]aol[dot]com

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  12. I had been reading so many great reviews of this one that I just up and bought it a few weeks ago. I don't know when I will get the chance to read it, but after reading your wonderful review, I am really looking forward to it!

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  13. Sounds like a promising read and one I'd enjoy. Good luck to all who enter your giveaway - though I'm not able to enter I'll happily add it to the comp/giveaway page on my blog

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  14. Would love to win this book!

    pocokat AT gmail DOT com

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  15. GFC follower

    pocokat AT gmail DOT com

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  16. I listened to this one on audio and loved it. I would really like to read it in print. Thanks for the opportunity.

    I am a GFC follower.

    teresasreadingcorner at gmail dot com

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  17. This sounds like an interesting book, enter me also. I am a GFC follower.

    iowagramma.ann@gmail.com

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  18. Congratulations to your daughter Suko!! How exciting! They grow up too fast don't they?
    The Postmistress sounds like a great read, I enjoyed your review :)
    I do agree, we as American women sometimes take it for granted how far we have come and sometimes can forget all the women before us who have paved the way.

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  19. Would love to read this book.

    tiredwkids at live dot com

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  20. I follow through google reader.
    tiredwkids at live dot com

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  21. I have heard good things about this book. bookquoter(at)gmail(dot)com
    Hope your daughter gets to the college she wants. Good luck!

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  22. I would love to read this book.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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  23. :( for US/Canada only

    The book sounds like something I'd love to read. Great review! Should try to get my hands on this one sometime soon. :)

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  24. I would love to read this book.
    gardnerad@juno.com

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  25. This book seems to be a great one .... and the cover is so beautiful !
    Congratulations to your daughter !

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  26. Thank you all for the comments and congratulations to my daughter. More comments welcomed.

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  27. hank you for the giveaway

    mais3477(at)gmail(dot)com

    I really like your taste in book!
    P.S. I am a follower of your blog and on google Reader

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  28. I think my long comment was deleted!

    Great review - I especially loved the story about your daughter and her college acceptance letter. Congrats!!

    This book sounds great and I would love to enter the giveaway. I am already a follower and my email address is laarlt78(at)hotmail(dot)com.

    My Great-Grandma Kile and I wrote each other every week starting when I was around 8 or so. I looked forward to receiving her letters, especially when I was far away at college. I miss her now that she has passed away, but still have her letters to look through and read again.

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  29. This sounds like a very good book. A great novel on London during the bliz is Elizabeth Bowen's In the Heat of the Day

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  30. Congratulations to your daughter. This is one giveaway I would have liked if there were no restrictions!

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  31. sounds interesting.Let me see if i can find this book around here.

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  32. This looks amazing! I'm really loving all the books set during WWII that I've read last year and this year...looks like another book to add to the ol' wishlist! :-)

    XOXO~ Renee
    steelergirl83atgmaildotcom

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  33. I've seen a handful of reviews of this book and it looks lovely! Great post!

    kateslibrary @ gmail . com

    I'm a follower!

    Something important in the mail? I'm usually anxiously awaiting my tax returns! :) In particular, my first year living on my own, we were coming up on when the rent was due and we were really scraping the bottom of the barrel financially - and suddenly <>!! We were pretty excited!

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  34. I've been curious about this book since last year. It really sounds interesting, I have to get to it some time. I'd love to enter the giveaway.

    ReadingOnARainyDay AT gmail DOT com

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  35. Thanks for the giveaway. I'd love to read this book.
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

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  36. blog follower via GFC
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

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  37. Whenever I should be lucky enough to win a book, I am always anxiously awaiting its arrival.
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

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  38. Sounds like a great storyline and I would love to read it.

    cenya2 at hotmail dot com

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  39. I follow by google reader.

    cenya2 at hotmail dot com

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  40. I've heard a lot of good things about this book. I would love to read it. Thanks for the giveaway.
    peacelily_2006(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  41. I'm a GFC follower. (Melanie L)
    peacelily_2006(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  42. Tweet: http://twitter.com/#!/Melanie_2006/status/54311303581409280

    peacelily_2006(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  43. I love how you tied in your own mail story in the review. Yay for your daughter!!!

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  44. How exciting for both you and your daughter. I've had this book on my wishlist for awhile now as I've read nothing but good reviews for it. Glad to hear that you enjoyed it so much!

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  45. I have heard a lot of things about this.

    katie_tp(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  46. Don't enter me, I've already bought my own copy, but I can't wait to read it! Even the cover looks wonderful!

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  47. Many thanks for the posts, tweets, congratulations, and comments. More are welcomed as always.

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  48. No need to enter me for the book; I've read it. I liked it a lot although I felt it could have been tighter.

    Congrats to your daughter!

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  49. I added this one to my must read list! I cant wait! Thank you so much for the giveaway! I have waited for a letter to be accepted into the college I currently attend and I waited patiently by the mailbox everyday at 10:30! It was hard to wait but well worth it and very exciting... I am also a follower to your blog via google..
    Thanks bunches!

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  50. elizabeth_717@live.com - contact me via e-mail!
    Thank you have an amazing day!

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  51. No need to enter me. Just wanted to say that I'm glad you enjoyed this as much as I did and congrats to your daughter! I will link to your review on War Through the Generations.

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  52. I really enjoyed this book as well. I'm still thinking about it and I read it a few weeks ago. Glad you liked it. Congrats to your daughter and no need to enter me.

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  53. I'd love to be entered in your draw. Thanks.
    wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  54. I am a follower of your blog through Google Friend Connect. wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  55. I shared this giveaway on Twitter -
    http://twitter.com/#!/lemonslippers/status/56166574368899072
    wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  56. I shared this giveaway on Facebook -
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/permalink.php?story_fbid=112003435547402&id=100000843986813
    wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  57. I'm a follower (and admirer) of your blog!
    Thanks for the chance to win this book :D
    my mail: evieseo@gmail.com

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  58. Great review! I would love to win this!

    momtodc(at)gmail(dot)com

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  59. I follow with GFC

    momtodc(at)gmail(dot)com

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  60. Thanks for the giveaway !(: Great review
    ejhtan at gmail dot com

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  61. I'm already a gfc follower ! (:
    ejhtan at gmail dot com

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  62. tweet:
    http://twitter.com/#!/tearyeyedstars/status/57257500445130752
    ejhtan at gmail dot com

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  63. One time I had to wait for an important piece of mail was when I was waiting for my university acceptances! It was so scary when other people were getting accepted and I didn't know if I was being accepted or not. However, I received my first and second choice of universities as early acceptances and I was over joyed!
    ejhtan at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete

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