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Paul_Hochman
Posts: 2,801
Registered: ‎03-23-2007
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First Impressions

Hi All,

 

We'll have more questions up later today, but I'm wondering what your first impressions of The Postmistress are? Can you relate to the characters and the story?

 

Remember some of us are keeping to the schedule, so watch those spoilers.

Scribe
DSaff
Posts: 2,048
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: First Impressions

My first impressions are totally positive!  Sarah Blake made the war and its characters come alive. I have read a lot about WW II and the stories that are most interesting are those that bring personal impact to me. When Billy's mother and Harriet were killed during a bombing, my heart broke. As it did when Maggie died. I have stopped at the end of the first section simply to keep to the schedule. The book makes me want to read on!!

 

I also love her writing style. The imagery is fantastic. One of my favorites is on page 37, "Now the shells slammed again and again into the sky above, and the shrapnel from the guns clattered down on the rooftops, like clog dancers without a song." I could hear that. Thank you Sarah, for your book! There is so much more to say, but I will stop here.

 

 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
Distinguished Wordsmith
Carmenere_lady
Posts: 529
Registered: ‎11-05-2006

Re: First Impressions

[ Edited ]

I ditto much of what Donna pointed out but I would like to add two other impressions I got while reading the first section.

 

She, so effortlessly, slipped me into 1940.  The bus ride from Boston to small town America, the nostalgic look into a doctors office, post office and movie theatre seemed very Norman Rockwell.  Her understanding of time and space is really at work here. In my opinion, very good juxtaposition against the Blitz in London.

One thing I have not gotten use to is Sarah's abrupt changes of scene.  I have often had to go back a few lines to adjust myself to the current location in the story.  Perhaps this is a technique she uses to indicate how quickly things can change.  Something I'll be asking her when she joins us.

Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
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Suetj
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: First Impressions

I am in total agreement about the Norman Rockwell aspect and for me it makes it so relatable.  Historical novels have such appeal when you can almost put yourself inside the story and feel it the way the characters are feeling it.  I also have to say I was so intrigued before starting to read it by the question posed-What if a letter was not delivered?  It is what drew me to this novel.

Inspired Correspondent
Amanda-Louise
Posts: 156
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: First Impressions

 I love this book before I even open it!  The colours are gorgeous - my fingers tingle with anticipation as I hold it.  I'm feeling very possessive and protective and I've not even started to read!  And, I don't even want to begin knowing that it will be that much closer to it's end.  Flipping through the pages quickly, I notice divisions similar to UTUS - by seasons.  I find this interesting.

 

As I read the first few chapters, I ended up really disappointed, but this quickly turned around for me.  I'll get into that once the questions are posted.  I had trouble relating to the characters at first and I had a lot of trouble with the lack of space between scene changes.  More on all this later.....

 

Amanda

New User
Janet117
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎09-01-2009

Re: First Impressions

Hi,

This is my first First Look experience.  It may also turn out to be the first time I learn how to use a discussion group website!  I certainly hope so.  I have already violated the "rules" by reading the book in advance, I haven't finished it yet but almost.  I am going to go back to the beginning and start reading and if I figure out how to use this website and follow the contribute to a discussion, you will be hearing more from me.  My first impression of the book is that this author is quite accomplished.  I am particularly taken with her sentence structure which is often very spare and packs quite a punch with few words.  I admire that.  I am enjoying the characters but would like to hear more from Iris.  Frankie is not as developed for me as a character but she seems to be getting all the action.  The imagery is lovely, the dialog rings true and the scene setting is generally flawless but I agree that scenes sometimes change too quickly.  I'll keep reading and trying to use this site!  Janet117

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dhaupt
Posts: 11,839
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: First Impressions

Good morning everyone and Happy Monday!!!

I am reading on schedule and I found it hard to put down, I wanted to know what happened after Will left and I wanted to learn about Harry and Iris and Frankie and the list goes on.

I really like her writing style so far, it's very prosy and it has that 1940's feel to it. The characters are memorable and so real that you empathize with all of their struggles.

I love Frankie and how she is so in touch with her feminine side while in a totally man's world, I love how her humanity shows through her reporting and I like that it's her who's telling the story.

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dhaupt
Posts: 11,839
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: First Impressions

 


Janet117 wrote:

Hi,

This is my first First Look experience.  It may also turn out to be the first time I learn how to use a discussion group website!  I certainly hope so.  I have already violated the "rules" by reading the book in advance, I haven't finished it yet but almost.  I am going to go back to the beginning and start reading and if I figure out how to use this website and follow the contribute to a discussion, you will be hearing more from me.  My first impression of the book is that this author is quite accomplished.  I am particularly taken with her sentence structure which is often very spare and packs quite a punch with few words.  I admire that.  I am enjoying the characters but would like to hear more from Iris.  Frankie is not as developed for me as a character but she seems to be getting all the action.  The imagery is lovely, the dialog rings true and the scene setting is generally flawless but I agree that scenes sometimes change too quickly.  I'll keep reading and trying to use this site!  Janet117


 

 

Hi Janet, you did not violate any rules by reading the book in advance of the discussion. We all have found our own rhythm when it comes to this club and some like to read the whole book and go back like you're doing.

And I like what you have to say about the book.

Happy reading!!

 

Your fellow first looker

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pattycakeMN
Posts: 24
Registered: ‎08-31-2009
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Re: First Impressions

I am really enjoying the book, and Sarah's style of writing.  I think her abrupt change's are unique and reminds me of how my own mind works sometimes, and I like it !!

 

The scene where Billy's Mother died was so poignant and brought tears to my eyes.

 

I am so glad my sister told me about this book club and book.

 

Patricia

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Baileys_and_Books
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎08-31-2009
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Re: First Impressions

While I am a little head of schedule (and hoping to finish up the book this week because of other reading and such on my plate) I will confine my discussion to my first impressions and up to Chapter 9.

 

I am truly enjoying this book and Blake's use language. While at first some of the blending of scene as a transition point was a little jarring, I fell into the flow and think that this is an interesting way to transition.

 

The build to the characters at some points is a little slow - sometimes I just want to jump in to it. But this really works in this sense as I feel that none of the characters are all right in your face with their personalities.

 

I can't wait to get back in to this book today, and looking forward to discussing with you all.

~Tam

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laurajzzz
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎09-03-2009
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Re: First Impressions

I love the whole look of the cover,  it reminds me of that 1940's time period.   I was very much impressed with the writing style of the author,  the imagery,  the details makes me fell like I am back in 1940.   The first 3 chapters were easy to follow along as the story changes between the characters,   the 4th chapter is where I had to re-read several times as the abrupt character changes confused me a bit.    I also had the same questions as Emma did - what happened to Billy? and then the story doesn't go back to Frankie at all.  Overall can't wait to see what happens next as Will goes off to London for the war.

 

Laura

Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006

Re: First Impressions

My first impressions were being impressed by the moral and emotional strength of these characters... There are so many strong characters ...  Frankie, Will,  Iris ... they're captivating and believable... In the first chapter, I felt Iris' intensity during the medical exam.  I  was immediately curious about her. In just a few broad strokes, the author made her so fascinating to me that I wanted to learn everything about what motivates her.

 

The author writes with great immediacy... she  quickly made Frankie alive and believable. There is such an urgency to Frankie's story. I feel as if I'm right next to her as she travels through war-torn London.

 

I'm so involved with this story, and I've only read the first chapter. This is going to be wonderful experience.

 

IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Reader
Bonn-ie
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎09-02-2009
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Re: First Impressions

I had a hard time with the first two chapters but now further into the book I am really enjoying it! I love the setting and the characters are interesting once you get a better sense of who they are.

Frequent Contributor
blue2280
Posts: 33
Registered: ‎12-22-2007

Re: First Impressions

Amanda-

 

I think I understand where you are coming from. My first impressions were basically the same as yours. The book is lovely in terms of the appearance and the colors they use on the cover give a wonderful impression of the time it is set in. I think it is a great depiction of London during the Blitz. The background colors are the misty grays of war, a result of repeated bombings and destruction, leaving the city buried in its own dust and rubble. Yet the bright flower on the front represents those bright spots of people, of life, still surviving and going on in the face of such horrific events, refusing to give in. Maybe I am reading in to it too much:smileyhappy:

 

When I started reading the book, I found that it took me some time to get into it. I had to adjust to the way that it was written, the flow of thought, how it was worded. I thought that it was very choppy with a lot of short sentences, and I found myself repeatedly rereading passages because of this. I think it gets better as the book progresses and I started to appreciate it more because even though this book is written in the third person mainly, I still felt like I was in the three main characters heads, hearing them think and understanding what they were feeling. I will even agree with Janet117 that her sentence structure does start to "pack a punch" and leaves the reader with big impressions using so few words. I also found the scene transitions to be jarring. In one sentence the reader is "here" and then in the next sentence (or two) the reader is "there". I think that some transition were done better than others, but they would still make me stop, go back, read again, to make sure I was following the story properly.

 

On another note, I think that the author did a beautiful job in portraying life on both sides of the Atlantic during a time that would be so incomprehensible to either side. "How can you sit over there and do nothing?" versus "Why would we want to get ourselves involved when it is not our fight".  In the end, we knew it was not just a fight for an American, a fight for an Englishman, a fight for the right for a religion (and people) to exist, but a fight for our own humanity as a whole against such unthinkable evil. In this book you are able to feel the tension, the fear, that sat behind the everyday life of America as it stepped closer and closer to the inevitable, while you are also able to feel the tenacity of the English to pick up and move on, day after day as they came above ground again each morning.

 

So those are the first impressions that stood out as being bad, good, or otherwise. I could probably go on and on about it and I will say I have finished the book and loved it. I am going to reread it according to the schedule so that it will be fresh in my mind and I also don't want to give anything away by jumping ahead. So I apologize if this post got a little long... :smileyhappy: Looking forward to the rest of the discussions...

 

 

Nikki

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boadiccea
Posts: 20
Registered: ‎09-03-2009
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Re: First Impressions

Hiya,

 

Well, as I excitedly opened the box containing my book, I was immediately in love with the colors chosen for the cover art.  The macro photo of a purple dried rose on top of the post is beautiful.  The uneven page cuts are neat, too. I've always liked texture as well as art in my books.

 

I read the little letter inside by Amy Einhorn, feeling all excited that I was going to be a part of this discussion.

 

I turned the page to where the publishing info is noted...and saw a typo right away.  Where it should say "AMY EINHORN BOOKS" it actually says "AMR EINHORN BOOKS"

 

I suppose that ought to be fixed. :smileyhappy:

 

As to first impressions of the actual meat of the story:  so far, I'm loving it.  Having a hard time putting it down.  The characters have all come out in sharp relief, giving an immediate idea of who they are as people.  This is a good way to start.

 

More as we get rolling in the discussion.

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maryfrancesa
Posts: 57
Registered: ‎10-29-2006
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Re: First Impressions

I agree with what was written, She held my attention and I felt that I was present in the city and in England.

It was sometimes difficult to follow with the change between scence england and america. 

Reader
shannylover
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: First Impressions

Good morning!  This is my first time doing a First Look discussion.  I did not know the rules either so I have read the book since I thought it was suppose to be done by October 5th which just happens to be my birthday!  I won't give away any details but I want to say it was a wonderful book.  Not normally my style but kept my entertained and wondering until the final page.  I can't wait until the questions are put out and we can really get into the details of the book.  Thank you for having wonderful projects like this for us to participate in!

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quiltedturtle1
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎09-02-2009
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Re: First Impressions

I am really enjoying the book. This is the first time I have participated in First Read. Can anyone tell me where we find the reading schedule that people are referring to? I cannot find it anywhere and it did not say anything in the letter that was included with the book.

 

Thanks!

Cathy

Correspondent
bibanon1
Posts: 55
Registered: ‎03-10-2009

Re: First Impressions

At first, I thought this would simply be another take on the GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY subject matter but I was wrong. Although there are some similiarities, I love how this book crosses back and forth across the Atlantic and how the radio ties all the storylines together.  It is great so far!!!

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Paul_Hochman
Posts: 2,801
Registered: ‎03-23-2007
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Re: First Impressions

 


quiltedturtle1 wrote:

I am really enjoying the book. This is the first time I have participated in First Read. Can anyone tell me where we find the reading schedule that people are referring to? I cannot find it anywhere and it did not say anything in the letter that was included with the book.

 

Thanks!

Cathy


 

 

Here it is:

 

 

10/5 to 10/30: General Discussion Begins

Fall, 1940: Chapters 1 - 8

 

10/12 to 10/30: Sarah Blake Joins the Group


10/12 to 10/16: Amy Einhorn, Publisher and Sarah's Editor Joins the Group

Winter, 1941: Chapters 9 - 17

 

10/19 Sarah Blake Continues with the Group.

Summer, 1941: Chapters 18 - 28, and Whole Novel.

 

10/26 Sarah Blake Continues with the Group.

Final Thoughts