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kpatton
Posts: 206
Registered: ‎11-27-2006
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Re: Final Thoughts

 

I also fell behind on the reading only because of an unexpected busy time.  I wanted to get back to the book.  I very much enjoyed this book and am recommending it to my friends.  I didn't read any synopsys or book jacket so just read and enjoyed the story.  I have recently read several books written with WWII as the time frame and this is at the top of my list.
I also felt that the train scene where Frankie is pounding on the train window trying to reconnect the mother and child and ultimately causing Thomas' death, a scene that continue to stay with me.
Great book.
Kathy

RS18 wrote:

I fell behind on the reading, so I wasn't able to participate as much in the middle of the discussion. It took me a while to get into this book. I don't think I would have continued to read it if it wasn't for this book club. This month has been a very busy one for me, so that must play a factor as well. But I'm glad I continued reading the book. It was actually a good book that I enjoyed. I'm usually not interested in books from this time period, but this book has changed my mind. I will be recommending it to my friends and colleagues.


 

 

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Murphy64
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎09-02-2009

Re: Final Thoughts

Overall, I would have to give the book three starts out of five.  I enjoyed parts of the book and really got into Frankie's character, but found myself board with the other parts.  Some of the charaters, I felt, needed more of a personality.  After saying this, the things I will remember most are when the little boy and Frankie went back to their neighborhood and the little boy's mother died and I will always remember Frankie.  Loved the idea of the story, I just felt that it could have had more "meat" in the book.

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bud12
Posts: 52
Registered: ‎01-26-2009
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Re: Final Thoughts

Although I have not as yet finished reading this book, I was so deeply moved by the scene when Frankie was on the train with the mother who courageously left her son on the train while she stepped off. The description of this moment moved me to tears:

.

"In the passageway, she turned and held her finger to her mouth, as if to say shh, and then kissed her fingers to him and was gone. For a single long moment, the boy stood where his mother had left him, stood staring at the compartment door through which his mother had vanished.

   The recording needle would have cut this silent line of heartbreak into the disk. And what it had cost the mother, that last smile that she gave, the last comfort so that her boy could pass through that final moment, no one would ever know."... 

 

 

Jo
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Lil_Irish_Lass
Posts: 163
Registered: ‎11-21-2008
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Re: Final Thoughts


liisa22 wrote:

 


Immortal-Spirit wrote:

 


Zia01 wrote:

I've been waiting for this thread for a long time because what I'm am getting ready to say has been bugging me since I read the book and there never has been a good spot to discuss it.

 

I would have enjoyed this book so much more if the jacket blurb and even the synopsis on this website, hadn't been so misleading.

 

Here's the B&N synopsis:

 

Filled with stunning parallels to today's world, The Postmistress is a sweeping novel about the loss of innocence of two extraordinary women-and of two countries torn apart by war.
On the eve of the United State's entrance into World War II in 1940, Iris James, the postmistress of Franklin, a small town on Cape Cod, does the unthinkable: She doesn't deliver a letter. (this doesn't even happen until Pg 243 in 1941 near the end of the book)In London, American radio gal Frankie Bard is working with Edward R. Murrow, reporting on the Blitz. One night in a bomb shelter, she meets a doctor from Cape Cod with a letter in his pocket, a letter Frankie vows to deliver when she returns from Germany and France, where she is to record the stories of war refugees desperately trying to escape. (This makes it sound as if she is granting a dying wish from Will. Once you read the book this is found to be inaccurate.)
The residents of Franklin think the war can't touch them- but as Frankie's radio broadcasts air, some know that the war is indeed coming. And when Frankie arrives at their doorstep, the two stories collide in a way no one could have foreseen. The Postmistress is an unforgettable tale of the secrets we must bear, or bury. It is about what happens to love during wartime, when those we cherish leave. And how every story-of love or war-is about looking left when we should have been looking right.

 

But what bugged me the most more than anything is the assumption the reader is led to believe about Iris taking the letter. The blurb and the jacket both make you think it's the main plot line of the book. In reality it is not. I spent the entire book looking for this letter and wondering what the heck it had to do with anything in the story. If I hadn't been given the wrong impression, I would have really enjoyed this book.

 

I thought I was being overly sensitive to it but a friend who also read for this book club felt the same exact thing. She kept waiting for the plot to happen.


 

I have to agree.  When the letter was finally not delivered, it was an anti-climax.

 


 

Add me to agree.  I was left more with disappointment than adoration.

 


 

Liisa22 - same with me, there is a lot that is lacking in this novel and many more aspects that fall completely short of my expectations after reading the description. Though I will admit that even if the description were true to the novel I still wouldn't have liked it. This is a book I would have picked up for the jacket, opened up for the description, and put back on the shelf after flipping through a few pages.

 

As always I'm appreciative of the First Look experience and I don't expect to love all of the selections. I didn't completely hate Postmistress, I just didn't particularly enjoy it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"No sensible man ever engages, unprepared, in a fencing match of words with a woman." - The Woman in White
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quiltedturtle1
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎09-02-2009
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Re: Final Thoughts

There were several scenes in the book that really effected me. The scenes with Frankie on the train are some of the most memorable. Iris chopping down the flag pole is another one since she has been in such control throughout the whole story until this point.

 

Thank you to B&N and to Sarah for allowing us to pre-read this book. It is one that I will certainly recommend to my friends and family.

 

Thanks.....

Cathy

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blue2280
Posts: 33
Registered: ‎12-22-2007

Re: Final Thoughts

Zia-

 

Even though I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book...I must say I agree with you about how the title and synopsis and everything else about the book leads you to think that this would have had much earlier in the story. I kept waiting and waiting and waiting for this mysterious letter to go undelivered by Iris, and when it finally happens, it is relatively close to the end of the book. AND, what also bothers me is that, Frankie also has a letter she never delivers, so this isn't just about a Postmistress that didn't deliver a letter, there were two letters that were not delivered to Emma. Although, I would say the big difference is that it was Iris's job to deliver her letter, but Frankie was not obligated in anyway to do so, she was doing it because she thought it was the right thing, and in the end, did Emma really need to know how happy Will was in London, away from her? Probably not.

 

But I am assuming (not always the best thing to do but oh well...) that the book was titled The Postmistress because Iris's actions would be more egregious than Frankie's, yet I feel like this was more Frankie's book than Iris's or Emma's as well. Perhaps it should have been title "The Journalist" :smileyhappy:. I think that if the undelivered letter hadn't been played so hard as the main event in this book, the story would have spilled out much more fluidily and not left me waiting and waiting and waiting for this letter to go undelivered, which should have spurred some bigger plot points than it actually did. It was very anti-climatic, and to me, in then end, it was like...so what...

 

I still really liked the story, I am a huge fan of historical fiction, and WWII is always a fascinating time for me. I would have probably picked up this book anyways based on this alone.

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retromom
Posts: 113
Registered: ‎02-02-2008
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Re: Final Thoughts

That is exactly how I felt too blue! I wonder if we would have enjoyed the book more if we had not read the book jacket description? The description almost made me think of the letter as a character almost. It really didn't seem all that important at the end. The war and the reporting seemed to play a much larger role in the story than the letter did. In the end it was a good story just not what I was expecting.

Beth

http://bookaholicmom.blogspot.com/
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Zia01
Posts: 187
Registered: ‎08-08-2009
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Re: Final Thoughts

 


blue2280 wrote:

Zia-

 

Even though I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book...I must say I agree with you about how the title and synopsis and everything else about the book leads you to think that this would have had much earlier in the story. I kept waiting and waiting and waiting for this mysterious letter to go undelivered by Iris, and when it finally happens, it is relatively close to the end of the book. AND, what also bothers me is that, Frankie also has a letter she never delivers, so this isn't just about a Postmistress that didn't deliver a letter, there were two letters that were not delivered to Emma. Although, I would say the big difference is that it was Iris's job to deliver her letter, but Frankie was not obligated in anyway to do so, she was doing it because she thought it was the right thing, and in the end, did Emma really need to know how happy Will was in London, away from her? Probably not.

 

But I am assuming (not always the best thing to do but oh well...) that the book was titled The Postmistress because Iris's actions would be more egregious than Frankie's, yet I feel like this was more Frankie's book than Iris's or Emma's as well. Perhaps it should have been title "The Journalist" :smileyhappy:. I think that if the undelivered letter hadn't been played so hard as the main event in this book, the story would have spilled out much more fluidily and not left me waiting and waiting and waiting for this letter to go undelivered, which should have spurred some bigger plot points than it actually did. It was very anti-climatic, and to me, in then end, it was like...so what...

 

I still really liked the story, I am a huge fan of historical fiction, and WWII is always a fascinating time for me. I would have probably picked up this book anyways based on this alone.


 

Exactly!  I really feel as if Frankie is the main character in this book and then Emma and Will, following with Iris.

 

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mediamissy
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎08-06-2009
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Re: Final Thoughts

Hi All,


My final thoughts....

 

First, I want the that Sarah for a wonderful novel that has been a joy to read.  I also want to thank all of the people who have posted such honest and heartfelt postings.  I have enjoyed the book and passed along the idea to our book club to read it when it is released. 

For me, the scene that stays in my mind is the one of Frankie on the train, watching the little boy say goodbye to his mother.  Vivid images still come to mind as I think of the strength it would take as a mother to let your child go in the hopes of them finding their freedom.  The bitterness of the moment and yet for such a selfless act.  The feelings in the story seemed so raw, so real, and I was impacted deeply.

 

What a wonderful reading experience.

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bookowlie
Posts: 177
Registered: ‎04-15-2008
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Re: Final Thoughts

Good points!  I also thought the book was much less about Iris that about Frankie's experiences overseas and seeing the war and the plight of the Jews through Frankie's eyes.  You brought up a good point that maybe the book should have been had a different title other than The Postmistress. I thought the letter was not even close to being the main event in the story.

 

 


blue2280 wrote:

Zia-

 

Even though I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book...I must say I agree with you about how the title and synopsis and everything else about the book leads you to think that this would have had much earlier in the story. I kept waiting and waiting and waiting for this mysterious letter to go undelivered by Iris, and when it finally happens, it is relatively close to the end of the book. AND, what also bothers me is that, Frankie also has a letter she never delivers, so this isn't just about a Postmistress that didn't deliver a letter, there were two letters that were not delivered to Emma. Although, I would say the big difference is that it was Iris's job to deliver her letter, but Frankie was not obligated in anyway to do so, she was doing it because she thought it was the right thing, and in the end, did Emma really need to know how happy Will was in London, away from her? Probably not.

 

But I am assuming (not always the best thing to do but oh well...) that the book was titled The Postmistress because Iris's actions would be more egregious than Frankie's, yet I feel like this was more Frankie's book than Iris's or Emma's as well. Perhaps it should have been title "The Journalist" :smileyhappy:. I think that if the undelivered letter hadn't been played so hard as the main event in this book, the story would have spilled out much more fluidily and not left me waiting and waiting and waiting for this letter to go undelivered, which should have spurred some bigger plot points than it actually did. It was very anti-climatic, and to me, in then end, it was like...so what...

 

I still really liked the story, I am a huge fan of historical fiction, and WWII is always a fascinating time for me. I would have probably picked up this book anyways based on this alone.


 

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JaneM
Posts: 152
Registered: ‎02-01-2008

Re: Final Thoughts

I agree with others that the inside front cover is misleading as is the title.  It clearly states Iris is the postmistress, but in some of our discussion topics we have heard that Iris is in fact the Postmaster, intimating that Frankie is the postmistress.  But in the first chapter written by Frankie, she called herself the postmistress who does not deliver the letter which in turn becomes the story of her time in the war and in Franklin.  This is contradictory and misleading for those who rely on such things to lead them through the narrative.

 

However, personally, I had forgotton both of those things, and just jumped into the story feet first and really enjoyed it.  I enjoyed the characters, the pathos, descriptions and ultimately felt the resolution was satisfying.  My thanks to Sarah and B&N for the reading experience.

Jane M.
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JerseyAngel
Posts: 168
Registered: ‎03-18-2009

Re: Final Thoughts

I just finished the book last night. I struggled through this FL selection. The idea was one I enjoyed but the story itself just didn't capture my attention. There was so much back & forth between characters that I almost felt like I didn't truly get to know them. Relationships were vaguely discussed but you never really got to understand the true depth of them or their meaning. I didn't give up, hoping for an ending that would make it all worthwhile but I was left disappointed there also. We never got to witness the birth of Emma's baby, the outcome of the recorded voices, and Iris was left a shattered mess by Harry's death. The only thing that truely seemed to be resolved in the end was Emma learning of her husband's death. In the end I was left a little frustrated & disappointed.

 

I hate to be so negative, I have enoyed all of the previous FL selections very much! I am glad so many enjoyed this one. I guess it just wasn't for me.

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Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
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Re: Final Thoughts

[ Edited ]

 


JaneM wrote:

I agree with others that the inside front cover is misleading as is the title.  It clearly states Iris is the postmistress, but in some of our discussion topics we have heard that Iris is in fact the Postmaster, intimating that Frankie is the postmistress.  But in the first chapter written by Frankie, she called herself the postmistress who does not deliver the letter which in turn becomes the story of her time in the war and in Franklin.  This is contradictory and misleading for those who rely on such things to lead them through the narrative.

 

However, personally, I had forgotten both of those things, and just jumped into the story feet first and really enjoyed it.  I enjoyed the characters, the pathos, descriptions and ultimately felt the resolution was satisfying.  My thanks to Sarah and B&N for the reading experience.


 

 

It seems to me that one of the questions avant-garde 21st century writers pose is "what can or should we rely upon?"  While I found Sarah solidly in the modernist camp of writing, I felt as if there were places where she experimented with and introduced some techniques perhaps a bit uncomfortable for many of us, i.e., outside the methods we are accustomed to encountering in a contemporary novel. 

 

I say that just coming from several weeks study of Language and other late century Poets, who have rather challenged many of my preconceived ideas about how we process, absorb, and do or do not assign meaning to information.  So, my viewpoint on the subject is acknowledgedly skewed.

"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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Ronrose
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎03-24-2009
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Re: Final Thoughts

I think one of the most powerful scenes occurs when Thomas is shot in front of Frankie.  It is a very emotional and hard hitting. I am sure it will stay with me for some time. I would also like to agree with some of the other readers, that the book cover needs some more thought. While the current cover is very striking and draws the attention, it does not give a very well rounded impression of what is happening in the book or when the action takes place. I am of the opinion that both Iris and Frankie could be interpreted as postmistresses, because they were both entrusted to deliver important messages.

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maryfrancesa
Posts: 57
Registered: ‎10-29-2006
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Re: Final Thoughts

I too really liked the book and the story.  It kept me interested in the story.  I think the most endearing stories were about the war and Frankie's train ride through Germany.  I saw war through someone's elses eyes. Almost like  the present with the news constantly showing Iraq and Afghanistan's?.

Distinguished Wordsmith
MSaff
Posts: 272
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Final Thoughts

  Hello All,

 

  My final thoughts on this novel, expand a wide range of thoughts.  First of all, this story has a lot of historical background which I believe brought out a very thought provoking story to ponder.  Sarah Blake has really done her homework, when researching, and the way she brought her characters to life was astounding. 

  We tend to forget the past, and everyone once and a while, we need to be brought back in time, to jog our memories.  Sure many of us were not born prior to or during World War II, but as we learned in school, many terrible things happened and we at times need to be reminded of them, so that hopefully we do not repeat our mistakes. 

  I have to say that each of the characters holds a different spot in my mind and heart.  The characters were alive, throughout the novel.  I especially felt for Otto.  He was separated from his wife and country, and persecuted here, just because who he appeared to be. 

  Frankie was probably my favorite character.  She didn't take no for an answer and felt it her duty to get the story of the war out.  I believe her goal was to let the people in the United States know exactly what was happening.  Too often as a result of being a distance away from what is going on, we tend to forget those who are actually in the middle of terrible circumstances.  "War Is Hell", and indeed it is. 

  The non delivery of mail is unforgivable.  Iris had a duty to deliver any and all mail to their respective addresses, yet she in her order and duty, failed to do so.  Not wanting to hurt Emma was no reason for the non delivery.  It may have cushioned the blow when Emma actually found out the Will had died.  Frankie not delivering Will's letter to Emma from London was another situation which could have been different.  If Frankie had delivered that letter to Emma, Emma would have known that Will was not alone when he died.  She would have known that Frankie was there.  Just because Frankie found herself becoming friends with Emma was no reason for not letting Emma know when and how Will had died. 

 

  Anyway those are just my thoughts.  I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. 

 

 

 

 

Mike
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss
http://travelswithcarsandbooks.blogspot.com/
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Popper19
Posts: 199
Registered: ‎07-24-2007
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Re: Final Thoughts


nbmars wrote:

I think the scene that will stick with me the most is when Frankie unwittingly drew attention to Thomas.


 

Yes nbmars I agree that this is the scene that lingers for me too. 

 

 I do also agree with what the previous posters have said regarding the jacket blurb and synopsis being misleading.  I coudn't put my finger on it before and I haven't had much time to participate in this discussion, but I think this is why the book seemed disjointed to me -- I was always waiting for something that I thought was going to happen from what I had read about the book beforehand.

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nlsamson
Posts: 104
Registered: ‎03-18-2009
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Re: Final Thoughts

Debbie:

 

That's the scene that sticks with me too.  I know it happened to people, I understand the reasoning behind it, but I just can't imagine the pain involved.  It broke my heart!  

 

I have to say, because of the range of emotion, this may very well be my favorite of the First Looks's I've been fortunate enough to read.

 

 


dhaupt wrote:

As a final thought I just want to say again how much I really enjoyed this read. Sarah put me through a whole scale of emotions reading this book.

 

I think the scene that will stay with me the most is the one on the train where the mother says good-bye to her son. It was so poignant and heartbreaking and it still makes my heart hurt when I think about it.

 


 

 

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away" - unknown
Contributor
michaelsjlrc
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎04-22-2008

Re: Final Thoughts

Wow Zia, you nailed what I was feeling exactly. I've struggled with this book and how to discuss it because while I didn't dislike it, I had a lot of issues with it.  The issues that I had never seemed to be appropriate to discuss in the earlier discussion posts, (and I've been extremely busy this month and so haven't done a good job keeping up with peoples' posts).  I was optimistic in the early section, enjoyed the middle section, but spent the whole middle section wondering about the letter, and hated the ending.  Harry's death just seemed completely wrong to me and we weren't left with any hope - no baby being born, no Iris moving on with her life, no conclusions for Frankie or Otto. I really didn't like the way everything just stopped and you didn't have any sort of feeling that life would go on for these characters.  I agree with some of the other posts that maybe if it had been marketed differently it would have impacted my feelings about it a little, but I still don't like the ending.  Thanks to B&N for the chance to participate though.

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Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Final Thoughts

 

I too feel that Frankie's role was that of the main character. And that's why I still think that Frankie was the Postmistress.

Zia01 wrote:

 


blue2280 wrote:

Zia-

 

Even though I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book...I must say I agree with you about how the title and synopsis and everything else about the book leads you to think that this would have had much earlier in the story. I kept waiting and waiting and waiting for this mysterious letter to go undelivered by Iris, and when it finally happens, it is relatively close to the end of the book. AND, what also bothers me is that, Frankie also has a letter she never delivers, so this isn't just about a Postmistress that didn't deliver a letter, there were two letters that were not delivered to Emma. Although, I would say the big difference is that it was Iris's job to deliver her letter, but Frankie was not obligated in anyway to do so, she was doing it because she thought it was the right thing, and in the end, did Emma really need to know how happy Will was in London, away from her? Probably not.

 

But I am assuming (not always the best thing to do but oh well...) that the book was titled The Postmistress because Iris's actions would be more egregious than Frankie's, yet I feel like this was more Frankie's book than Iris's or Emma's as well. Perhaps it should have been title "The Journalist" :smileyhappy:. I think that if the undelivered letter hadn't been played so hard as the main event in this book, the story would have spilled out much more fluidily and not left me waiting and waiting and waiting for this letter to go undelivered, which should have spurred some bigger plot points than it actually did. It was very anti-climatic, and to me, in then end, it was like...so what...

 

I still really liked the story, I am a huge fan of historical fiction, and WWII is always a fascinating time for me. I would have probably picked up this book anyways based on this alone.


 

Exactly!  I really feel as if Frankie is the main character in this book and then Emma and Will, following with Iris.