Nicole Tipton

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake: A Review

At the approach of WWII, President Franklin D. Roosevelt promises America they will not go to war and that it is up to the Europeans to figure things out on their own. Out of this promise comes a certain uneasiness that begins to slowly spread through America. This story follows two such Americans, Will Fitch, a doctor from Cape Cod, and Frankie Bard, a CBS reporter from New York City. Both decide they must do something about this war; whether through good willed intentions or the result of tragic repercussions. Frankie decides she is going to bring the war to America, whether they want to face it or not, and Will believes the only thing that makes sense for him is to tend to the countless victims of the London Blitz even if this means leaving his newlywed behind. Though they are from two different towns and are on two different missions, somehow they are brought together and they both learn that things happen the way they should and that fate has a strange way of bringing people together.

WWII brings about certain ideas; visions of soldiers dying, bombs flying, and living skeletons walking around in concentration camps but I have hardly read anything about the rest of the war. What happened to the civilians attacked nightly by bombs and the ill fated Jews before the camps were, for most, their final destination? I haven’t read anything about before America jumped into the mix; when they were able to easily ignore the war and the London Blitz that was in full swing. Not a single story about the reporters that came into America’s homes each night bringing scenes that just did not seem real, about the postmasters whose job it was to deliver both the bad and the good news and the desperate Jews fleeing Germany as fast as they could manage. One book, Sarah Blake’s the Postmistress, has brought all these stories to life. She has managed to show readers what life was like before Pearl Harbor and what we as American’s were intent on  ignoring; the truth.

It is hard to hear how America was reacting to the war in Europe and even harder to hear how we were reacting to the endless refugees that just wanted to escape a hopeless situation. It seems we were more focused on a quiet life and summer vacations while the rest of the world wondered if they would make it through the night. Blake sheds light on the truth of America’s purposeful ignorance of the war; things the history books in school quickly and quietly skip over. How can we as Americans, as human beings, just ignore the countless deaths that happened every day so we could just stay comfortable? Yes, this book is political but what I feel that is more important than any of that is what Blake brings to all this madness, humanity. She shows how the lives of everyone, even those lives that are easily forgettable are all connected. How it is our purpose in life to help other people no matter what their situation or who they may be.

Frankie becomes fixated on helping the Jews and shedding light on what America is doing to these people by shutting them out. She does all of this because she realizes that if she does not tell their story no one will and then it will be too late for them. Will brings his skills to the war because he knows he can help people that desperately need it and through this his wrongs will be righted. Life is complicated and even more so during a war but there is something we have when there seems like there is nothing else and that is our compassion. This is what Blake is saying. She is telling readers that even through the explosions, the running, the hiding and the deaths, we still have our humanity; our ability to care and watch over those in need simply because they are in need. If you are looking for a book with real feels, look no further. The Postmistress will definitely tug at all your heart strings.

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