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Thayer
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

I think what strikes me most about the story is the naivete' of the time.  That the Americans truly believe that "we" would stay uninvolved simply based on the promises and assurances of the government , in today's society, is quite unbelievable.

 

I also find it interesting how Americans then were so uneducated, if you will, and were happily so. It was sort of an "ignorance is bliss" type of existence.  My husband's father, a member of the 101st Airborne division, was killed in Vietnam. In his letters to his wife and family there is no mention of the chaos and hell he must have endured while on his tours of duty there.  It's as if through the normalcy and casual writing, he could somehow protect his family from conditions and situations that no one should have to endure. Perhaps this helped to keep his own demons at bay as well.

~~Dawn
Live the life you love ~ Love the life you live.
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kpatton
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

Because I am joining the discussion late in the week, I apologize if I am restating an earlier post.  I want to respond to: The book's epigraph states that "War happens to people one by one." When does the impact of the war begin to feel real to us as readers? Are we listening to Frankie's broadcasts along with Emma and Will? Did one war story from these early chapters move you more than the others?

 

The scene that made me have to put the book down and regroup before continuing on with my reading begins at the bottom of page 35 when Frankie goes to join the men at the Antiaircraft Gunnery Station.  What it must have been like to be those young soldiers.

 

In general Frankie's broadcasts have been so descriptive and emotional as I've read them.  I do feel like I am listening along with Emma and Will.

 

Kathy

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Choisya
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

Gosh, I would have thought that the descriptions of bombs dropping all around her, getting to the shelter and the bombing of the house where she lost her friend Harriet and Billy's mother was enough to involve readers in the immediacy of the war. The description of the house being torn in half by a bomb was a very poignant one for me because I saw that several times during the war.  Indeed, after a particularly heavy raid, people would go to look at such houses, all possessions shown to the world, perhaps to think 'there but for the grace of god go I'...

 

..

 


Thayer wrote:

JaneM wrote:

I think the impact of the war to me, as the reader, began with Frankie's participation at the Gunner's Battery as she observes the chaos of shelling and the return fire of the guns.  Prior mentions of the war just don't have the immediacy that is evident with the intensity of this scene.  It is at this moment that I feel Frankie has moved beyond observing and reporting to participating in the war.  To Emma the war becomes real when she hears Frankie's story of the orphaned boy.  She is ready to commit to the cause at that point.  Of course Harry feels the war much sooner as he asks Iris to lower the flag.  In this first section I think the war has not become real to Iris even though she has tacked up a map to track where the boys are (p. 44).  I still feel she is an observer to an external event.

 

 


Jane,

 

I agree with you. Frankie comments that when she is with the gunners, "there is nothing between you and the war."


 

 

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Ronrose
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

I think the true impact of war is not felt until the characters experience a personal loss.  Frankie is at first, wound up fighting a struggle to gain acceptance as a reporter,an individual and an equal in a man's world. The impact of the war is brought home when her best friend Harriet is killed in the bombing. The true horror of war is immediately brought home to her in that instant of personal grief.  The war becomes real for newlywed Emma, when her husband decides to run away to England and the war, rather than face his personal failures in Franklin. My father and mother married in 1941. My father joined the Army Air Corps and after a flight training left  for England and the war. I know that this was one of the hardest times in my mother's life. The uncertainty and ever present fear that she would never see her husband again brought home the reality of a war that until that time was only seen through the cinema or heard over the radio.  I don't feel that Iris has, in this early part of the book, truly felt the impact of the war. She is still only an observer. Certainly a concerned and aware observer, but not yet personally touched by or drawn into the true horror of war. 

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Peppermill
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

[ Edited ]

 


quiltedturtle1 wrote:

I think the author has done a good job in these chapters of showing us how the war is personal to different characters in the book through her use of the radio and Frankie's broadcasts. We see how it affects each of the characters as they listen to her. Frankie ties them all together and she also gives us a look at what is going on in England.

 

As I read the first chapters, the story caught me and I could not wait to see what happened. The death of Maggie was heart wrenching.  It is interesting that Will is leaving Emma after being married such a short time. I questioned early in the book why she was coming to town alone on the bus when they had been married only 2 weeks before.

 


 

Great juxtaposition!   I wondered the same.  If we ever got an adequate understanding, I don't remember what it was just now.

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Choisya
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

[ Edited ]

 

I think that this may be true for Americans removed from the war but you would be a sorry person if, when people in Britain were being killed all around you every day, you did not feel the impact of war.  The minute you saw the bombed out buildings, debris strewn streets, heard an air raid siren or had to walk somewhere in the blackout, you felt that impact.  Many of us did not suffer personal loss - no member of my family was killed during the war - but I felt for others then and I feel for them now.  Harry felt the impact of war as soon as he began working as a doctor in London and Frankie (and Ed Morrow) were reporting its impact daily.    

Ronrose wrote:

I think the true impact of war is not felt until the characters experience a personal loss.  Frankie is at first, wound up fighting a struggle to gain acceptance as a reporter,an individual and an equal in a man's world. The impact of the war is brought home when her best friend Harriet is killed in the bombing. The true horror of war is immediately brought home to her in that instant of personal grief.  The war becomes real for newlywed Emma, when her husband decides to run away to England and the war, rather than face his personal failures in Franklin. My father and mother married in 1941. My father joined the Army Air Corps and after a flight training left  for England and the war. I know that this was one of the hardest times in my mother's life. The uncertainty and ever present fear that she would never see her husband again brought home the reality of a war that until that time was only seen through the cinema or heard over the radio.  I don't feel that Iris has, in this early part of the book, truly felt the impact of the war. She is still only an observer. Certainly a concerned and aware observer, but not yet personally touched by or drawn into the true horror of war. 


 

 

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bookloverjb85
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

I have not been able to finish this section yet, and hope to this weekend, along with catching up on the postings.

 

I wanted to make one comment and I don't know if anyone else has mentioned this, but I am finding that I am getting the characters confused with each other.  It seems that we hop from one scene/character's life, to another and I find myself trying to catch up with where they are.  I think I am going to have to start writing down the characters and certain things about them to help me keep them in order.

I just didn't know if anyone else is having trouble with this as well.  I apologize if someone has already asked this and if it has already been addressed.

--Jen--

"A house without books is like a room without windows."--Horace Mann
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nfam
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

I too find the characters merge, but I think that's because the characters are really quite similar. I find that the war itself is the major character. All the other characters move like puppets around the war. Perhaps that is what was intended.

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reddrose
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (My thoughts)

Will is so mad at his father for not fading away after he lost everything. He holds so much resentment and guilt that maybe he came back to fix things. After losing Maggie, he runs away. Its surprizing how Emma is the strong one in that situation. I usually see her as a scared child, but she points it out to Will how he is running away.

 

I am really starting to like Iris. It was odd when she got the Dr's note, but her relationship with Harry draws me in. Her relationship and the birth of the baby girl shows me that with all the war and death there is still chances for new beginnings.

Tonya
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dkw646s
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

I found the beginning of "The Postmistress" a bit hard to get through. It starts off slowly and did not retain my attention---I had to wil myself to keep reading! While the accounts of the war were interesting, I didn't feel much emotion towards the situation. The factual reporting was more non-fiction than novel.  I also had a very difficult time relating to the characters. I would have like to see more about their lives, feelings and personalities, to better identify with their joys and hardships.

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nikc
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

When does the war feel real to each of the characters?

 

Interesting--because as I read this book, I didn't feel that the war felt real until the very end.  However, in the beginning, I think that Frankie is certain the war is real to her.  It's exciting, she's in the middle of the action, and she's trying to convey the importance of the London bombings to her listeners.  However, I don't feel at this point that she is truly connecting with the impact of war, not battle, but war--having to leave your home, your belongings, your family.   I contrast this with the war we are experiencing today in Afghanistan.  We see the car bombings, the attacks on the news, but are we truly connected to how the average Afghani lives in the midst of this chaos?

 

Perhaps the war is most real to Emma, as like the citizens of Europe, the war immediately takes away her true love.  Her husband Will, much like Frankie, is drawn to the excitement, but maybe not the reality of the war.  This book captures how the rest of life moves on, seemingly very normally, while other places in the globe are shattering around us.

 

Nichole C. Minnesota

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Choisya
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

 

For me, the book brought back memories almost from the first page and certainly as soon as the action moved to London and the Blitz.  This perhaps shows a difference between American readers here and those of us on the other side of the Pond or those whose relatives were engaged in the war.  A generation gap maybe? 
I love your observation that 'the war is most real to Emma, as like the citizens of Europe, the war immediately takes away her true love'. 

nikc wrote:

When does the war feel real to each of the characters?

 

Interesting--because as I read this book, I didn't feel that the war felt real until the very end.  However, in the beginning, I think that Frankie is certain the war is real to her.  It's exciting, she's in the middle of the action, and she's trying to convey the importance of the London bombings to her listeners.  However, I don't feel at this point that she is truly connecting with the impact of war, not battle, but war--having to leave your home, your belongings, your family.   I contrast this with the war we are experiencing today in Afghanistan.  We see the car bombings, the attacks on the news, but are we truly connected to how the average Afghani lives in the midst of this chaos?

 

Perhaps the war is most real to Emma, as like the citizens of Europe, the war immediately takes away her true love.  Her husband Will, much like Frankie, is drawn to the excitement, but maybe not the reality of the war.  This book captures how the rest of life moves on, seemingly very normally, while other places in the globe are shattering around us.

 

Nichole C. Minnesota


 

 

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T-Mo
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

[ Edited ]

 


Bonnie824 wrote:

My mother was a child in Edinburgh during the Blitz and I knew her stories about the bombing, the shelters, and being sent to the country. I did not realize that the huge majority of the bombs aimed and fell on London.

 

The story so far that touched me the most was the story of the German man Otto with his wife in a camp in France, writing her every day despite never getting a letter back.


 

Bonnie, I do have to agree, I also was very intrigued with Otto’s story. I can’t help but feel sorry for him, every time I hear something about him. The other story that really touched me was that of Billy after the bombing London kills his mother. I am still wondering what happened to him…

 

 

As for the bombs in London, Hitler implemented a plan for a series of rockets, V1- 4, which were intended to annihilate London. The V3 was like a long range gun that was supposed to fire a barrage of rockets at London from German occupied France. Fortunately, the completion of the rocket was never completed. V2 long range rockets did actually fall on London, but the Nazis were too late in their development and the tide of the war had already turned in favor of the Allies.

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Coconut_Library
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

Choisya - were you in London when the Blitz happened? I can't imagine how scary that must have been for the people who were there, and being displaced from home at night, hiding in the Underground. How horrible. 

 

I am loving this book so far. I have only made it to chapter 4, but am looking forward to getting some reading time in today. Someone earlier said that they didn't trust Iris. Maybe I am not to the part where this would make sense yet? I see no reason not to trust her. In fact, I like her and I like how Blake made a character who was so unorthodox for her time period. 

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Choisya
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

 

No CL, I lived in the Midlands thank goodness!  We were bombed a number of times though and I also saw Coventry the day after it was bombed, which was the second biggest 'blitz' of the war.  Most people in or near to the major cities used shelters of one sort or another on the nights when there were raids.  We had a shelter right outside our house and at the beginning of the war, when I was more innocent, I used to enjoy taking my dolls and teddies there to play with the other children because I was an only child.  Later, when I realised the dangers, it was not so enjoyable and I took a book instead.  
I am not sure why people might find Iris untrustworthy. She is a bit stiff and starchy but has many good points. 

Coconut_Library wrote:

Choisya - were you in London when the Blitz happened? I can't imagine how scary that must have been for the people who were there, and being displaced from home at night, hiding in the Underground. How horrible. 

 

I am loving this book so far. I have only made it to chapter 4, but am looking forward to getting some reading time in today. Someone earlier said that they didn't trust Iris. Maybe I am not to the part where this would make sense yet? I see no reason not to trust her. In fact, I like her and I like how Blake made a character who was so unorthodox for her time period. 


 

 

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Choisya
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

 

V2 long range rockets did actually fall on London.
It was the V-1s or 'doodlebugs' which were fired across the Channel onto London and they were very frightening indeed because just before they fell they suddenly went silent and people had no idea where they would land.  Here is a first hand account of them.  Apart from these the bombs which fell during the Blitz were high explosive and incendiary bombs and thousands of these were dropped in London on on most of our major cities.  Other bombs were 'butterfly bombs' which were small and looked like toys - very dangerous for children, who sometimes picked them up:smileysad:.  By May 1941, 43,000 people had been killed across Britain and more than a million were made homeless.  London was bombed for 57 consecutive days and nights - here is a first hand account of that.  Hitler was surprised by the resilience of Londoners - he had thought Brits would surrender and when they didn't he turned his attention to the invasion of Russia, possibly his biggest mistake of the war.  

T-Mo wrote:
 

As for the bombs in London, Hitler implemented a plan for a series of rockets, V1- 4, which were intended to annihilate London. The V3 was like a long range gun that was supposed to fire a barrage of rockets at London from German occupied France. Fortunately, the completion of the rocket was never completed. V2 long range rockets did actually fall on London, but the Nazis were too late in their development and the tide of the war had already turned in favor of the Allies.


 

 

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nlsamson
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

[ Edited ]

Choisya:

 

As much as I am enjoying this book (and learning so very much from it)  I find I am enjoying your comments just as much, and might I add, learning as much from your experience. 

 

Thank you

 


Choisya wrote:

 

V2 long range rockets did actually fall on London.
It was the V-1s or 'doodlebugs' which were fired across the Channel onto London and they were very frightening indeed because just before they fell they suddenly went silent and people had no idea where they would land.  Here is a first hand account of them.  Apart from these the bombs which fell during the Blitz were high explosive and incendiary bombs and thousands of these were dropped in London on on most of our major cities.  Other bombs were 'butterfly bombs' which were small and looked like toys - very dangerous for children, who sometimes picked them up:smileysad:.  By May 1941, 43,000 people had been killed across Britain and more than a million were made homeless.  London was bombed for 57 consecutive days and nights - here is a first hand account of that.  Hitler was surprised by the resilience of Londoners - he had thought Brits would surrender and when they didn't he turned his attention to the invasion of Russia, possibly his biggest mistake of the war.  

T-Mo wrote:
 

As for the bombs in London, Hitler implemented a plan for a series of rockets, V1- 4, which were intended to annihilate London. The V3 was like a long range gun that was supposed to fire a barrage of rockets at London from German occupied France. Fortunately, the completion of the rocket was never completed. V2 long range rockets did actually fall on London, but the Nazis were too late in their development and the tide of the war had already turned in favor of the Allies.


 

 


 

 

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away" - unknown
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Choisya
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

 

Thankyou very much indeed Nisamson, that is very kind of you. 

nlsamson wrote:

Choisya:

 

As much as I am enjoying this book (and learning so very much from it)  I find I am enjoying your comments just as much, and might I add, learning as much from your experience. 

 

Thank you

 

 

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BooksRPam
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

One of my favorite parts in the book is when Frankie has to tell what she has witnessed over the radio waves and how she has to gather her thoughts, wondering how she's going to actually relate what she has experienced.  When she closes her eyes and tells her story to her mother, I thought, Yes, that's exactly why Frankie is so real to me.  She's not telling her story to the world; she's telling it to an individual so that it becomes intimate and so real.

Pam
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AnnJE
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Re: Early Chapters, Fall, 1940 (1-8)

I am a little behind - just finished the first section.  I agree that war happens to people one by one and this book is a perfect example of that.  The war became real with Frankie and the deaths of the little boy's mother and Harriet.   Now it has become real to Emma as Will goes off to London.  This book is a page-turner and I am enjoying it alot.  I have always loved WWII stories.