The Postmistress takes place in wartime London and in Franklin, a small town in Massachusetts. The year is 1940, America is yet to join the war and London is under nightly seige from German bombers.
Frankie is an American reporter in London, broadcasting back to America on the horrors of the blitz, desperate to make her compatriots care and want to do something to help. Listening to her daily on the radio are the people of Franklin; including Dr Will Fitch and his new wife Emma, and Iris, the postmistress. The story centres around these characters, their separate and connected lives and the effects of war.
As the postmistress, Iris is the anchor of the community. Every letter passes through her hands and she considers it her duty to ensure order is maintained and the information is dispersed correctly. This becomes even more important as the community gradually becomes involved in the war.
The information that people have access to and what they choose to do with it is an important part of the story and a question asked of the reader as well I thought – is ignorance bliss? What responsibility do we have to not turn a blind eye and when is it kinder to leave well alone?
The story is not without its traumatic scenes but even so I would describe it as a pleasant read – I struggled a little to really get into it which was a shame. It was nice to read but from the title and the blurb on the back I was hoping to be totally engrossed – that didn’t quite happen unfortunately.
The Postmistress is on Richard and Judy’s current bookclub choices – I look forward to other people’s thoughts on it.
2010, 336 pages