10-05-2009 11:19 AM
Well, first let me say I was nervous that I hadn't finished the novel yet and realized where the schedule was posted. So I am on track. My first impressions of The Postmistress were in tune with what most people have posted already. First, as I was reading I realized the book took place before I was born so I was concerned that I might not get into the book as quickly or understand where the characters were coming from but Sarah Blake did a phenomenal job of creating the environment so that I felt like I was wisked back in time. I totally found myself, (from what I have heard and read) back during the war.
As far as the characters are concerned, so far I find them very relatable. I love when I read a book and I have a vision of what the characters look like in my mind, although most often very different from friends who read the same book. Also, that sense that you know some of the characters. For me, as the reader I felt like I was a member of the town of Franklin looking on.
The premise of the book also intrigues me, for although I haven't read anything other than Frankie stating on the first page, "What would you think of a postmistress who chose not to deliver the mail"? I have been reading in the papers where there have recently been letters located that were sent during the World Wars that are just now being delivered. In a world of electronic e-mail, texting, and Twittering I do think the art of letter writing is lost. But the question still is what is the letter WAS never received?
10-05-2009 11:27 AM
I am really enjoy the story. At first I found it kind of choppy because I did not get the transitions. Once I figured out the Author was using the Radio to do the transition I was totally into it. I thought it was a great idea radio was what connected the three main characters. I am really enjoying the story of these three women during a war I think each of them is giving a very unique look and view point on it.
10-05-2009 11:35 AM
I agree about the abrupt changes right in the middle of the page and sometimes even in the middle of the paragraph. But I told myself that was where the thoughts flowed and she felt it was a good time to change scenery.
10-05-2009 11:46 AM
I have started and read the first section of this book, up until winter, and I am enjoying it tremendously. I was born during WWII and I remember my mom and dad talking about things exactly like what is going on in the book. Blackout curtains, etc!
I can almost imagine being there at that time, although I really can't remember it - only what my parents have told me. This book takes me back to a time I only remember hearing or reading about! I'm there, it's like magic which means the writing is very thought provoking and very descriptional.
I have stopped at Winter, but will continue in a few day, and I'm really looking forward to it!
10-05-2009 02:09 PM
I'm keeping on the reading schedule so no spoilers here! I really get the feeling of being in this time period when I read the book. The author has a way with giving us insights into her characters with very simple or few details. I like this a lot because it's the characters that usually draw me into a story rather than imagery or anything else. Sticking to the schedule and not reading ahead is difficult!
10-05-2009 02:14 PM
I have read the whole book now. I had a little trouble getting into it, but was so impressed by the writing style that I kept going and became interested. It seems to me that the idea of "voice" of the various characters is, major and minor, so diverse and interesting. As William Shirer is quoted on p. 34, we have to pay attention to "more than the words" that people say. The other thing that impresses me right away was the contrast of the "orderliness" of Iris's Post Office in contrast to the chaos of the war going on. This is a book that makes you think about many important ideas, and I'm looking forward to the discusssion.
10-05-2009 02:35 PM
Unlike a lot of the previous commenters, I had no trouble getting into the book. It had me hooked from the first page. But then, I like history, and this is the second book about this time period I've read recently, so maybe it's just that I was already in the mindset of WWII. I like how Ms. Blake makes history come alive - I could practically smell the salt air in Franklin, and the acrid smell of bombing and aftermath in England.
10-05-2009 03:16 PM
I too found it easy to glide into 1940 with Sarah's beautiful writing style.
I am up to Spring, 1941. I am anxious to find what way Frankie will find of pursuing the real story in Europe. I am anxious to see if Emma and Will will have the life they dreamed of in Franklin. Will Iris find her hearts desire there.
This weekend I was in Maine visiting family. As walked the shore line, feeling the salt breeze and the comings and goings to the lobster boats, I could not help but ponder how all me new neighbors in Franklin were fairing. I became anxious to cominue my visit with them.
10-05-2009 04:11 PM
My first impression when I took the book from the box was wow, another book with a book cover format! I really like that because it acts as a bookmark and gives added body to a paperback!
Reading the book, I had little trouble with the locale changes. I suspect I am a bit older than many of the readers and my age may have given me an advantage. I know people who have been there and I have read a great deal about that piece of history.
What really impressed me, though, was how wonderfully the author captured the atmosphere of the times and the personalities of each character. I felt as if she was introducing me to people she knew personally. I walked on their streets and felt their emotions as they began new lives and viewed their new homes for the first time . I was there to share their fear, shame, pain, joy and sadness. The characters are so distinctly different and she caught and expressed the nuances of each one.
10-05-2009 04:14 PM
Thanks Nikki - that captured what I was feeling for sure. I also find it a difficult subject to read about (WWI & II) and I just finished The Book Thief, so I likely needed a break between the two. But, now I'm really into it and enjoying it.
I just needed to get on a personal level with the characters, and Blake does not do that at the beginning, I feel. It's more a spiral down into the interpersonal stories.
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
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.
10-05-2009 04:48 PM
I don’t trust Iris. The first full paragraph on page 14 left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Iris jumped to conclusions about a woman she didn’t know on the bus. Yes, we all judge people and make conclusions when we don’t even know them, but Iris seemed overly judgmental in this case.
I think the way the transitions between scenes and main characters are handled is superb. For example, on page 14, we had Iris looking at the girl reading on the bus. Then, so smoothly, the next section started with the line the girl on the bus, Emma, was reading in Anna Karenina. It happened again on page 23. Will shut off the radio as the radio personality was signing off and then, immediately, we read Frankie’s comments about what she thought about how she sounded while signing off for the night. The transitions occur at the exact moment that the characters lives intersect. I like that.
Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
10-05-2009 04:54 PM
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.
I agree. I laughed out loud at this image on page 44:
"Large and handsome with blond frizzed hair in a good silk dress, Mrs. Cripps stood like a striped tent without an occasion, "
Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
10-05-2009 05:29 PM
I have always enjoyed this time period, although it is before my time. World War II was a time for change for women. Emma, newly married, wants to please her man and be accepted for who he is. Iris, the 40 year old virgin, who takes pride in that, but has been on her own and works independently. And then there is Frankie, a guy's name and trying to make it in a man's world of broadcasting. How will the war change them and how will their lives intermingle? I've only finished chapter 4, but look forward to finding the answers.
10-05-2009 05:32 PM - edited 10-05-2009 05:34 PM
I think I actually snorted a laugh when I figured out what the certificate was for! I'm not far into the book, so I will wait to make any more comments. So far, I love the imagery.
10-05-2009 05:35 PM
I am enjoying the book very much! Sarah uses very descriptive writing, with an ability to changes tones easily. The characters are all very different, yet believable. I am trying to stay on schedule, but I know me, and it just isn't going to happen I am afraid!
-Sir Richard Steele
10-05-2009 05:55 PM
Welcome to all the new discussers.
This book's cover would draw me in if I was in a book store. It is beautiful and I immediately started wondering why we are seeing it as a mirror image. Kudos to the artist!
I enjoy reading books of a historical nature and I especially like this era because it is the era of my parents. My dad joined the Navy at 16 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and served on an aircraft carrier. The author has really brought home the uncertainty that they must have been feeling prior to the US becoming involved in the fight (fight just doesn't seem like a strong enough word) and how little they knew of what was really going on across the ocean.
I'm totally hooked and can't wait to continue reading.
10-05-2009 06:10 PM
Paul or Anyone-
I want to make sure that my comments stick to the 'schedule' Paul mentioned. Where is the blinkin schedule? Help, please. i am new at this. -Kathlene
10-05-2009 06:19 PM
I, too, am looking for the schedule.
After reading people's first impressions I am getting very excited to read this book!
10-05-2009 06:34 PM
This book had me hooked from the first page. I was interested right away when Frankie asked the guests at dinner, "what would you think of a postmistress who chose not to deliver the mail?" Immediately my mind started racing ahead. Why would the postmistress not deliver the mail? What was her reason for withholding the mail? Was this just a one time thing, or did this happen all the time? My excitement over having these questions answered propelled me to read on. I am loving the book so far and can't wait to read on!